★ Closing Time

Looking back, I can roughly group the phases of my life based on the places I've lived. I left my hometown of San Diego when I was 18 to go to college. Throughout college, I lived in various places in Irvine and the surrounding cities in Orange County. After I graduated in 2004 and got my first full time job, I moved into a house in Irvine. I didn't know the landlord at the time, but through him and his social group, I ended up meeting some life long friends. In 2006, we moved into a larger house in Irvine and affectionately called it Mango, after our street name. The next 3 years were some of the most memorable years of my twenties. For a short while, we were going out close to 6 days a week. Living with 5 other people in a house is fun but after awhile, I wanted to live in a smaller space, possibly on my own.

I discovered Downtown Santa Ana and its Artist's Village neighborhood after going to The Crosby one night to have a drink. I was amazed that such an area existed in Orange County which is mostly known for its conservative residents, suburban sprawl and Disneyland. I'd heard that one of the apartment complexes was having a move in special for new residents. So in 2009, I took advantage and moved into my first apartment I could call my own. I loved it. I loved having bars and restaurants walking distance from my place. I loved living in one of Orange County's oldest and most historic cities. I loved having living in a place I could call my own, decorating how I wanted and knowing that the only mess I was cleaning up was my own. Living on your own can be difficult financially so in 2010, I moved in with one of my best friends into a 2 bedroom apartment within the same complex.

I've lived in Downtown Santa Ana for the past 3 years. When I look at this part of my life, I will always think of my time in DSA as one where I made the transition from my 20's to my 30's. I "grew up" from living in a frat house style arrangement to living on my own. I also grew up in the sense that I graduated from going out to clubs in Hollywood to the more laid back spots in LA and OC.

Now it's on to the next phase of my life. At the beginning of March, I moved from Orange County, my home for the past 14 (!) years, to the Bay Area. I'm leaving the comfort of the familiar and living somewhere completely new to me. I'm moving in with my girlfriend which is also a first for me. I've transferred to my company's Bay Area office so for the first time in a long time, I feel like I have some stability in my job. While I'm leaving Santa Ana with a bit of sadness, I'm more than excited to begin this next part of my life in the Bay Area.

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."