I will be the first to admit that I often undersell my hometown, sarcastically stating it’s motto “Welcome to Awesometown” instead of all the great food recommendations you can’t find anywhere else (Dink’s Deli. Do. It.). But the thing I always forget when I’m rattling off all of Valencia’s quirks is the one thing that makes it better than any other place: It’s home to my family.
The last couple weeks have wavered between attempting to hit a restart button and sitting within the confines of a rut. Coming home from New York and then quickly traveling to Sacramento, I haven’t quite settled back into my writing/workout/hangout routine. Sure, I could do ANYTHING with the few hours I have after work, but what usually happens is me contemplating life’s biggest questions, which in turn overwhelm me, and send me scrambling to find another ice tea and bowl of cookie dough to devour. It’s not a pretty site. Like my dad, I’m not very good at doing nothing and yet when it comes to doing things that actually matter — setting up a running routine, working on Voices, finishing a freelance article — the smaller, more achievable items on my to-do list start to take priority and everything else gets pushed to the bottom.
The cure I’ve come to realize more and more is going home to the quiet suburbs of Valencia, toasting a beer with my parents, sitting in front of a fire, and just being. In college, my idea of being an independent adult was not needing to go home but being able to take care of my life on my own. Now, I still believe it’s important to be independent but have come to appreciate having a close family that at the end of the day is only 30 minutes away. That means having someone close enough to take you to the doctor when you’re sick, come over for dinner regularly, and surprise you and your cats with visits during the week. My family is the restart button that helps me realize what’s going on in my brain and what the next step is to fixing it.
After the tastiest homemade tamale night and watching Young Frankenstein with my parents in front of the fire, I finally feel ready to start checking everything off my to-do list. Voices, window box maintenance, Christmas presents, trip planning, the Daily Dot — cheers to making it all happen. And double cheers to having a fridge full of tamales for those late nights and hard deadlines.