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Mercer vs. Forbes, Vienna To L.A.: Are We Crazy?

Sunny days, brilliant light, endless streams of traffic - after two years in Vienna we are back in L.A. We moved from the most livable city in the world to one of the most stressful cities in the US, gave up the security of life in Austria for the uncertainties of life in the USA. Are we crazy?

According to a Forbes study which was published last week only Las Vegas beats Los Angeles for stress level in the USA. Forbes used six metrics "that can either cause or be caused by stress" to arrive at its conclusions: high unemployment, long commute times, long work hours, limited access to health care, poor physical health, and a lack of exercise.

The main reason for Los Angeles to fare poorly is apparently the physical health of its residents. 22.8 percent of Angelinos report that their health is "less than good". Forbes comments that "physical and mental health are closely intertwined, and it's hard to keep from stressing out when one's body is failing". Hard to argue with that one.

So are we crazy? Looking out of the hotel window, down onto the freeway gridlock beneath me, at the yellow line of smog on the horizon in the west I should probably say yes. But then my gaze turns north and I see the San Gabriel mountains with their deep morning shadows, the blue sky above them. There is something exhilarating about the weather in Southern California, the promise of eternal vacation, of yet another day in paradise - as stressful as it may be, however uncertain things may be.


Lorraine Seal said…
We're making a quick trip to Vienna this weekend, and I came to your blog this morning thinking you would still be there (here). Now I see you're in my old neighbourhood.

Life in LA is indeed very stressful. In the years since we left Southern California, those seeing me again after an absence note how much less stressed I seem. I admit, though, that the sight of the San Gabriels rising pink and lavender-blue against the seamless sky when the Santa Anas have cleared the air can be breathtaking. However, I understand you're facing terrific heat right now.

Even thought we've only met in this space, I'll miss your presence here in Austria. Good luck.

Thank you for your kind words. Have a good weekend in Vienna.

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