Nostalgia Rides Again

I just became aware of the fact that a “significant” high school reunion will be occurring for me later this year. I graduated during the “Summer of Love,” so do the math if you are so inclined (and are up-to-date on your Baby Boomer trivia).

It seems like just yesterday that my friends and I were wreaking harmless havoc in the stomping ground of our youth. Drive-in movies, beach parties, house parties, weekly dances at “Brasada” (the summer teen venue the school hosted – long a relic of the past, no doubt due to paranoia related to modern day insurance liability concerns, but I digress . . . )

There were also dance clubs that we frequented that featured local bands or “records,” but DJ’s were not as evolved as they are today. The Continental Ballroom, The Elk’s Club, The Moose Lodge, The Town and Country Lodge in Ben Lomond and The Chateau Liberte in the Santa Cruz Mountains . . . Lots of innocent fun, laughter (and not all that much drama considering the maturity level of the participants).

Yes, the prospect of this reunion has triggered loads of good memories. High school was a carefree, fun time for me. It’s after high school when my particular life challenges set in. In reviewing the reunion web site, I was surprised to see that to the question, “Would you do it all over again?” most people answered some version of “yes.” In contrast, I would do almost everything differently, starting with simple awareness.

One of my deepest life regrets is that I was so busy living and responding to life that I took little time to actually notice and appreciate my life as it was unfolding. I imagine being on autopilot is more typical than not, but in retrospect, I wish I would have savored every moment. I also would like to have paid more attention to friendships and to cultivating reciprocity.

These realizations seem to have come through reflection and perhaps a dose of maturity (debatable). As a result of being so oblivious to what was happening and the context in which it was taking place, I simply don’t have as many memories as I would have if I were paying attention! Who knew this would be important?

All of this musing got me to thinking about the many people who moved away from home base . . . I am curious as to what causes people to stay or to go. I “went,” but then I came right back. I really didn’t like being land-locked. I love being close to the beach.

Some people seem to use logic in making relocation decisions. Some people are more emotional responders (I put myself in this category). I can’t imagine moving somewhere solely for a job – it would have to be some job to compensate for an area that might be less than desirable to me. By the same token, rumor has it that people move to less desirable areas where you can get much more house for your money than you can in Santa Cruz.

For me, the trade-off of an extra-great house, for a less-than-great (from my perspective) area, would never work. I would much rather have a modest cottage in a great place, than a great house in a not-so-wonderful place. It’s a total quality of life experience that matters to me. I settled on Santa Cruz because it had natural beauty combined with spunk and personality, along with the intellectual rub-off from the University. I have not been disappointed with my choice. Can you tell I feel very lucky to live in Santa Cruz? debryman.com

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I Moved to My Vacation Destination & Have Never Looked Back

While in graduate school (after my children were launched) – (yes, I am old as dirt – one of those annoying Babyboomers who litter the landscape), I decided to move to the beach where I had the romantic notion I would finish my dissertation in peace and tranquility.

Well, after three years of writing, I threw in the towel, but I have never looked back from making the move, even though my course subsequently changed so dramatically. Previously, I had lived in suburbia – never my intention, but once there, it seemed important to raise my family in one neighborhood in an attempt to provide roots through continuity. I truly feel suburbia is a stiffling dead-end in more ways than one (the subject for another blog rant), but the wonderful thing about where I live now is there is no part of Santa Cruz County that is truly suburbia (well, there are a few neighborhoods that might count, but the preponderance of homes are very individual and unique). That is one of the key features I love about Santa Cruz.

It is very cool to live in what used to be your vacation destination. Santa Cruz County has so many wonders I’d have to be six people to do all of the interesting things there are to do. It’s so nice to be able to easily make every walk a walk on the beach. These days I favor East Cliff Drive, just above The Hook and Pleasure Point. On those days where life gets the best of you, seeing the vastness and beauty of the ocean puts everything into perspective. And the rhythm of the waves and salt air are not just cliches – the combination is just magic in terms of a relaxation elixer.

Living in such a beautiful place makes me wonder why anyone would settle for less or live in areas that are not aesthetically pleasing, if they have the means to live elsewhere. I am sure there are a million reasons ranging from family roots, to job accessibility to obliviousness to one’s environment. I could never go back to suburbia (never say never, but I MEAN it!). I love the diversity and beauty of Santa Cruz County. debryman.com