12 THINGS I DID TO (RE)DEFINE MYSELF IN 2015

Probably Best Year Ever, definitely Most Important Year Ever
  1. 1.
    January: Released a movie
    A dream-come-true. As an actor, I was constantly told to "create your own content" and "don't wait for someone else to offer opportunities." So.. A friend and I took a play we loved, optioned and adapted the script, and produced a movie that had a limited theatrical run before releasing on iTunes, Amazon, and other VOD platforms. The most difficult and rewarding thing I've done in my life. http://divingnormal.com if you're curious.
  2. 2.
    February: Relationship inventory
    I stopped spending time with people who have a negative/cynical/criticizing/complaining default setting. Started spending time with good people I’d lost touch with because of something trivial.
  3. 3.
    March: Moved to Hollywood
    After almost 4 years on the westside (Manhattan Beach and Venice), I moved back in. Closer to friends, closer to work, closer to chaos. And I love it.
  4. 4.
    April: Got rid of my car
    Between the Metro, Uber, ZipCar, and pedestrianism, LA can be awesome without a vehicle. I ran into old friends, met new ones, and saw details of Los Angeles I never before noticed. I got stories for days from UberPools (RIP $5 fare to LAX), read more on the Metro, and traffic was never a concern (I'll be back here working while we listen to Earned It or The Hills on the radio yet again my man).
  5. 5.
    May: Stopped dating
    Like an Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-B-A-Start for life. The feeling of 30 extra lives is real.
  6. 6.
    June: Went to Europe for a month
    Touring did something to my biological GPS. For years, I’ve looked at open weekends as a chance to go somewhere else and open months as a chance to live somewhere else. This year, I spent the first 6 months of the year anchored in LA and fell in love with the place that I live. I went to Europe in June and - for the first time - had a sense that it was earned and not simply part of my routine. 1/3 of the trip was with friends, the rest solo. Amazing way to recenter at the year's midpoint.
  7. 7.
    July: Stopped drinking
    If May was the Contra cheat code, this was like a Game Genie on everything.
  8. 8.
    August: Started putting every ounce of time I had on things that matter
    I realized issues of cultural identity and social justice are what I care about and what warms or hurts my heart the most. I started using every bit of time I could to read, watch, and listen to things that matter, from journalists, authors, friends, and strangers... Inevitably leading to figuring out how to refocus my work and life on things that matter.
  9. 9.
    September: Quit the gym
    I was using a gym-with-a-monthly-fee-equivalent-to-my-parents’-mortgage as a place to shower after long runs through West Hollywood. Turns out I have a shower at my house. "Equinox made me do it."
  10. 10.
    October: Started sharing my web calendar with my mom
    On her visit to LA, I shared my calendar with her so she'd know my/our plans every day. When she left, I kept her on.. It's been one of the biggest game changers in our relationship in a long, long time. She knows what I'm up to every day and looks up screenings, exhibits, concerts, and other events on her own to learn about what I'm doing. She cheerleads my auditions and asks about the classes I teach. Since moving away from home, I've never felt more connected to her day-to-day.
  11. 11.
    November: Started talking about things that matter
    By this point, I was co-teaching a creative writing/public speaking course at a pair of high schools and working on a podcast, all focused on cultural identity and storytelling. This quickly carried over into dinner conversations and coffee dates, with both friends and strangers. Life's too important for small talk. I'm the guy who wants to talk about dismantling privilege and systemic social issues at your dinner party.
  12. 12.
    December: Published six lists in a week!
    A more on-brand answer is probably that I stopped celebrating holidays that have a serious half-life to me, but I pushed out a bunch of lists (for me) this week, and y'all been nice to the half-Asian kid from rural Georgia. So thank you for making me catch some feelings on this last day of 2015.