Never Say Never

Filed in Los Angeles: Take Two by on July 25, 2014

So if you haven’t figured it out from my recent Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook posts, yes it’s true — I’ve once again returned to Los Angeles and made it my full-time residence. Actually, this is not a jaw dropping surprise to those who know me on a more personal level. I had been speaking about a return to LA since 2012, and within the past year alone I’ve done the JFK to LAX roundtrip thing so many times it felt like I was living the life of a bicoastal jetsetter.

But what about those of you who only know me through this blog or social media? Surely my announcement of going back to living in a city that I once described as “Lost Angeles,” the place where I went through my own private hell and detailed it in great length in Inside the Vortex, would make a person raise his or her eyebrows and say, “Have you lost what little bit of God given common sense you have left in your mind?”

I guess the best way I could break it down is by saying I have an understanding that what I went through my first go round in Los Angeles is more symptomatic of who I was as a person and had very little to do with the city or its inhabitants. True, LA is full of eccentric kooks who are thirsty to make their mark in the entertainment industry. However, what city doesn’t have its fair share of oddballs these days? It would be unfair of me to pin my past failures on a place that did nothing more than provide the background to a very dysfunctional and chaotic life. It also would be an insult to the knowledge I’ve acquired through self-discovery and personal growth.

I’ve made peace with Los Angeles over the past four years. She’s got great weather, and you can jump in your car and drive just about anywhere your heart desires (provided you have a high tolerance for traffic). I’ve also made some great new friends out here — friends who wouldn’t be in my life had I not moved back to New York. (Funny how those things work out sometimes, huh?) On the flipside of that coin, New York gave me the time I needed to regroup and rebuild, something I desperately needed when I returned to my hometown.

And my New York experience was amazing! I have no regrets and wouldn’t trade those years in for anything — not even a winning Powerball ticket. I got to spend time with and get closer to family. I discovered my passion for writing, started blogging, wrote a book, and was blessed with many new and unexpected opportunities. In many ways, my return to New York was the equivalent of going back to my roots. In doing so, I was able to not only work on making myself a better person, but I was also able to set a course for a calmer and happier future.

New York City is lovely; however, she’s a shadow of her former self — at least that’s how I see her. Overpopulated, expensive, and gentrified to the point where she is almost unrecognizable. Kind of like that woman who has had one too many nips and tucks on her face; she’s snatched, but she should have stopped a few procedures ago. I’ve also become one of those people who reminisce about the good ol’ days of yesteryear… the ’90s. Yes, I’ve become one of “those” people. The crunchy senior citizen who starts off his sentences with “Back in my day…”

I’ve got enough sense and sensibility to know that the good ol’ days are gone and they are not coming back. Everything and everyone moves on. Now I must do the same.

As I mentioned earlier, my return to LA was not a whimsical, impulsive decision. I’ve known in my heart for quite some time that I was going to come back and planned it out very meticulously. When my instincts told me the timing was right, I put the plans into action. I’m not the same person I was when I left, but I don’t feel like a newbie in some foreign city. Just in the same way New York feels like home to me, well, so does Los Angeles.

I’m starting a chapter in life that is new, yet feels somewhat familiar. The most important thing I’ve come to realize is that nothing should ever be looked at as definitive. The world around us is constantly changing and if we want to survive and thrive, we have to be willing to do the same. It’s great to have plans; however, I’m going to try and steer clear of predicting the future. When I first moved out to LA in 2003 I said I would never return to New York, and look what happened. And when I returned to New York in 2010 I said I would never move back to Los Angeles. Now I’ve learned to just keep my mouth shut and enjoy the ride.

What’s next is anybody’s guess, but whatever happens, I’m ready.

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About the Author ()

Justin is the author of the memoir, Inside the Vortex available on Amazon and iBooks. He is also a contributing blogger for Huffington Post, and even though he thinks social media is a silly distraction, he uses it as much as possible to be both informative and irreverent. Follow him on Twitter @HernandezJustin.

Comments (2)

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  1. Roberto says:

    I am not totally shock, but I am semi surprised.. Wishing LA to be a better experience and a place of endless opportunity.. Good luck ! Xoxo I will be in LA 9/11-15 maybe I will catch during my trip.

  2. PornDevotee (Mike) says:

    Justin, welcome back to LA. I relate to everything you said. I moved to LA from NYC over 20 years ago, and then moved back in 2007. Everything I hated about LA, were the exact things I missed in NYC. So, I moved back 4 months later. Glad I did. As you said, New York is a former shadow of herself.