Sentimental Post Alert!
Today is a real milestone for me! It's October 2nd 2010, and it has now been 10 years since I arrived in California. It's difficult to fathom on so many levels. It's been a decade since I moved 3,000 miles from my home and my life in small town Massachusetts to the "big city" of Los Angeles. I instantly fell in love with my new home, and since that first day I've been building - or rather now, have built - a new life for myself here in Southern California.
I've had more life experiences in this time than my 18-year old self could have even imagined at the time. I went to college and graduated cum laude (not bad for a kid who had a low B average in high school), during which time I made friends that are still among my closest to this day. I've had some incredibly varied and fascinating jobs along the way (tanning salon clerk, closet-designer-to-the-stars, hair/beauty show manager, customer service call center manager, toy buyer, video store clerk and Comic-Con event coordinator, to name a few).
I've done my share of loving, both deep and shallow. From each of the former, I like to think I've taken the best parts of what I learned and used them to help me become a better person. From each of the latter, I've learned what decisions I probably shouldn't make again (but seriously). But either way, I know that in order to win, you have to play. Risk is necessary, however great the fear of the unknown can be.
I've made a lot of mistakes. I've done things I'm not proud of, and people have gotten hurt in the process. To these people, I offer my heartfelt and sincere apologies. You know who you are (even if you're not reading this), and I'm sorry. There have also been a number of mistakes with which I only hurt myself, and from that I've learned - and am continuing to learn - how to forgive myself and move on. Keep moving forward.
And, oh! All the fun in between. Living in LA / West Hollywood has given me such a perspective on what I want out of life, and the things I'd prefer to leave behind. People say this city is shallow and only concerned with appearances and getting ahead. And while they may be right, it certainly doesn't apply to everyone. I've met some of the kindest, most wonderful people in the past 10 years, and the adventures I've had on my own and with these people are ones for the ages. I finally live somewhere in which I feel as though I'm part of a community. I've lived 9 different places since landing in Los Angeles. West Hollywood is my home.
On my 10 year anniversary, I want to offer my gratitude to everyone who has made their way into my life in this time. Whether good or bad, for a moment or for years - it's all life, and it's all been a part of making me the Joe I am now. Today I'm more confident in who I am than I ever thought possible. I surround myself with good people and positive things, and I keep the Negative Nancies of the world and iffy influences at a safe distance. Today I'm ready to close the book on my first 10 years in Los Angeles, and look forward to the excitement of the unknown in my next 10 years...and beyond.
Today I am officially an Angeleno!