Update 8/3/14: Written yesterday, posted today! Don't worry, this post has been sitting safely beneath the heat lamp of the interwebs.
Today is not a very special day. It's overcast, my room is at max capacity with piles of laundry, and I have a vague stomach sickness that is making my belly puff out like an inflated bagpipe. Yesterday, however, marked a very special day: my one-year anniversary since moving to Los Angeles!
Can we stop punching all these alligators for a second and just think about that? One year of not being in school. One year of working. One year of Chinatown. 525,600 minutes of forgetting to delete the Rent soundtrack off my iPod. This is crazy, you guys. This is huge. I have proven the impossible possible. I am officially the first-ever human being to be terrified of prospects in "the real world," only to find that things are not that awful and in fact they can be quite extraordinary.
For this, I feel it is appropriate to formally self-congratulate myself with this official certificate of existing:
And in fact, for anyone else who is currently existing, you also merit a certificate. Print this out for yourself:
|But you have to fill it in yourself. Pussy.|
We did it! We navigated through the harsh tempest of reality with all the savvy and awareness of an unborn sloth fetus and did not die. When you think about how many people in the world die everyday, that's pretty impressive.
It seems befitting to take a moment for reflection on what has happened over the past year. Things have changed. Other things have stayed the same. These are acute observations.
I don't really know where I thought I would be one year ago today. Whatever it was, I can guarantee that it was not positive. While the wonder and allure of LA was there, I had so much dread about the tough decisions I would have to make. You know, the ones I never wound up actually having to make.
One year ago today...
I was worried that my apartment would have major bug and sanitation issues
I was worried that my roommates would be ungodly psychopaths
I was worried that my landlady would be an ungodly psychopath
I was worried that someone would break into my car
I was worried that I would never feel safe at night
I was worried that I wouldn't find a job
I was worried that the only job I would be able to find was teaching
I was worried that I would teach "just to pay the bills" and then whoops, look at that, seven years have gone by and I'm getting a teaching credential even though the thought of being a teacher for the rest of my life depresses me and I've completely forgotten about the only thing I've ever wanted to do with my life, which is write
I was worried I wouldn't be able to trust anyone
I was worried nobody would be nice
I was worried I would be lonely and isolated
I was worried I would lose all my friends
I was worried I would be completely broke
I was worried that I would somehow get roped into a world of meth and prostitution
I was worried I would hate LA
I was worried that I would be turned cynical and want to leave
I was worried I would be a creepy alumni and hang out at my college all the time
I was worried I would have to be an adult
I was worried I would hate being an adult
I was worried I couldn't be an adult
This is literally all it was. Worry, worry, worry, snack time, worry. Never for a second did I think I might actually come to love where I live, that I would make friends, and that I would make actual steps toward making a career out of what I love doing.
Well, for anyone who has been supportively following my chronicles as an L.A. Vida Local, you can gather that virtually none of this has been the case.
After living for a year in LA...
I have grown to love my little apartment
I have bonded with both my roommates
I have bonded with my landlady and her family
I have not been robbed
I sleep easy
I have found multiple job opportunities
I have held job titles like "cake decorator" and "director's assistant" and "production designer"
I am not a teacher
I have received help and kindness from absolute strangers on the street
I have made new friends in the area
I have kept myself busy with social activities, of which there is no shortage out here
I have become closer with the people who I was already friends with
I have more or less survived financially and have learned to calm down about the whole matter
I have made and surrounded myself with people who make good life decisions
I love LA
I have become wiser to and more enthralled by what it means to live here
I am just an alumni, not a creepy one, and I paid a tactful number of visits to my school
I have discovered that I am an adult but I am still young
I have discovered that being an adult isn't the end of happiness
I have discovered that I know how to be independent
I'm not even lying about any of this for the sake of sentimentality!
These are all things that arose from merely navigating myself from day to day. Which is not an incredible feat, since beyond a couple sci-fi movies I can't really imagine how else one would exist. If the sand is hot lava, of course you're going to just keep going from one ring to the next.
|Monkey bars: not just a healthy way for kids to have fun and stay active, but also a profound metaphor for life.|
I've also faced a lot of other amazing discoveries and changes over the past year. A relationship ended with somebody who taught me that I was worth caring about, and I've begun a new relationship knowing that about myself from the get-go. I've discovered a love of production design that I never knew existed. I've gotten enough job experience and industry encounters to know when and why people lie, which is useful when such persons are discussing what they would like to pay you.
And I haven't really talked about this, because some things need to get cut so I can fill my demanding poop joke quota, but I have low-key begun a search for spirituality. I don't think I'm going to put on a bath robe and retreat to China to spend a decade as a monk any time soon, but I'm in the process of developing a conception of a greater power and what that power means in relation to my life. So far I'm pretty sure it ain't a white dude named Jesus, but that's not narrowing it down much. It could be that amorphous space cloud in Futurama, or an avatar from another dimension, or the Energizer bunny. The truth is I don't know that I'll ever know. But, much like the art of being alive, I'll get asymptotically closer to the answer one day at a time.
Fucking Christ my stomach still hurts. If only I could poop my troubles away.