Although San Diego was my hometown for a solid 90% of my life, my affections for its sun-drenched streets and sea-salty air have only heightened over the past two years that I’ve been elsewhere.
It’s human nature to take things for granted—even if those “things” were glassy, salty sliders (a.k.a. gnarly waves, brah), perfect weather, and bare feet. But it’s also human nature to romanticize these fragments of life that we’ve long since left behind. So when I went “home” to San Diego last weekend to visit my two best friends, I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Maybe San Diego wasn’t as all-around-lovely as my memories were insinuating. I knew my friends would be amazing (as always), but was San Diego still my home? Did it still feel magical? I was a little worried.
And yet, the moment I arrived, I knew my memories weren’t idealizing San Diego in any way—if anything, my memories fell short of the real thing! Hopping in the car with one of my best friends (and clutching a sweet yellow bouquet of flowers that she had brought to welcome me), we took to the back roads, looping through one of San Diego’s most beautiful and unabashedly wealthy areas. Between shout-singing our favorite songs at the top of our lungs (current favorites: Age of Worry by John Mayer and Leave the Night On by Sam Hunt) and ogling over the sprawling estates and palm tree-lined sidewalks, I realized how lucky I was to have multiple places to call home, but mostly how fortunate I was to have such sweet friends to come home to.
We spent the weekend engaging in all sorts of shenanigans.
Between creamsicle shakes at our favorite beach-side café and visits to Trader Joes to stock up on “supplies” (those big tubs of tiny chocolate chip cookies and sea salt pita chips), I felt God’s light and love in both of my two friends. Their laughter was contagious, their attitudes positive and adventuresome. We did a photoshoot with a friend-of-a-friend photographer, melted over Jack Johnson’s sweet melodies whilst stretched out on blankets with thousands of other concert-goers, and even managed to make it over to Michael’s for craft supplies (we ended up spending an hour drawing out our favorite bible verses and worship song lyrics—tune my heart to sing thy grace).
In the midst of the joy, the workaholic part of me felt gluttonous, spending three days with my favorite people, eating nothing but my favorite food, and doing all of my favorite activities. But don’t we need those kinds of weekends? My soul felt entirely refreshed after Labor Day weekend, and I was reminded of the real urgency in taking care of myself and mixing in ample play time with work time.
As a perfectionist taking 20 units of school, nursing a fascination in interfaith dialogue/microfinance/social business-meets-religion books (there are six on my bedside table right now), and big dreams of getting my Ph.D. in Religious Studies, I forget to play. I remember to lie in front of the television watching cartoons and eating cereal out of the box at 9 p.m., but I forget to play. To gather up friends, release the stresses and responsibilities for a few days, and just romp around town.
Maybe you feel the same way. Maybe your workday is long, your sleep cycle is out of whack, and your friendships are fraying. Maybe your grades are perched between a rock and a hard place, you’ve run out of mac and cheese (sincerest condolences), or your family is driving you mad. The washing machine is broken, the gas gauge is on empty, and the jury duty summons came in the mail. You’ve cracked your iPhone and shattered your patience with this whole “life” thing.
We’ve all been there, friend. So my humble call on this Thursday evening is this: work hard tomorrow and play hard this weekend. Go surfing. Go hiking. Make dinner with your family. Go on a run with your best friends. Think. Dream. Talk about something meaningful.
In closing, I’d like to mention something about that last line: talk about something meaningful. Last night I was talking to one of my best friends (the same one who brought me flowers when I arrived in San Diego), and she said:
“I have a question for you. Do you think you are who you believe you are, or you are who you choose to be? C.S. Lewis thought the first; I’m more inclined to think the second. And it’s been rattling my brain.”
We ended up having the best discussion about valuing action over passive thought, and we decided on a prayer that we both want to start praying more frequently regarding turning our actions into a stronger faith in Christ’s presence and steadfastness. I feel lucky to have friends that are sisters in Christ. I feel lucky to have San Diego as one of the many places I call home. I feel lucky that God blessed me with an incredible weekend to recharge.
Passing on a little positivity this evening-