Shit I Did in 2015.
Warning: massive self-indulgence ahead. It’s my blog, asshole.
Last year, I looked back at 2014 and thought, at the time, I had had my annus mirabilis.
I had just settled into my apartment with my fiance, my preternaturally cute Cavalon puppy, and was just starting to get a taste of what actually having people pay attention to me was like – and, then, I kinda liked it. Life was as good then as I could have imagined, mainly for the novelty value of the kind of stability I hadn’t known in a long time.
2015 officially marks the year, I think, I became an adult in many ways – mainly for what didn’t really happen. That is to say, for as far back as when I was growing up in the whitest of white neighborhoods in the whitest of white places, the insular, still safe and relatively rural world of Overland Park, Kansas, I achieved some sort of continuity this year.
Nothing really happened.
And for that, I have to say that this was the best year of my entire life. In the year since writing my last of these personal posts (that’s right, one a year, then back to shit I don’t care about – although unlike this rant, you probably don’t either – recruiting is, well, it’s recruiting, you know?) – it’s been status quo.
Unlike the siloed (literally and figuratively), Abercrombie clad and evolution denying community which was, actually, a really nice place to grow up, however, this stasis was self-motivated. As far back as I can remember, I knew I wanted to get the hell out of Dodge (again, literally and figuratively when you’re a Kansan). And the minute I had the chance, I packed up and moved to Los Angeles, big city of dreams.
Which was, in college and my twenties, exactly the place I wanted to be. Coming from Johnson County to South Central (now just plain old South) Los Angeles was a culture shock; I had gone from a cul-de-sac to drivebys. One of my friends got mugged walking from campus to our place – twice, on one walk. I had to get one of those steering wheel locks. It was exciting.
And then there were famous people, and famous people’s kids, and people trying to be famous – and given the fact you could see the Hollywood sign from the bathroom in my dorm (I always loved that), they had come to the right place.
I just wanted to be a writer. I didn’t hate that Kate Hudson audited one of my writing labs Freshmen year, though – or that even before social media my AIM statuses were way cooler than my friends at KU, at least.
I realized soon on I hated screenwriting, though, and thought I’d become a producer, and never figured out what the hell that was even though I have successfully set up a project as such. Seriously, no idea – but every 18 months, Fox sends me a check. A reminder of the life I used to leave.
Surreal that after four years immersed in studio internships, studio premieres, meetings with agents and creative execs, coupled with my early career working behind the gates of both the Warner Bros. lot and the Saddest Workplace on Earth, and living in goddamned Fort Worth, Texas is as good as it’s ever been for me.
I’ve gone from actually awesome to incredibly boring; thanks to Facebook, I’ll start days seeing Memories like, “Four years ago today: “Wow, the Vanity Fair Oscar Party is way lame” or “too bad it’s in the Beverly Hilton, or the Golden Globes might actually be fun while looking out at a city that’s got to make Cleveland look like Xanadu’s stately pleasure dome.
I left Los Angeles because I was closing in on 30, had a job where it didn’t matter where I lived (soon lost after moving to Texas, for reasons unrelated). I felt too old to be living among the wannabes, never weres and weirdos who were turning Los Feliz from the working class neighborhood where my poor ass found a place with rent control to the epicenter of West Coast hipsterdom – Elliott Smith shrine and all.
Still, I had a wine bar, Gelato, a Church of Scientology, a throwback sporting goods store called Bling Circus (who, naturally, got most of my money) and a James Beard award winning burrito place on my block, so I stuck around, like most people in that city, long after it stopped making sense for me to do so.
One day, I lost the one excuse I had to stay there – my girlfriend, whose provenance was solidly San Fernando Valley, like totally dumped me. She was a good girl, lived in Reseda, she loved Jesus, and apparently some dude she met in high school.
Eventually, though, I realized staying there was denying the fact that while I wasn’t old, I was too old for a place where youth is the only capital one has, particularly when you look like me. I was “below the line” or behind the scenes material, with a face for radio, as my Mom used to say.
C’mon, it’s kinda funny, if emotionally scarring in retrospect, but I love my Mom – she’s kind of the best, which I say fully knowing that she’s reading this, as she reads every word I write, and has since those got me kicked out of school on occasion.
She had faith in me, and always said I was going to make a lot of money with my BS some day – my Dad, of course, wasn’t so sure, and for that, I apologize. He is the single most boring, stable and genuinely kind parent anyone could have ever had, and I was anathema to his existence, I’m sure. He’s still my best friend.
