I’ve lived most of my life in Fresno, Ca, in fact, I’ve lived most of my life on the same square block. It’s a sad fact for me to admit, but it’s the truth. I say it’s because my family is here, and that is a big reason. I say it’s because it’s so cheap to live here, and that doesn’t hurt. I say I’ve tried to get out and it keeps drawing me back, and on some level that’s true, but the reality is, it’s comfortable.
Everything about Fresno is built for comfort. No matter where you are in town you are two miles from a Target. There are a total of 5 in the city. No matter where you go in the city you are 1.5 miles from a Starbucks (give or take). Most of which you don’t have to leave the comfort of your car to enjoy. Everything about this city is built for two things: comfort and convenience. While those things are nice and have a certain appeal, lately I’ve been thinking, Is that really all there is? Is that really the goal of a city or a group of people? Of life? Comfort and convenience.
I refuse to be one of those people that lives in Fresno and bags on it like crazy, but I can also put aside my idealistic tendencies and look at it honestly. Fresno doesn’t have the greatest rep. Though there are tiny portions that are lovely, for the most part it’s a box ville of chain stores. Chain stores I’m embarrassed to admit, that I adore. ( As you know I love me some TJ Maxx.) However, there is a downfall to all this comfort and convenience. Comfort and convenience almost always produce mediocrity and mediocrity is what we have producing for some time. It’s what we’ve been settling for. Heck I’ve settled for it. Some where along the line mediocrity speaks to you and convinces you that you are safe, that you are comfortable (which you are) and then it lies to you and tells you that that’s really all one can ask for. I’m refusing to believe that’s the truth.
I’m refusing to believe comfort, convenience and mediocrity are all that life has to offer. Are all that one can hope for. I have let myself be convinced, for too long, that my comfort is what’s important, but it’s not. In fact comfort, almost never, produces excellence, or the extraordinary.
So what does this mean? I don’t know yet, but I’m excited. Excited to learn beyond my horizons. To challenge myself to make my life less convenient and more meaningful. To manage my time differently. To pursue what excites with fervor.
The older I get the more I’m learning, maturity and growth are about learning to be fearless. That’s the secret behind any great art. Not great technique or planning, but being willing to risk failure. Being willing to not be afraid to fail and whatever it is you’re trying to create. I think it’s the secret to living an extraordinary life as well.
Fresno, hear my call, abandon the numbing comfort we’ve all become accustomed to and embrace something unexpected. Someone suggested that we should change Fresno’s name in an article in the Fresno Bee once. The author claimed that the reputation has been so badly blasted in the media that this was the only way to change the nation and the world’s notions about Fresno. An interesting notion, but a flawed one. If we change the name, but fail to change the people or the city, the world will not be fooled. I’d rather change us. I’d rather inspire us to be more and sit back and watch as the world notices a group of people truly living.