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December Publisher's Note: Bringin' it Back Home

It turns out that when people are required to stay home for a whole year, they tend to look around and say, “Hmm, this place could use a few improvements!” Lol.

Yes, this year of 2020 has brought many circumstances we didn’t see coming. One positive outcome from people be-ing forced to stay close to home during COVID shutdowns is the uptick in remodels, buildouts, moves, and upgrades during this year.

This issue features a number of Long Beach residents who, in various ways, have remodeled their homes into spaces they find more pleasing and suitable. Our hope is that readers will take inspiration from these stories and photos, and possibly take the leap into improving their own living spaces (if needed).

It’s tough to make a blanket, wholehearted endorsement for a remodel or addition, especially because it’s possible we’re talking about a major money investment. Any home improvement project must first make financial sense. However, this issue inspires me so much because it reminds me of growing up and hearing my parents weigh the pros and cons of adding on to our house for a good chunk of my childhood. When they finally took the leap, it was scary, as it was a major investment, but one I don’t think they ever really regretted. No matter how big or small an undertaking may be, the bottom line is it’s nice to make sure the phrase “feel at home” is a positive one.

We also take a look at two other interesting articles that deal with “home.” One is an article focusing on what people can do to prevent local crime and theft from increasing in our neighborhoods. The second highlights an issue facing an East Long Beach neighborhood where residents are attempting to fight back against a potential multi-unit student housing facility smack in their community. I hope we gave a fair and accurate representation of both these home-related issues.

No two houses in Long Beach are the exact same. Yes, some looked the same or very similar when they were originally built. But then they grow with the person who inhabits them. They get a “look” that is uniquely their own. Through a combination of furniture, layout, paint, design, floors, windows, decorations, pictures, the list goes on. They sometimes get added on to or remodeled. They gain a smell. They begin to house memories and circumstances and events.

We heard from many in this issue, “Our home is our sanctuary.” This year has uniquely focused us to concentrate on our homes and our sanctuaries. Perhaps not all of us wanted to. But, if we’re looking for silver linings … and what we can control, despite many things being out of our hands right now, our homes - and our ability to improve them - is a good place to start.

The inspiring neighbors featured in this issue got me to thinking about my own environment - where I can make improvements and what I’m already happy with. My list may not be the same as yours, but I have things I’d like to improve on and I plan to. Like these houses, we are unique. We have different priorities, different strengths, different likes, and different natural abilities.

I need to remind myself often that just because someone else is shining, or controlling their situation, doesn’t mean I can’t shine in my way, and control my situation. Not one person in this magazine was discouraged from improving their home, just because they saw someone do something better or bigger.

By “Bringin’ it Back Home” with this magazine, I’m trying to remind myself and others what it is that’s truly in our control and what truly makes us, us. Our happiness in life starts with ourselves. Our homes are an extension of ourselves. And our community is an extension of our homes.

I am grateful every day to wake up knowing my job allows me to do something I’m passionate about. Not just to promote my community, but to work so closely with others whose work is an extension of themselves. I wish everyone could see up close like I do, the pure passion of so many people making a footprint in our community that is uniquely theirs!

It has been so tempting this year to be frustrated by things out of our control, out of our reach, and let other people’s thoughts, actions, and dialogue, creep into our happiness.

I’m reminding myself this New Year to let others construct their homes how they like, and just to focus on constructing mine. If we all make our own homes beautiful and don’t worry about others, we’ll have vibrant, diverse, passionate, and wonderful neighborhoods.

Here’s to our city coming together in 2021 building our homes to be a better place … in any sense of the word “better” you see fit, and in every definition of the word, “home.”

Life is Great in the 908,

John Grossi



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