None of us predicted it would happen this way, or I’d be here. The exact same as last year, boring, frankly. Yeah, I did cool stuff this year. I spoke at SXSW (just to sound extra douchey); I became a partner in my company, Recruiting Daily and joined the boards of another six startups, four of which have amazing potential. Two of them will probably make it big.
It doesn’t matter. Just like it doesn’t matter if Fox ever uses that option (they pay me either way, or so my manager tells me). I have the rarest job in the history of ever – I can’t actually be fired, I more or less do what I want, which is to be myself, and somehow, we make money.
Nope. There Is No Point. But It Keeps Going…
I do a whole lot of writing and don’t sleep much, but c’mon…the fact I wrote 300,000 words this year, or about 10 books worth of bylined crap, variations on the same theme that would make Glenn Gould proud (and enough booze to do the same), is worth the completely unhealthy deliverables and deadlines and constant stress.
You know why? It’s because people actually read this shit. I don’t know why. But I have numbers and stuff – 136 countries, more “unique” visitors than anyone should ever receive for a site that doesn’t even run original content, really – it’s a portfolio – and another 42 countries through my day (and night, and weekend) job at Recruiting Daily.
Speaking of, the biggest accomplishment for me this year – and this is not going to sound huge for most of you – was that I look back on the canon of crappy content I’ve splooged into the blogosphere normally, and let’s just say, nothing really sticks. In 2015, for the first time, I was satisfied with most of the stuff I put out.
This is a big win – and while I still hate my own writing, the fact that at one point this year I got spotted walking down the street in Atlanta and chased down by a woman who reads my stuff and follows me and isn’t even in HR (and I thought was insane until she explained, and then I thought she was even more bat shit crazy) is surreal.
It was cool at first. But the thing is, I have come to the realization that the one thing that gives me intrinsic pleasure is that which brought me to LA, brought me to Texas (my beautiful fiance is why I stay), brought me a most unexpected career and continues to bring me the greatest pain. Man, I fucking hate writing.
But the fact I don’t hate my fucking writing, for once, is a victory, like someone with body dysmorphia finally being able to look into a mirror, or that day a depressive realizes it might be worth sticking around for (personal experiences, both).
The fact that people seem to like it is cool, but the fact I’m comfortable with my voice – since, intrinsically, this is who I am, these are my thoughts, and that doesn’t seem to scare people – kind of finally coalesced for me this year.
There was not a lot of partying – except, of course, London (x3), Vegas (x2), Cancun or Cuba, and too many hotel bars in too many random ass places in the middle to name, of course. That’s just my job.
The best week of my travel year was spent in a Kimpton bathrobe somewhere off the Santa Barbara Coast drinking Pinots and eating edibles; during the week, I got to hang out with the TA team at Sonos, a company I hadn’t heard of when they contacted me on Twitter, and now I won’t listen to anyone else – nor, in some instances, will their recruiting team.
I got to work with a lot of cool companies, this year, actually, and what really kicks ass is most of them happened to be my clients. Thing is, if we’re doing business, for the most part people seem OK with me doing my thing. I still hate Corporate America, but since they don’t have a problem with me, I’ll put on pants to hang out with smart people once in awhile.
The rest of the time, I spend holed up on my couch with my dogs – plural, now – 2015 was the year my ride or die bitch came into my life. Her name is Dixie, she’s a rescue, she’s half Yorkie and half Westie and follows me everywhere and is absolutely perfect. Her brother doesn’t like it, nor does her Mom, who kind of ruined this year for me.
See, as good as it’s been, and is going to get, the fact of the matter is, I’m going to be marrying the woman I intensely love in 2016, so as good as things are now, they’re only getting better – and since I got engaged last year, this is actually kind of a cyclical nadir, come to think of it. Or at least I hope so, because 2015 was, I think, as good as it gets.
Although I’m not entirely optimistic about 2016, even as that September Saturday in Santa Monica looms ever closer.
The first Monday morning of the year, I have Jury Duty in Tarrant County, y’all. Just part of being an adult – or pretending to be one, as the case may be – only this year, I kinda felt like one, too.
And it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Of course, I’m still a few years away from mandatory prostate exams, which might be why this year in Havana, I celebrated the birthday and became the age psychiatrists think is the year, on average, where humans are happiest.