That's the number of posts I've written for this blog. This little piece of internet space has seen 999 pontifications, ruminations, and rants, and this is the one-thousandth.
Five years ago this month I started this blog, freshly graduated and brimming with the kind of ennui that's known to kill endangered animals of the Cute variety on other continents. I've always been a sucker for dates, mile markers, signposts, that sort of thing. Without even realizing it, I rummaged through the never ending stack of burned CDs in my car this week and pulled a mix I'd made when I graduated Biola from the pile. Predictably (and painfully so, I might add) Radiohead made more than one cameo, as did A Ghost Is Born-era Wilco (the namesake for this blog, after all). Ryan Adams' gloominess had a guest appearance. Ben Gibbard's wistful recollections, I'll admit, fortified the somber middle section of the mix. The finale was The Beatles' "Hey Jude," a song that has inexplicably haunted my every Major Life Decision since that fateful day at graduation when I, sheathed in a black robe and thanking the Lord for an overcast morning, listened to the song on repeat, volume cranked to eleven, using my (empty) diploma as a drum.
My main concern back then was the insurmountable task facing me: I must prove every single well-meaning soul who ever said "Welcome to the real world" wrong. I must stare defiantly in the face of "real life" and all its heavy, soul-sucking, world-weary implications and declare, "Not TODAY, Life. If college was 'as good as it gets,' then I've got to find a way to top it." The truth of the matter is, the whole charge felt alienating. Los Angeles felt incredibly lonely, as lonely a place as I'd ever experienced being 22, young, and unafraid. The freeways felt empty, the lights unblinking. I remember catching a glimpse of myself in my rearview mirror that summer after graduating and recoiling suddenly, faced with the reality that the saddest eyes I'd ever seen belonged to me. It wasn't an easy time, but in retrospect, it wasn't exactly hard, either. It was a challenge, one I was prepared to face even if at the time I felt ill-equipped.
So I started a blog. I opened a place to the public wherein I could mull over what adulthood might look like, and how I might find myself filling a new role I felt disinclined to play. The first few posts were, as expected, overwrought affairs - the kind of entries belonging solely to bourgeois students of frivolous adjectives and analogies. But what do you know...five years passed. The objective I set out to prove has been met: Life does get better after college, and it gets better every day. Different, sure, but infinitely better. The nature of my writing has changed pretty drastically over the years, as has my attitude about adulthood. But the common denominator, the friend who never moved away or moved on or moved up, against all odds, is Los Angeles. Five years later, I'm here to tell you two things:
One, life is something to be battled with every ounce of courage you possess. It's not something you submit to and hope everything turns out for the better. Gather your druthers and FIGHT! Friends and community are part of the fight and worth every single effort you might exert in going out on a limb for the ones you love.
Two, despite what you might think, you can fall in love with Los Angeles. I don't care how long you've lived here or how hard you've tried; try harder. It's possible. So quit whining about the traffic, and go exploring for a change.
It's been an incredible five years since that tassel was turned from one side of the mortarboard to the other, and I'm glad I had the wherewithal to document it, even if it's completely and totally embarrassing at times. The people I've met along the way have changed the way I think about community, friendship, and love. And I'm unspeakably grateful to them for that. Thanks, friends, for reading and for being a part of my life - even if it's only to live vicariously through my ridiculous rants about fruit and the Internet (though you and I both know that you've been around for a great deal more than that). In case you were wondering, I've been listening pretty extensively to the New Pornographers' latest, and A.C. Newman sums it up pretty well: We end up together.
Five years ago. Geek cred is being established pretty strongly here.
Last month. Nothing has changed, sadly.