March 21, 2005

I Heart California

Sometimes living in California really doesn’t suck. People (mostly people who don’t live here) complain about the crowds, the cost of living, the natural disasters, the shallow people, the smog… and all of that exists, sure. But also? Palm trees? The Pacific Ocean? Sunshine? Swimming pools, movie stars? And, by the way, that gross smog that everyone complains about contributes to some really gorgeous sunsets, unlike sunsets I’ve seen anywhere else. And the massive rains that devastated lives and homes earlier this year have also left behind some green, green hills covered with mustard flowers and California poppies. The mountains look amazing right now. Obviously I’m not saying I value wildflowers over people’s lives, and I'm definitely not a fan of the smog, but I’m just currently feeling a half-full attitude these days, which is a distinct change from my half-empty January. Welcome, good attitude! I haven't seen you in a while!

I think I can attribute my recently improved outlook to a few things. First of all, it may have stopped raining so much (fingers crossed), and good weather is always an upper. Second, I think I have made a couple of new friends lately, and, as Reader’s Digest will tell you, laughter is the best medicine. Third, I am considering a major career/life change that both terrifies me and keeps me up at night with excitement. While it’s still in the pipe dream stages, it gives me something to think about, get excited about. And that's always good.

But back to my I Love California! campaign. This change of heart was kicked off by a recent visit to the Channel Islands, where I hiked around all day in peace and quiet and was just happy to be alive in such a beautiful place. We hiked through grassy fields and flats of limestone, and had our lunch on the top of some cliffs overlooking a splashy little pirate cove (I made up the pirate part). Pelicans glided along the cliffs beneath us, and the water was surprisingly blue. The whole thing felt prehistoric. Such a pretty day. And on the boat ride back to the mainland, we passed through a group of “several thousand” dolphin – according to our captain, it was a local pod and they’re always around, playing with the boats and chowing down in the channel. It was mind-blowing – dolphins jumping and twirling and surfing the waves as far as you could see. It was one of those moments where you truly feel blessed, like it’s a little miracle happening in your life. A special moment. What was not quite so special was that my camera was broken all day. But that just means I have to go back, right?

I think sometimes you just need a change of venue, a little escape from your usual routine to pick yourself out of the doldrums. I know it’s not always that easy to cheer oneself up, believe me, but this happy confluence of several positive circumstances has perked me up this time. Maybe I'm not completely over my slump, but it's a start.

Or it could just be the crack talking. Hard to say.

Channel Islands

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