Would You Live In A Crappy House To Experience Majestic Beauty Every Day?
The local ritual of watching the sunset every day.
After a hectic week of traveling on business, I decided to decompress by laying on the sand of a Northern California beach, Aptos. It was rejuvenating in ways that are hard to explain. I need this more often, perhaps like some people need a massage. This is a massage for my mind, which has benefits for my body as well.
As much as I enjoyed that experience, it was a different experience that grabbed me. As I stood and sat, with my iPhone in hand, waiting for the sun to go down, I noticed a sudden gathering of locals, walking their dogs, and also sitting on a wall. They had assembled to watch the sun go down. Given their “mature” age, I am guessing they assemble regularly.
Us visitors stay as long as we need, to get that one dramatic shot as the sun disappears below the horizon. Not these locals though, they stayed long after as the orange and golden hues continued to color the evening sky. They stayed staring at the horizon, with a surreal calm and enchantment on their faces, like they were sitting in the catherdral of their god, admiring her glory. If you had told me they were on drugs, I would not have doubted it. Likely they were not, they were just high on life. Modern wellness principles include experiencing the awe of nature on a regular basis. This is supposed to be good for your mental health. These people experience it more often than most.
The houses in this area, are in general, not great. You don’t get much for you dollar here compared to many other places in America, even in California. The upside is the sunsets are free, everyday, 365 days a year, or as often as weather permits — which is often.
There is a clear tradeoff here, which is perhaps a metaphor for much of California, and for many aspects of life. How much are you willing to pay for the privilege of something else? How much are you willing to pay for a house that allows you to work in the industry/profession of your choice? How much abuse are you willing to take from someone you are paying to provide a service to you, even if the outcomes are good? How much are you willing to sacrifice for a relationship that has many great components, but is somehow not serving you? How much of any one thing are you willing to give up for something else?
The question of whether you are willing to endure crap so you can get something else can be applied to so many aspects of life. A job, a relationship, a housing arrangement, a contractor, the list is endless.
Every day, in every way, we all ask ourselves the same question: am I willing to “live” in a crappy house so I get awe inspiring sunsets for free? On this day, I would have said yes! This sunset was a marvel of creation. On other days, perhaps not so much. Over the long run? That is an interesting question. For the locals, the answer is clear. Looking at the sunset that day, it was easy to know what they feel — a tradeoff that was easy to see, no explanation required.