Updated: Jul 1, 2021
Sometimes we end up where we least expect in life. But, if we open our minds enough we may find ourselves right where we belong - right where we were destined to land.
Two years ago, I purchased my first home in Joshua Tree, CA. I originally intended for my house to serve as a sweet escape on the weekends, reprieve from the grueling weeks I spent working in Los Angeles. What I never anticipated was that less than two years later I’d start my own business, acquire two more acres of land, meet the man of my dreams, and become a full time resident in the process.
The desert is far from anywhere I’d imagined myself settling as a little girl, teenager, and young adult. In fact, it was the desert I vowed never to return to once I’d left it behind in Phoenix after graduating High School. Just imagining the stats of my current reality in the past is something that would, in the very least, elicit a shortness of breath, if I allowed myself to sit and think about it too long. But, if there’s one thing the desert is good at it’s reminding you of how little you need to survive and confronting you with the frivolous ways you have. And, I suppose that’s exactly what happened for me.
Evenings were spent on my porch in one of the hammocks instead of on the couch in front of the television, mindlessly scrolling away through Instagram, feeling my life was inferior to literally everyone else’s. Empty conversations dissecting the actions of boys or whining about stalling careers were replaced with spiritual connections with strangers at soundbaths or on trailheads and helping neighbors with chores their bodies were too tired for. Hours wasted in traffic were now “wasted” on watching wildlife scurry about my property. And, without the distractions I’d become accustomed to while living in the city, I eventually began to see past the very long lens I’d been living behind for years.
What transpired as a result was my feeling less comparative, judgmental, and superficially motivated - particularly when it came to my accomplishments or lack thereof. My goals slowly starting evolving, things I looked for or valued in friendships and relationships started changing, and eventually, so did I.
The difference between how I felt in the city versus how I felt in the desert was vast and undeniable. Despite how fortunate I’d been in one of the hardest cities and professions in the world, I often felt anxious, resentful, and heartbroken by Los Angeles. In the desert? I felt hopeful, happy, free, and completely at peace. With little to no effort, positive things, people, and experiences found their way to me. Things I’d long been chasing to no avail for years in the city had simply, fallen into my lap in a matter of weeks in the desert. I was building a community with genuine people I shared common interests with. I felt more focused and inspired by creative endeavors that I was also tackling with far more ease than ever before. Routines and hobbies I quite literally didn’t have the space for were now being practiced and rewarded. And, anxiety I’d learn to live with for years made its physical presence known only when I finally felt it leave me.
While the contrast was vivid, the transition into my new life wasn’t as seamless as you might expect. For a while, I actually resisted the joy desert life brought me, finding reasons to justify why staying tied to the city was worth sacrificing my mental sanity. The food was better, there was more to do, I needed to stay relevant, fresh on people’s minds! The truth was, I’d been clinging to a narrative I felt looked better on paper than another, and what that paper represented.
I used to think there were only two avenues in life: one where I hit all my goals but ended up miserable and alone, and one where I’d have to sacrifice all my dreams in order to be happy. In the beginning, I often found myself looking back at that preverbal fork in the road wondering if I chose my path correctly. But, the truth is, once we stop fighting the universe for what we think our life is supposed to look like and we start leaning into the avenue that’s actually meant for us, we’re rewarded with the life we always wanted. Sometimes, with even more than we’d hoped to achieve and perhaps some achievements we’d never before considered that now we cannot imagine our lives without.
The desert has taught me there are multiple avenues we can walk to end up at the same destination, so long as our minds are open enough to doing so. If we take the time to pause, remove the distractions, and eliminate our inclination to be comparative, we get rewarded with an opportunity; to surprise ourselves, to uncover what’s actually important to us, to discover what truly makes us feel fulfilled, and to find what pacifies us and what makes us feel alive.