One more musing (or set of musings) for the night.
This time it’s about California.
I have a love-hate relationship with California.
Love because I have much family here, and many good memories of family here. And because the ocean is here.
Hate because every hard life lesson that I have ever managed to learn has finally stuck while I was in California. California has been the site of an awful lot of pain for me.
I only come here to be blessed or to suffer for my sins. There appears to be no in-between.
And for the first time, tonight, now, I am feeling grateful to California for that. Because to fail to be punished for one’s sins is perhaps one of the most painful and debilitating conditions in the universe.
So—here’s to you, California. You are the place that teaches me life lessons. The hard lessons. No matter how much I think I learn, I never truly learn until I come here.
Don’t get me wrong, California is a place of lies of the most seductive, devastating, and plentiful kind.
But, somehow, in that ironic, insane way that is beyond human understanding and that deeply marks the universe in which we live, that also makes California a place of deep an undavoidable truths that must be confronted if one is to grow.
Where did my first California epiphany lead? To me finally finishing my undergraduate degree after 10 years of aimless wandering. Where did my second California epiphany lead? To me going to graduate school and getting an M.A. Where did my third California epiphany lead? To me going back to graduate school, getting a Ph.D., and having two beautiful children whom I love very much.
Where does this California epiphany lead? I’m not sure just how to encapsulate it yet, though a sort of intuitive summary is below in the previous post. I suppose time will tell about how I frame it years from now.
In any case, California makes me suffer. Deeply. Existentially. That’s why I hate California with a passion. But as the (very rare) wise folk of our species know, suffering is the stuff of growth, and growth is the stuff of light.
That’s why I also love California with awe and gratitude.