You don't have to go to college, buy a house or buy a car, either, but lots of people are proud of being able to handle those things on their own. Nothing particularly wrong about being proud of doing something difficult that gets you the kind of life that you want to live, which is all she said.
There are also a lot of advantages to living in LA or San Francisco compared to a ton of places, especially the Midwest. Lifestyle advantages. Climate advantages. Job prospects. If I hadn't had kids to support, I would have stuck it out longer precisely for those reasons. A constant 60°, an actual job market in my field, and the cultural offerings are worth some sacrifice, especially if you are young and single. There's nowhere in the country like San Francisco, and I miss it terribly. I don't like LA, but a lot of people feel the same way about it.