In 2004, I worked as a night time producer and deejay at Mix 100.3 FM in Denver. My shift was 7pm-midnight. Every evening I greeted my newlywed wife at the door from her day of work, had a quick dinner, and began my 45-minute commute downtown.
I would race up Kipling Parkway to Highway 6. By October the darkness arrives early, and it would be pitch black by the time I left. A snappy chill would hit my face on the way out the door, and the night sky around the streetlights would be full of the frosty haze that gathers in the Colorado winter months, threatening to blanket you in snow at any moment.
There’s something about the cold winter darkness that makes me contemplative, and as I drove I’d stare past the oncoming headlights into the beautiful houses that lined the hills above the road. They were too far away to see anything inside except the warm glow of lamps and the flicker of televisions, but that was enough for me to envision having a house of my own, and the happiness it would bring.
“If I had a house,” I reasoned, “I would be making enough money and wouldn’t have to work a crappy nightshift.” Radio station = cool. But night shifts… not so much. “If I had a house, I would sit at home with my wife, and someday, family, and enjoy such a pleasant evening. I would work the hours that ‘normal people’ do, and it would be glorious.”
Eventually I shifted to working day hours at the station, and it was glorious… for awhile. Then I grew tired of that. And then I got laid off; try as I might, I couldn’t outrun corporate budget cuts at the station. And then I wasn’t able find a new job to save my ever-loving soul. Colorado began to be the problem.
“If I could only find a job in California,” I thought, “THEN life would be amazing. I’d be near the beach, the mountains, and Mickey! What’s not to love?”
Well, it’s been just over three years since we moved to Southern California, and during that time I’ve learned something.
The grass ain’t greener over here.
In fact, it’s never greener anywhere.
Our first year in California was one of the most difficult years of our lives. But somehow, through that experience we changed our mindsets. I changed my mindset.
I decided that I could paint my grass.
People do that you know. The lawn around me could be as green as I wanted it to be.
It’s easy to find cons, to see downsides. Learning to find contentment and happiness is so much harder.
But it makes life so much better.
“Be happy. Talk happiness. Happiness calls out responsive gladness in others. There is enough sadness in the world without yours.” — Helen Keller
2011: Year In Review by Josh Allan Dykstra on January 4th, 2012
Rushing Through Life Is A Form Of Violence by Josh Allan Dykstra on March 18th, 2013
Patrick Pichette's Retirement & Two Terrible Choices by Josh Allan Dykstra on March 13th, 2015