Sunday, September 9, 2012

Another Pleasantville Day in Denver

Even the dogs are extra happy here

Denver, CO is a hug of a city.  With over 300 days of happy, sunny days per year, people seem to float through life in this town.  Nobody is moving too quickly whether by bike, car, or foot, it's not unusual for bars and breweries to be packed after 3 pm on any given day, and even the homeless people that fill the city seem to be happily getting on with their lives.  Money is spent on hiking boots and camping gear, epic seasonal ski passes, and shopping sprees to REI.  There is never a lack of social gatherings and the people are friendly to a point where it is a tad bizarre.  Yes, Denver is a cozy, humming, merry city that has welcomed me with open arms.  It is a rare case in the US that people have a work-to-live mentality that is quite contrary to most other major cities in the country.

With all of this said, my wanderlust, inquisitive self has to wonder, what's the catch?  Life appears so easy and pleasant here that it leaves little to be challenged.  As I cycled through the park from my lovely home to this mellow coffee shop just blocks away, people walking their dogs and engaging in Sunday afternoon chit-chat, I couldn't help but get a vibe of Pleasantville.  So why do people live in places like Manhattan, London, Miami, LA... Why do people cram into busy cities, deal with climactic challenges, work around the clock, and face ugly commutes?  Maybe because this seemingly "hard life" lends itself to an opportunity for growth and a sense of accomplishment.  A year ago I was hopping from metro to metro, dealing with my tiny, old, street facing apartment in Madrid and living a very different kind of life that was fabulous in an entirely different way.

Work accompanied by a local craft beer, straight from the office keg.

This question that has been introduced into my reality does not include a clear answer yet.  Maybe Denver is on to something.  Maybe this attitude about life takes a certain edge off that we as humans need to be able to relax and enjoy.  For now I am enjoying my hug, embracing this wonderfully easygoing lifestyle.  With weekends full of mountain hikes, camping trips, and music festivals, and the stresses of the work day ending promptly at 5 o'clock to take advantage of countless happy hour options, I am not complaining.  My desire for things like competition, struggling through the unfamiliar, being a stranger to a new land, still keeps a part of me dreaming of a future departure, but for this moment it works.  We should all have a license to be this pleasantly content, even if it is just for a snapshot in time and at the expense of some level of inner growth.  It's hard to argue life in Pleasantville.