I arrived in Tucson last Thursday prepared for another arrival in which I’d share a night with the homeowner. When I drove through the city limits I immediately felt something utterly strange.
I felt comfortable.
It was the first time in my adult life I remember feeling so at ease in my own skin.
When I drove into the neighborhood I saw it was deeply contrasted from the pomp and circumstance of my Orange County, CA arrival. This Tucson hood was a more simple place, and it felt way more welcoming.
I parked in front of the house and walked up to the door. I was surprised to see a woman of 70+ years opening it. This is the homeowner?, I thought to myself as I calculated the size of the dog, her living alone, and her being on a house sitter website at all. I caught myself going into an act to try to charm her, and I immediately stopped myself.
When I stepped into the kitchen and looked about the modest home, I initially felt disappointment. Shortly thereafter, after dropping the act for a moment, the disappointment started to morph into another sensation I hadn’t felt in my adult life.
I felt at home.
We walked to the backyard of the house, and I noticed a sense of recognition. Tucson reminded me a great deal of San Antonio, and the backyard brought back memories of my time there. I wouldn’t say I necessarily had visual memories flood me, but more I remembered the energy I felt while living in San Antonio. I also saw how very far away from myself I was at that time in my life, and I extended gratitude for the opportunity to find my way back.
As I walked with the homeowner about the house I watched her feed the dog, water the plants, and maintain the home, all the while taking my usual mental notes. I also cracked my usual jokes, and once again put on my usual charms; none of which she responded to. Not a single one. Instead she stayed in her own energy and went about her chores, explaining everything to me as she went.
I watched her with her dog. Her energy was completely calm, and the dog incredibly loving and responsive. There were no worries about his behavior or concerns about his habits. Instead it was just two beings who cared for each other living together; a deeply beautiful sight to witness.
When we went to the front of her house her neighbor was putting out more Halloween decorations. He greeted me amicably from his yard, then walked over. The three of us chatted for a bit, and the neighbor invited me to the Halloween block party he and his wife throw every year. It was more than a warm welcome. It truly felt like a homecoming event.
There was no grand dinner or cocktail event that night. It was simply me and the homeowner sitting in the living room with her dog talking and watching the news. I asked her about herself; where she was from, where she was going, what she was doing here in Tucson, and I learned so many interesting facts I fear I can’t share them all.
For example, I learned she once taught on a Navajo reservation where she lived for 11 years. I learned she lived in this current house for 36 years (NOTE: my age), and that she used to teach business at the community college nearby. I also learned that this time each year she goes with a surveying team to a state park in the desert where they record Native American petroglyphs for the park record books; something she has been doing since the 70s.
I sat and listened in awe and reverence. For what I saw before me was a self-actualized individual living her best life. Yes, I was in the presence of someone who had architected their best life, and when I realized this, I saw in her a potential future Self.
I immediately realized why the universe had brought me here to Tucson; to take in her energy, her life, her example, and to drop the act. I know I’m meant to keep from my observations what works for me and discard what doesn’t. Her example is the clear next one needed to help me architect my own best life.
It’s safe to say her energy has stayed with me over the past week, and I continue to examine all aspects of it.
Despite these profound interactions, I have made some time for adventuring and sightseeing. Not only was I able to find some coffee:
… BUT the homeowner also left me her membership card to the Sonora Desert Museum! Here are a few shots from my walk around there:
I also made my way down to the famous San Xavier Mission:
So, it hasn’t been all work and no play. Though, one thing is for sure. Whatever it is I’m doing out here on the road is working. How do I know? Well, to feel a comfort within myself that I haven’t felt in over 30 years, that’s something to me.
In fact, that’s what this whole adventure is about.
4 comments on “Feels Like Coming Home”
How wonderful. Great insights and photos. Tucson has been a star on our travel map for awhile. We enjoyed reading this entry aloud as we drove back from a Cambria Hike and Visit.
Thanks for reading (and for describing the context… I was picturing the scene 🙂 )! I also was thinking of you both as I explored because there are tons of cyclists and outdoors lovers here. I made the joke to myself that I hope Mark “remembers to bring that part I can’t remember the name of when they visit.” haha.