Lovin' the Town You're With

Anything one does every day is important & imposing &

anywhere one lives is interesting and beautiful.

Gertrude Stein

 

We have lived; our moments are important.

Natalie Goldberg

Zeal

to

Live Life Well

TM

Hello  & Welcome!

I'm Cindy & so very delighted

to make your online acquaintance.

Since I’ve been known to make shamelessly nauseating statements from time to time like, in Colorado, all roads lead to bliss, people assume I act this way because I live in Denver. But no, I’m this annoying in whatever geographical location you find me in.

 

It all started while growing up as a local in popular tourist destinations where it was sport  for my friends and me to not-so-affectionately refer to visitors who invaded our stomping grounds as snowbirds in the winter (Jensen Beach, FL)  and shoobies in the summer (Brigantine, NJ).

 

You know the type: man of retirement age sporting socks with sandals, a first-degree sunburn, camera around his neck, white splotch of zinc oxide on his nose & ill-fitting shorts placed carefully under a cannonball stomach.

 

Yet at some point it dawned on me that they might be onto something. That tourism could actually be a state of mind. And if anyone made an effort to see where they live with the wonder an out-of-town guest might—not allowing initially thrilling experiences to be taken for granted—then their everyday life could hold some of the same excitement a vacation does.

 

From that day on, whether living near Philly, on the beach in South Jersey, on the east & west coasts of FL,  in Dallas, near Atlanta, or in Denver, it became my goal to exhaust as many of the local treasures of wherever I was living while I had the chance.

 

Though I’m a fan of the burbs, the country & the beach, I also enjoy residing with my husband & two betta fish atop a high tower more than a mile above sea level in Denver.

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It's a renewable source of things we all just seem to love: life's little joys, charmed moments, and everyday epiphanies that strike a chord.

 

SPEL's also a happiness-enhancing strategy, a continual reminder to notice & relish ordinary, everyday experiences. (And luscious details matter.)

 

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The tagline for our residence is “living at the intersection of everything” which perfectly describes the natural chaos of our densely populated zip code where the city views act as our entertainment as we spy on life below.

 

Of course, every geographic location has both blessing & bane, & there can be pesky annoyances from time to time that come with urban living like the occasional malcontents picketing, protesting & parading. Even with my windows shut, their rants sound-travel through my HVAC vents calling into question my deep devotion to the 1st Amendment.

 

And there was that morning I rolled over, popped open my peepers & found a whirly bird chopping at deafening decimals outside my window.

 

Parades are fun, but they also come with road closures and fences, & if you happen to live, work or drive anywhere in the city when the president visits, fuggedaboutit.

 

And apparently not everyone enjoys spooning with strangers on a crowded bus.

 

So while urban life may not be for everybody, for me, the ethos of the city: its sights, sounds, smells & tastes are all part of its gritty charm.

 

I love the paradox of mountains & city lights that is the Denver landscape. The view of cars, people, and buildings form a city kaleidoscope that stretches out to the Rocky Mountains whose white-capped peaks provide just enough of the wild to soothe an over-civilized urbanite.

 

I’m fascinated by Denver’s storied past & the juxtaposition of the city’s old & new, secular & sacred.

 

 

Urban eavesdropping is another favorite pastime of metro life—eating at a sidewalk café overhearing the hum of the streets & watching the city stroll past your table.

 

The lighthearted mayhem & carnival atmosphere is made up of people, pedi-cabs, horse-drawn carriages, street performers, & expats from around the world  who have different lifestyles & world views than mine.

 

And even the simple pleasure of sitting on the porch with a cup of coffee, pink sunlight swathing the Rockies, while watching the city wake up makes the list.

 

I’ve waxed poetic on my love for all things Denver to make this point: All of us can green up our grass if we so desire, simply because it’s the grass we have—for now.

 

Life. It’s all how we look at things.

Here’s how I know this is true: Whenever one of my friends momentarily forgets themselves & begins dissing where they live, I counter with a list all of my favorite places (& food!) in their area & before long they’re agreeing & swelling with local pride once again.

 

What we focus on always expands.

 

If we overlook what is “here” to chase after what is “there,” it’s easy to forget that the moment we are in right now is the place where our life is happening.

 

As Voltaire put it, “We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.”

 

We don’t create a better future by living in the future; we create a better future by living full & well in the present— locating ourselves in our lives now instead of hoping to catch up with ourselves sometime later.

Now maybe you’re already mining the treasures of your locale, but if not, try starting your own Staycation travelogue with the words: In __________, all roads lead to bliss.

 

Why shouldn’t we all embrace our inner “shoobies” (gasp) & tap into our local resources? And discover our towns as if for the first time, where everything is surprising, fresh & brilliant?

 

Wander. Connect. Explore. Engage. And capture the things that make our days wonderful, both in the moment & forever in retrospect.

 

When we create our very own everyday Shangri-Las by stirring up that vacation feeling & lovin' the town we’re with, suddenly we’re making the ordinary extraordinary again, awakened to the specialness of the life we are living.

It's Happy in Here (TM) (Series) |  How to Be Happy:  22 Tips to Everyday Bliss by Cindy O'Krepki

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