The golden lining of California

The golden lining of California

Andrew Rintala

FOR THE QC

Beaches that go on for miles, towering viewpoints to see the beautiful sunsets, and Redwood Forests that can make your neck sore. California has quite the sights to see once you’ve been here long enough to enjoy them. Seeing what is usually only accessible to many through pictures and the media is really what makes it such a spectacle to the human eye. However, what makes someone a member of such a beautiful state happens to be completely different from the state’s natural aspects. Since the initial dream of migrators to obtain gold in the 1800s, California has always had a sense of attraction to it. Over many decades, the “gold” of the state has taken different forms. From literal golden nuggets, to the pure desire for fame and fortune, it’s fair to say there’s always been a wide range of factors reeling people in from across the world. Surely, California has been adding to the list of what makes the state so unique, but the foundation for it all, the “gold,” is what really keeps people coming in. 

Andy Warhol, a pioneer from the dawn of the American arts and entertainment industry, famously said, “Everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes,” leading to the “fifteen minutes of fame” cliché. I don’t believe that being a Californian is necessarily having the desire for your metaphorical fifteen minutes; rather, it’s knowing that millions will come again after you, and seizing the moment while you’re here. L.A., for example, is the clear epicenter of the world for arts, entertainment, and media. What really gets people to come to places like L.A. is the desire to be successful among so many others that have come before them. What you do here isn’t what makes you Californian — it’s taking the golden moments that living here has given you and making sure that your legacy goes on past them. If every young music artist wants to be the next Ariana Grande or Drake, and every actor comes here to star in movies with Brad Pitt and Ryan Reynolds, there won’t be much more to achieve afterward, as somber as the reality is. If Warhol’s quote stands true, then we all will have to deal with the fame being over at some point, no matter the magnitude or longevity of it.

Being Californian is not about the endless comparisons put on you, but rather what you do after achieving your goals.

Not all golden moments will happen on such a big stage, however. My most recent “fifteen minutes of fame,” hilariously, was winning student of the month in the last month of my last year in high school. At the time every senior in the school wouldn’t be giving their grades a single thought, I was chosen for the award, surpassing countless 4.0 GPAs and the usual AP library dwellers at my school. At the luncheon that was held for the eight students selected by our principal, read off the accomplishments of the students and reasons why they were there. After recognizing them, he assured the crowd that. There was a much bigger meaning that he wanted to get across, and, in a way, it perfectly connects with what I think it means to live in this state.

“Affirmations and recognitions are the first steps on someone’s road to success, and having others believe in them is what keeps them going, even when their moment is past,” Brosnan said as a closing statement to the ceremony. While it’s important to look at the many great aspects of California as a state, what really counts is how you conduct yourself once you’ve had your golden moment, and the spotlight has traveled away from you. It’s always been difficult to compare my own accolades to those that came before me, being the youngest of three siblings, but now it seems as though comparisons from others are what’s constantly following me around. Being Californian is not about the endless comparisons put on you, but rather what you do after achieving one of your goals — whether it’s on the scale of Hollywood fame that is strived for by millions, or as simple as a student of the month award in high school. Being a Californian is taking it’s golden moments that living here has given you, and making sure that you live long enough to call them memories.