2013 Retrospective

2013 Retrospective

I’m resisting so hard to start this with “what a year!” because it’s true. A lot happened in 2013.

One big word from last year was “change.” It was a year of transition. It was a year of survival, too, figuring out how to just pay the bills in this new environment I’d created for myself. I’m listening to what is easily the soundtrack of 2013 for me, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s The Heist right now. “10,000 Hours” is the opening track, and it might be the song that changed my entire year. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

One year ago, exactly, I was back in LA after the holidays, staring down the barrel of losing my unemployment income, three vacancies in my building before the month of January was over, and the fact that I couldn’t figure out how to get enough work each month to save any money, or even put aside for taxes. I was still hanging onto a once-a-week job at Maggiano’s, with no plans to get rid of it, but I was essentially, for all intents and purposes, self-employed for the first time in my life.

That has to be the overwhelming, singular theme of 2013; my editing job. I’d laid the foundation the previous year, getting the apartment job, and finding the editing job. 2013 was really, almost 90% about figuring out how to make that all add up to paying the bills. Survival. I know I feel like I’ve waxed poetic about this editing-job-thing, but you guys really have no idea how hard it’s been for me to get to the point where I am. In those early days of 2013 I was setting goals for myself, counting how much money I could earn, and then failing. Week in and week out, I was failing at reaching my goals. Sitting in front of my computer unable to focus. Trying, searching, everything to get myself motivated. I tried lists, I tried music, I tried relaxation exercises, schedules, setting smaller goals…I tried everything in my book that had worked for me my entire life before now, and I was failing.

That failure seeped into other aspects of my life; acting goals, P90x which I started and stopped no less than three times, I even had a daily vlog challenge at one point in May where I was going to do a video blog entry every day for 90 days…that lasted two weeks I think.

I was uncharted territory for me, really. This complete inability to have discipline in really ANY part of my life. The acting struggle had always been there, but like a cancer, it had metastasized. It was everywhere.

I remember that the early days of January were colored by Kerry Kleiman coming to visit us from Vegas, dear friend; watching Looper in our living room as an awards screener with the feeling of “finally! a good movie this year.”

I remember my first tenant dying in her apartment. She was old, very very old.

I remember watching “Life of Pi” and crying because it was so good.

I remember using our new AppleTV with Liz for the first time, and us ooo-ing and awwww-ing at the ability to look at our phone’s photos on our big TV.

I remember editing a lesson about the Catholic Church, and Liz asking me why I was editing something about the church.

I remember the 49ers going to the Super Bowl and losing.

I remember dinner with Abbey at Mo’s in Burbank when she offered to take me on as a client.

I remember March, when Liz introduced me to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Taking walks in the mornings with Cooper feeling like they knew *exactly* how I felt.

I remember Dayna’s Oscar party, and how cool Liz and my costumes were (we went as Marion Cotillard’s dismembered legs and the Orca who did it)

I remember April, where I worked with the legendary Lou Ferrigno, and when I AD’d for the first time and killed it with “This is Normal”

I remember doing Casting Director workshops at the Actor’s Link in NoHo while listening to Glitch Mob’s album from a few years ago, staring off the balcony of that second floor strip mall.

I remember baseball season starting, and my team doing well pretty much off the bat. (see what I did there?)

I remember writing pilots with Josh, and polishing “Made of Clay”

I remember when Abbey read “Made of Clay” and immediately getting an email saying she wanted to make it happen because it was beautiful.

I remember Liz’s birthday. Liz’s epic, epic, wonderful birthday at Dave & Busters, preceded by own trip up to Santa Barbara for a couple nights at the El Encanto Inn.

I remember Jay and Abbey getting divorced and Jay staying with us for a few days. I remember watching “Battleship” in the living room, and then finding out the next day Jay didn’t join us watching it because he was so high he couldn’t move.

I remember Scott, my mom, and my dad coming to visit us in LA and going to the beach in Malibu with Cooper.

