Michelle is coming with me to Pennsylvania for Christmas and to meet my family. (Don’t worry, I Googled her extensively to see if she’s writing a blog behind my back and we’re in the clear.)

I went back and read what I wrote about the holidays last year and one thing stuck out. I said no matter how long I live in L.A., it never felt like home. It seems like everyone here is from somewhere else and come this time of year the city empties out like an office building. I still think that’s true, but to a much lesser extent. I’ve made so many new connections this year (not even including Michelle). Many more friends, tons more simple interactions. That makes it feel more like a home I guess.

But what makes me feel even better and more optimistic about the future (again, besides the fact that Michelle and I have worked things out) is that I feel like I’m growing up. People write all the time about how the 20’s these days are just an extension of adolescence. How in the olden days people would get married, get a job, have kids, all by 22, and take on the psychological manifestations of adulthood. But now, people are still trying to figure out who they are, what do they want to do for a career, what makes a good vs. bad relationship. We’re all stunted adolescents.

I think a lot of that is true. More than ever people in their 20’s are totally confused by life. I know I was.

But for the first time I feel like I’m starting to figure it out. I am liking who I am. I am getting comfortable in my skin. Maybe this is all a result of various love hormones making me giddy, but I honestly think I’ve changed this last year, and for the better.

I’ve read a few books recently that might be categorized as “self help.” And while that area generally makes me cringe, there are a few good ones out there (usually written by actual scientists) and there’s a theme that runs through the ones I like. Nothing is determined. Effort and drive make all the difference. Dramatic changes are possible through hard work. Greatness was never achieved through effortless inspiration but only through tireless perseverance. Anyway, you get the idea.

I started this blog for selfish reasons. I really just wanted to be less lonely. I found that I could become a better person along the way. But I never intended to help anyone else. (Don’t forget, I hate people.) As the Project went on with all its twists and turns, I found I had a lot to say to other people trying to accomplish the same goals. And I found myself liking helping these people.

Anyway, it’s a bit of a ramble today but you get the gist. Michelle and I are going to relax and take a real vacation for the next two weeks, so I won’t be posting again till after the New Year. And then, by agreement, it will just be about talking to strangers, not talking to or about Michelle.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday. If you’re feeling down, isolated, and bearish about your future potential for happiness, just remember the one thing I’ve learned in the last 18 months: you can do something about it. It’s been an emotional last few months for me but I think for the first time I can say with confidence that it’s all going to work out.