California Coming Home (pt. 2)

Something about going home allows you to reset. Living miles away–thousands of miles away, even–from home isn’t particularly new to me, but I always end up experiencing a sort of friction with my home environment upon coming back to visit. I don’t mean in a bad way. I always end up thinking, this feels different from the last time I was here, and I think the difference is me. In a sense, the friction I experience is evidence that I’ve changed since the last time I left, evidence that I’ve grown.

Being in Boston has taught me a few things, one of which is to be harder around the edges. While I love the people I work with and the friends that I’ve made, the general populace that you interface with in urban spaces (as a whole) is much less friendly and approachable than what I grew up with back home. Customer service is not that much of a thing here, and as if the lack of daylight hours wasn’t enough, black is the color theme of everyone’s wardrobe. How fascinating it was, then, to experience sunshine again and to notice every speck of color in my surroundings when I came back home. I went on hikes (Outside! During the winter!), drank smoothies made with fresh fruit, saw the ocean, rode a roller coaster, did road runs, took selfies, walked dogs, slept in, bought and delivered gifts, wrote letters, tried skin products–stuff that I never really give myself time to do here in Boston.

But why not? That’s precisely the question. I realized that my excuses are probably the biggest barrier to my peace of mind. The stories that I tell myself are always the same. I’m too busy. I’m too tired. I’m too overwhelmed. I saw Garrison Keillor speak for the first time a couple months ago. He’s one of my favorite radio personalities, Cole Porter fans, poets, and more. Quoting his grandmother, who grew up during the Depression, he advised the crowd, “Happiness is a choice.” And that’s precisely what the secret is. You will always resent and relent something about life. But you can choose to spit and shout or hold it in until you implode. Or you can smile and get on with it. In the end, the choice is always yours.

That said, my resolutions for the new year are simple, but they resonate very deeply.

1. Love myself. So much easier said than done. If 2013 revealed one thing to me, it’s that I’m carrying around a lot of baggage that I don’t need to, and that baggage has become a barrier to loving myself and, in at least one very specific case, loving others. Though the battle against insecurity seems like one that should have ended with my prepubescent years, I’ve accepted that it may be a lifelong war for me. (I’m hoping to win.)

2. Push myself. Harder, faster, stronger. I’ve reflected on the person I am today versus the person I used to be a year ago. In some respects, I’ve grown in very positive ways and learned new things. On the other hand, I do feel like I’ve lost touch with very important parts of myself. I’m less extroverted,  less musical, less driven than I know I can be. So I’d like to dedicate 2014 to finding that average of who I am, who I’ve been, and who I’d like to be.

When I came back to Boston, the temperatures were dipping toward zero degrees Fahrenheit and below, and a blizzard warning was in effect. Despite all this, I still felt like smiling–not because I had any particular reason to but because I chose to despite not having a reason. You can take a girl out of California, but you can’t take the California out of the girl.


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