California is cool. I’ve always known this. But, the last time I went to California I started to understand why.
I stayed in Costa Mesa for few days to talk to art students about going to college. One of the things that I didn’t realize was that I was down the street from Newport Beach. The only reason I found that out was because I was Yelping for places to eat.
Cool thing number one about California: the variety of places to eat. I found a fast Vietnamese place a block from the beach.
I didn’t end up eating there my first night because right next to it is a Greek place. I’m a sucker for a gyro. When the sign said gyro and fries for $8.99 I walked in, ordered and walked to the beach.
I was listening to an audio book while I walked (gotta utilize my time to productive). As I was sitting down to eat my headphone fell out. Then I dawned on me, I’m at the beach. I should be listening to the waves.
The sound of the ocean is magic.
I watched families play in the sand and the surfers surf. There were so many surfers.
I couldn’t help but imagine what it would have been like 100 years ago. When the film industry started to move it. The excitement of being in a new place and doing new things. It must have been contagious.
That spirit still lives there.
The first time I went to California Adventure I felt the same way. Walking down Main Street and trying to imagine what it was like for Walt Disney to be a part of that. To imagine what was possible. Recognizing the potential.
After eating I walked down the beach and felt the air. The heaviness of the humidity. It’s palpable.
The wet air of the Pacific Northwest sinks into my skin. I can feel it through to my bones. But in California it rests on top. Hydrates my skin. It’s refreshing.
When I get into a place like that I get excited about being a part of it. I want to be in it, living the life; surfing, frisbee on the beach, biking down the boardwalk, skateboarding, breathing the air, and eating the food.
The interesting thing is that I felt the same way on that same trip to Disneyland I talked about earlier. I get into the park and I want to work there. Be part of it.
A few weeks after that Disney trip I realized that that’s not what I want. As I walked across the Newport Pier and watched the sunset I realized the same thing. This is not what I want.
I don’t want Southern California. I don’t want to work for Disney.
I want the excitement that they represent. I want to do work that makes an impact. I want to help make the lives of those around me better. I want to be a part of something bigger than myself.
Then It dawns on me that that’s exactly what I’m doing. I have a job that I enjoy, in an beautiful part of the world, working with wonderfully creative people. I am married to a beautiful and smart woman and together we have two incredibly different and amazing kids. I have had some incredible opportunities to meet great people and visit places around the world.
While there are plenty of days that I wish I made more money, and that things were different than what they are, when I really think about it…what I’ve got is really great.