It took me about two days to snap back into my Santa Cruz persona when I was on vacation there. And then it felt like I never left. What's so different about Santa Cruz, you might ask?
It comes down to optimism.
I don't know if it's because it's so sunny, because the climate is so mild, because the fresh ocean breezes blow the cobwebs out of people's brains, because of the influence of the University in town, or because it is a hippie destination...but there is a strong feeling of optimism in that town - at least among the people I know.
Santa Cruzans expect the best of people. They love change. They love new ideas. They throw themselves whole-heartedly into concepts like fairness, equality, sharing, prosperity, and open-ness, and they expect everyone else to do the same. Santa Cruz has health-food stores galore, and way more than its fair share of acupuncturists, chiropractors and herbalists. People radiate health in that town. It's uncanny.
It's impossible (for me, at least) to be around that kind of unbridled enthusiasm for life without being swept away by it all. Suddenly I wasn't the only one talking about sustainability, simplicity, or growing vegetables during the winter months. I was among friends...among my "peeps".
Thank God. I needed that more than I even knew. Because it's easy to be positive when you're around positive people. It's easy to be creative around other creative thinkers. I spent nine days soaking it up and now here I am, full to the brim again. Maybe this time I can remember the feeling of being surrounded by like-thinkers and resist the temptation to fall back into the laziness of negativity. I'm sure going to try.