Control what you can

I used to be really good at convincing myself I was a fly rod away from happiness. If it wasn’t a fly rod, or some other piece of outdoor equipment, it was a location that was more conducive to what I loved to do for fun. A friend reminded me that it wasn’t a location’s fault if I felt unhappy. It wasn’t the job of the place to meet my expectations. I worked on that because I liked the idea of being in control of my own level of happiness.

You can look at the lists of best places to live in the country and move there expecting your life to improve. But if you don’t improve, it doesn’t matter what the city has to offer.

A city just is, it’s a state of being verb. The adjectives, adverbs and action verbs are up to you.

It’s the gym principle. Buying a membership in no way guarantees you’ll get healthy or even go. You’ll want to make the most of it, but unless you take advantages of opportunities to fortify the habit, in a month or two, you’re paying, but you’re not really a member.

The point is, it doesn’t matter where you live, or where you move, if you suck, you suck.

There’s nothing wrong with coming to that conclusion. You can’t change or fix anything if you don’t admit something is wrong or at least take on the new adventure with a productive mindset. My attitude about where I lived in California sucked. I changed it and was happier. I still ended up moving, but my last four years were great.

I moved to Alaska knowing there are endless outdoor opportunities, but knew also that there will be periods of rain and darkness. So, I’d have to make a choice about how I’d handle that. It’s not always easy, but really, I’m in charge of my attitude, not the weather, not the location or any other variables.

Treat the cause and not just the symptoms, and you might not need to dream about living where a magazine says you should. If you do end up moving you’ll be able to live the brochure, not be miserable in an interesting new place.

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