I remember “Into Darkness,” that shitty shitty movie.

I remember going to see Jay’s comedy shows downtown, and literally watching a Hooker get solicited by a car.

I remember The Hollywood Reporter with Damon Lindeloff on the cover, with the sidebar in the writer’s section that had a ladder of how you move up as a writer. I remember looking at that, feeling so frustrated about how I was ever going to shoot my demo reel, and feeling something pulling me towards that. And, listening that day to 10,000 hours as I walked Cooper, thinking about how much time I’ve wasted NOT putting in 10,000 hours. I remember writing a blog about it later that day listening to Hans Zimmer. Such a horribly angsty, teenagery, whiny post that was. But it was heartfelt. And a turning point.

I remember having lunch with Ryan that next week, him telling me he wanted to move home.

I remember when the Supreme Court overturned Prop 8 and DOMA.

I remember when Liz and I started taking Cooper to Zoom Room.

I remember when I decided I was going to be a writer, not an actor.

I remember August, the month I FINALLY figured out my editing bullshit. It was just time. It happened.

I remember Ryan telling us he was moving home.

I remember Jay telling us he was moving home.

I remember playing golf, especially Ryan’s farewell round at De Bell, the day of 1,000 lost balls.

I remember figuring out exactly how I was going to propose to Liz.

I remember the nervousness leading up to proposing to Liz. I remember how excited she was at the surprise destination: El Encanto. I remember her “ugly cry face” when it actually happened. I remember us in the pool the next morning, taking photos of the ring.

I remember the A’s winning the west.

I remember KILLING it editing-wise in October. And then in November. And again in December.

I remember our engagement photo shoot, me in the wedgie leotard, heels. I remember the announcement.

I remember being on Huffington Post, Daily Mail, and New York Daily News.

I remember staying up till 3 in the morning to finish my first spec script.

I remember hipster costumes at Halloween in Disneyland. I was Peter Pan, probably my first legit costume in…I can’t even remember how many years.

I remember starting this blog.

I remember going up to the Bay to accompany my mom on her doctor’s visits for her Sleep Apnea.

I remember when she got denied for the surgery. I remember picking up the pieces and figuring out how to fight it.

I remember quitting Maggiano’s.

I remember going to the A’s entire last home stand with Liz for my birthday.

I remember going to my first postseason game in my life, and Sonny Gray out dueling Justing Verlander for the win.

I remember Joe jumping when we won and twisting his ankle hella bad.

I remember Thanksgiving with my brother Seth and Queena in town, squeezing out of him that he missed talking to me and having me around.

I remember the holidays…so much of the holidays. Our walks. The Photo shoot. Working on mom’s appeals letter.

I remember reading, really for the first time consistently in FOREVER. A ton of Star Trek books, and then some legit Sci Fi classics.

It fills me with…fullness…thinking about how rich my year was last year, in reality. It’s so easy for me to just feel the heart-ache of “failing.” But, reality is so much fuller than that. I’m engaged to the love of my life. I lived last year more than any year I can think of. I got so much done, saw so many things, thought so many thoughts, felt so many things. 2013 was a year of conquering fears. I can only hope that I can do the same this year.

2013, I did you wrong. You were so good to me. So very very good. And I love you for it. Thank you to everyone in my life that make me who I am. I am not myself, I am you. I am Liz’s laughter and patience and love. I am Cooper’s snuggles and stinky eyes and soft belly. I am Ryan’s friendship. I am Jay’s jokes and undying quest for greatness. I am Abbey’s survival and wicked sense of humor. I am my mom’s incredible strength in the face of misfortune and overwhelming emotion. I am Joe’s leadership and indelible identity as an artist. I am Josh’s charm, talent, and ability to create stories and characters by the second. I am my brother’s diving into the world in every sense of that metaphor. I am Brian’s weekly column. I am Macklemore’s genius.

I am ready for 2014.

10,000 hours, guys. Let’s fucking do this.

The cover photo for this post is via the multitalented Liz Ho.