Gratitude is my New California Attitude
Red pollo, khaki slacks, and brand new. Standing at the end of the aisle, she was grinning chatting with a women older than herself, but in the very same attire. Bubbly. Happy. She was here! Here in her new job. Here in the heart of Silicon Valley, the place she has always wanted to be. The place where things happen...start. Finally, she had arrived.
The women she spoke to tried to reflect back the same excitement, effervescence, but it was duller, more slouchy. Tired. Maybe it had once been there, that enthusiasm, but had faded over time. She had been here 12 years now.
How do I know all this? I was out in the world, shopping, without my children, moving slowly. I had time to listen to the world around me. Watch it. Take it in. Learn from it. I was eaves dropping, and maybe that's creepy, but maybe those were pretty much the only adult voices I would hear for hours. I overheard them. I saw. I listened. The conversation was curious to me. I'm more sane for it.
My husband is a bay area native and I have lived here most of my life.
When Ryan and I first came to live in the home we are in now I was thrilled. I could tell you every advantage it had over the last place. The space, the layout, the yard, the long driveway, the proximity to my Ryan's work, the....all the things. I was beaming...then.
Now, those things are less shinny. It's easier for me to list the problems. The 'less than ideal' parts. The shared wall, the 'only' three bedrooms for 7 people, the shared garage space, the broken, the quirky, the...meh. When someone comes over and compliments something about our home, I have to resist the urge throw it, our home (the place I share life with an amazing husband and 5 children), under the bus.
I have to do the same for this area I live in. It's hard. It's not uncommon to run into newbies around here. Transplants. They come here for short times and soak in the mild weather and other advantages. I have lived here so long, I have forgotten what has made this place so attractive. Many don't stay, they put their roots other places, most head back 'home.' It's hard to stay here, even for the ones who want to, especially here in the Silicon Valley. The cost of living and such...
I think California is spelled in swirly glitter writing in the heads of most of the country. To some that's attractive, others annoying. To us who are here, especially in the hub areas, we forget to be thrilled. Some of us. Like me. I forget to be thrilled sometimes. The glitter letters are chipped and the sparkles are everywhere, EVERYWHERE and each one costs an unbearable amount.
California is huge. Not everyone realizes that. It's beach-y somewhat, mountainous a little, desert-ish, tropical like, big city, farm town, techy, glitzy, hippie....
Sometimes I think it's hard here. My life would be easier somewhere else. -This coming from the girl who has never, ever shoveled a snow covered driveway.
No doubt to me there are hard things here. Pressures. Strains. However...
Zachary has this tiny JanSport backpack that was passed on to him from Tyler, who got it from Riley. It is terribly cute. I pack it for him to take to nursery school. But even with it being so small, it is often too heavy for him. He desperately wants to carry it. The older wiser children in the home lament, 'Why can't Z just enjoy that he doesn't have to carry anything right now?!'
Two minutes later they are complaining of bedtime and I am wishing someone would send me to bed early. Why can't they just enjoy being tucked in responsibility free?!
And yet, like them I want something....else. Something more. I fail to enjoy the moment that I am in, the season that I'm in because....more or bigger or different.
The girl at the store believed she would finally get what she wanted now that she made it here. I can almost guarantee that if she wasn't happy where she came from, she soon won't be here. California is truly a unique place but joy isn't here. It's wherever you are when you choose it.
I think I can...I know I can, strive toward goals and enjoy the journey. You can have bigger dreams and still have joy right now. I think the key to that joy is found in gratitude.
Someday Z will cary that tiny backpack with ease and he'll need a bigger fancier backpack when he starts school, but today I've got it for him. He's glad once he feels the weight of it.
I'm choosing gratitude today. Gratitude for the things I want to carry but don't have to...yet.
Instead of seeing what I don't have, I am choosing and purposefully looking for what I do have. All the gifts.
Thanks for reading.
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