About 6 years ago, I fell deeply, euphorically, head-over-heels in love with California. I vowed on that trip that I would find my way back as often as I possibly could and I wouldn’t be that person continually saying “in the next 3 years when I’ve done this and this has happened, I’ll make the move.” I promised to move as soon as I could.
And then 6 years passed.
I am nowhere near moving to California. I have accomplished many other things I wanted to do and have been encountered with other obstacles, challenges, and joys that have stopped me from the “big move.”
Every time I hear of someone that I know either presently or in the past moving to California, I experience soul-crushing sadness. Deep disappointment. Melancholic jealousy.
Why them and not me? California is MY dream.
When will my time come? I’m already 30.
Will I be stuck here forever?
California is where I belong.
Can I be truly happy here if I’m not in California?
This feeling is so intense that it is often hard for me to keep a straight face when the “We’re moving to California!” announcement gets shared. I flinch, I flinch every time.
My mindful-zen-yogi-namaste mind knows that each of our individual paths will unfold as they are meant to. And that timing isn’t everything. And that California may be a lot of people’s dreams…but somehow, I’ve become possessive (and subsequently not very mindful) about this.
Each time this strikes, I am not present because I’m thinking about how I’m not in California. I am not present because I am focused on other people living out my dream while I’m seemingly stuck in my half-baked one.
I put California on a pedestal. A pedestal that is a dangerous, for as the Buddhists so wisely remind us: desire is the root of all suffering. By focusing our attentions on the possibility of a seemingly impossible dream, are we, ultimately either in a state of disappointment or setting ourselves up for disappointment? Is this one singular dream, really, truly, the single most important key to my happiness?
Guess what? When I ask myself that question, I am met with a clear answer. That soul-crushing sadness turns into a smile and I am able to sigh a deep relaxing breath because I am able to acnkowledge the love, happiness, and light that surrounds my life today, right now–palm trees or no palm trees.