they say "nobody walks in LA".
well, that's not true, and i have the sore calves to prove it. i returned to hiking in runyon canyon this week after a 2 year hiatus. runyon is LA's largest off-leash dog park, and mona and i used to be regulars there until she developed arthritis and would limp so bad after a hike, we just couldn't go together any longer. i didn't have the heart to go alone, so i stopped going too.
in the back of my mind, i guess i hoped she'd get better, and put things on hold, hoping we'd resume our hikes in the future, but as our walks in the flat neighborhood surrounding the atelier have grown shorter and slower of late, i've realized that there is no turning back the hands of time, and i have to accept our new reality. we've still got plenty of good years together, but those years will have to be spent cuddling for naps and lots of treats, because our days of chasing the tennis ball and hiking are over. things change, but change- even a sad turn of events like this- doesn't mean that life is over. it's just different.
still, as i returned to runyon, i was sad at first- don't let the smiling picture i took of myself fool you (i tried and failed to capture the hollywood sign- it's directly behind my forehead). not long after these photos, i had a moment when i reached the point in the trail where mona and i used to stop for a treat and some water, but it's hard to be sad when the other doggies are tirelessly chasing each other over the steep hills, and babies are laughing and people are talking. of course, there is the sweeping view of the LA basin too, which can cheer anyone up.one thing i noticed about my return to runyon, is how much more crowded the trail was on a weekday. in los angeles, because so many people work in entertainment and aren't tied to a 9 to 5, it often feels like nobody works, but these days that feeling is more fact than fiction. in LA county the official unemployment rate is 10.9 percent, but that's just people receiving benefits- the number of people who can't get benefits like freelancers, and people who own their own business and now have little or no income, aren't reflected in those figures. i'd say it's closer to 15%, maybe even as high as 20% based on anecdotal evidence of the number of friends and neighbors who aren't working. it's pretty scary stuff.estimates of the range of reduction in total global wealth since the downturn range from 15% - 40%- staggeringly large numbers, even if the lesser figures are correct. in my opinion, the loss amounts to the fact that things are never going to return to the way they were- at least not in most of our lifetimes. the jobs that were lost might stay lost for the foreseeable future. as i was forced to do with mona, i think many people are now accepting our new reality, but like with my little girl, just because things have changed- and not necessarily in a good way- doesn't mean that life needs to be put on hold until things get better. we just have to recognize our new reality, and do a little adapting and adjusting- a little reorganization.i am continually amazed by how resiliently the people i know are coping with their new circumstances- one out of work friend has been filling his free time shooting a documentary, another has gone back to school, still another has set up a home office to do his own thing. reorganizing and reinventing, but not stopping and waiting until things improve.we all know the business many of us are in- design- has been strongly affected by the economy, but again, it's time to accept the way things are, and if things aren't as busy as we'd like, we need to accept and reinvent. i consider myself exceptionally fortunate to still have some business- i know of others who don't have any work at all. still, i find myself with more downtime, but instead of sitting around watching oprah while waiting for things to pick up, i've been doing a little reorganization of my own to carve out a space in my garage/showroom to paint- another one of my true loves, and something i didn't have much time for over the last few years- until recently that is... of course less work coming in, also means more time to enjoy the truly simple (and free) pleasures of life- like taking a hike (even alone) or cuddling with the one you love for a nap. i think the silver lining of this global reorganization is the realization that those are the things that matter in life, not the constant acquiring of more stuff. we had too much of that for too long, and now it's time to get back to basics. no more mad rush for bigger and better- that's our old reality. time to accept the new age we are in, and make the best of it. for better or worse, it's where we are now.
so how are you going to reorganize for our new reality? has your life changed? or is it the same as it was a year ago? do you see things getting better, or worse? let's talk...