Thursday, November 06, 2008

Place Matters

Well, it's done.  We won it.  Colorado got shifted over to the blue column.  Colorado Springs remains a republican county, but there's a stronger progressive element there now.  My hope is that we can keep them connected, keep it building, and make it stronger.  And hopefully Focus on the Family realizes it isn't the only game in town now!

But oh, am I glad I am out of there.  I used to think of myself as mutable and able to find my favorite things about any city I've lived in.  East coasters marvelled at how I enjoyed dirty, crowded LA, but I loved it!  Northerners were shocked I could withstand the brashness and humidity of Miami, but I reveled in it.  Miamians wondered how anyone could live where there was snow half the year, but I enjoyed Boston.  

But now I see that not all places are suitable for living.  I think I just lucked out on all the wonderful cities I've been placed in up until now--New York, Philadelphia, DC, Boston, Miami, LA.  I fell in love with each of those cities.  But Colorado is a whole other matter.  I also saw how my entire personna is completely affected by the place I live.  

It started with NYC.  I became more progressive, involved in the arts, developed my sense of style and a love of diversity.  In DC I was completely politicized.   In Miami I let loose, wearing clothes I would have been shocked to see on anyone else up north, hanging out until late at Tapas bars and dancing salsa with strangers.  LA's neighborhoods brought together the universal influence that I loved making me learn Spanish and Korean and spending my weekends visiting historical sites and art museums.

In Colorado (and Virginia to a lesser extent) I was different.  My heart wasn't in it--not in the place I was living, and hence not as much in my work.  I still worked ridiculously hard, but without the enthusiasm and charisma I typically employ.  

Landing in LA I changed.   Winning the election had made me happy, but didn't thrill me like it did to so many of my friends around the country.  But when I walked out of the metro on Wilshire Blvd., I felt so much emotion, I was overwhelmed.  I wanted to shout for joy.  Finally I felt at home and happy.  They were the same emotions I had expected when we won the election, but somehow had been unable to surface in the misery of being unhappy in a particular place.

I feel so much better now.  Today I am working out of the LA office and I took some of the best job calls and did some of the best interviews I've ever done in my life.  I did a great indy with one of the ADs and helped out with turfs.  Even though I wasn't supposed to be helping, I was so excited to be back here that I was excited to do the work.  It felt great to be doing campaign work again.

So my lesson learned is that place does matter to me.  I was once given advice to pick my career moves based on great opportunities, not location, but I see now that will never work for me.  As I look into the future I'm keeping an eye out for opporuntities that will match with where I want to be, even if it's not the most politically import.  I will have the biggest impact when I like where I am.  Now that I'm preparing to leave LA to head east I hope Boston will give me the same energy as being here has. 

Stay tuned for updates on the road as I drive East.

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