I almost feel a little guilty sharing images of golden skies and bare legs when I know I can go on instagram at any given moment to see the snowy streets and yards experienced by friends from around the world. Two of those friends arrived a week ago and are currently crashing with me; both are chefs from New York and they can do more things with celery root and one whole duck than I ever thought possible. The other day the younger of the two chefs asked me — in all seriousness — “so, are there any downsides to living in California?” This was posed to me on an 80-degree February day, while we sat outdoors in the sun, drinking wine and eating locally caught clams boiled in spiced broth with wilted kale from my back yard, but even so the question caught me off guard. My brain seized up while attempting to distill 30 years of criticism into one bite-sized response. Fortunately there was a Michigander at the table who had no such difficulty. “There’s no seasons here.” She replied without a beat. “I can’t keep track of time anymore.”
I might have said something about superficiality and skin-deep mentalities, an inward looking culture, suburban sprawl, the wanton demolition of history (mostly outside of SF), and the crazy high cost of living (particularly in SF), but I’m glad I kept that negativity to myself. I found K’s response absolutely fascinating because — and she’s going to laugh when she reads this — I feel like California does have seasons. The longer I live in SF the more I look forward to them each year; the cherry blossoms or fall leaves; the foggy months; our Indian summers; the rainy weeks and the windy days; the way the sun is low in the sky and directly in my face when I cook over the stove in the winter mornings, and the way it and the shadows it casts in my house slowly transform throughout the year.
I found the conversation a great exercise in focusing on the positive. In getting out of my own head for a while. This is something I’ve been working on for a while (so much so I started a lifestyle blog that weeds out the garbage and highlights the sunny, bare-legged days in new dresses) but it’s so easy to slip back into your usual ways of thinking and viewing things. Much easier than loving where I live lately. I work from home and this year has been crippling. Add to the mix 9 people sharing my home over a 1.5 month period — which culminated last weekend when 6 people shared 1 bathroom in a 900 sq. ft. apartment for 3 days. I’ll let you do the math on that one. Instead of feeling overwhelmed I want to be more grateful; first of all that I have such amazing people in my life, and then that they’re able to come to me and make my home brighter for a few days or weeks. Soon I’ll have the house to myself again and be missing all these souls, so before they all go their separate ways through planes, trains and busses across down, I’m determined to make the most of this final week with them. We have a new moon in the sky, a new year of sheep ahead of us, and daylight savings just around the corner. I feel a change in the air; that I’ve been gifted a second chance to consciously chose how I’ll live and think in 2015.
Happy belated Chinese Year New! I can’t wait to catch the parade in Chinatown in a few weeks. Are you going to ours, to the one in your town, or celebrating the new new year in any way? I’m curious — what is your secret to positivity? What reminds you of the things you love about where you live? Is it the lack of seasons, or revelry in them; the culture, community, history, coffee shops or quiet streets at sunsets? What is your favorite time of day or year where you live? Please share your thoughts in the comments, or touch base with me over at instagram, pinterest, twitter, or facebook — I’d love to hear what you think!
Thanks for reading — see you in March!