I’ve always considered the great outdoors to be my sanctuary ~ The only safe haven I have ever known and a place of healing. Growing up in the mid-west, the woods (mountains) with all its streams and rivers is where I’ve always felt the most peace, the most comfortable, and the most at home. It is also where I feel the closest to God, as no man is responsible for creating all of the natural beauty we see.
While California isn’t exactly known for its lakes or mountains (not the wooded kind anyways) it is known for having perhaps, the most magnificent coast line in all the country. So, even though I may not get to lay around in the grass as much here, know that I am rolling around and burying my feet in the sand plenty, learning how to boogie board, body surf, appreciating every sunset, and becoming mesmerized by the sound of the waves. I’m getting to explore this eclectic and beautiful state, having some awesome adventures, and meeting really wonderful people. Most of all, I couldn’t be happier to have the sunshine wrapping me up within its warmth pretty much every single day of the year ~ It’s absolutely wonderful! Heck, I think I’m even beginning to finally relax a little :) That means, the coast is quickly becoming my sanctuary now as well. Even though I miss the fall colors terribly, the more time I spend by the ocean, the more it soothes my soul in ways similar to that of the mountains.
What Are You Waiting For?
So, I used to think that if you lived in a dream place like San Diego or in a comparable and ridiculously expensive place like San Francisco or New York, but you didn’t make a lot of money then your quality of life would be poor as well, because you’d always be struggling extra hard to make ends meet.
I admit, those kinds of thoughts kept me from transferring here in the past.
However, after living here twice, I’ve come to the definite conclusion that it’s quite the opposite of that and like most things in life, is just a matter of attitude and perspective. In fact, I believe that was fear talking instead. Is it tough? Sure it is, but we must choose our battles, because there are always going to be certain aspects of the economy, culture or religion that are going to be tough no matter where we live.
Weighing the Cost ~ Quality ‘vs’ Quantity
So, I may not be able to afford a mansion here, live on the bluff, drive a Zenvo, eat at expensive restaurants with an ocean view every night, or have passes to all the amusement parks, but in regards to happiness… I think it comes down to where one derives their joy from and what they value the most. Sure, all of those things are nice, a ton of fun and can be very enjoyable, but which of them are of value, substance or real lasting quality? Once the ‘things’ are stripped away, what’s left?
Another words, I absolutely feel SUPER spoiled whenever we do get to partake in such things, but just because I don’t personally have them, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t live here or be able to enjoy it just as much as the people who do have all that stuff are.
In fact, seeing hard times as most of us have, should help us value and appreciate all of the extras (which may or may not come) even more and for the right reasons. Those ‘things’ are like bonuses then. Learning how to appreciate the smallest of life’s gifts first, can help us appreciate the bigger ones even more, if and when they do come along. The whole process is supposed to help us become more humble, kind, patient, generous, compassionate, giving, loving, etc… The kind of people who choose to do good with what God blesses them with instead of doing bad with it, and whom God can really use to make a difference in the lives of others.
A Way of Life
Personally, I think true quality of life means to be doing the things that make me happy, always finding ways to help others, being surrounded by mother nature and all that He’s created, it’s when my Spirit is truly content and not just merely feeling like it, it is all those things which inspire me, and most importantly it’s being surrounded by real loving family, friendships and relationships… So, am I happy living here even though I don’t have the ability to “Keep up with the Joneses?” YOU BET I AM!
While I have lived in the most affordable parts of the country, I have also lived in the most expensive (literally, like 47 states now, lol!) and my quality of life here is just stupid AWESOME people… I’m SO serious! The health benefits alone and ability to be outside 24-7 are the absolute greatest so traveling aside, I’ll never trade those things again. Therefore, if living in a place like this is a part of your dream, then I encourage you to just do it. Find a way to make it work!
Throughout the course of our lives may we learn never to take anything for granted, because ultimately all things come together for the good, including the culmination of our life experiences and regardless of where they’re derived from. Another words… Whether we have a little or a lot and no matter what our experiences ~ Be grateful, be happy and find richness in all of life’s blessings! I guarantee you will find the positives if you’re willing to look for them. So, let’s not be discouraged by what we don’t have, or worse yet, allow misguided thoughts to steal our dreams or rob us of the ability to appreciate all that we do have.