I’ve been housesitting all over Colorado this summer. Mostly in Denver, not enough time in Boulder, and too much time in Arvada. I like trying on different lives. It helps me envision my ideal life by understanding what brings me joy in each place. How do you know what you’re trying to create for yourself if you don’t know the options?
One of the places I house-sat in Boulder was the epitome of creature comforts. A big house two blocks from incredible hiking trails, a car I could use and the best dog anyone has ever had for company.
It’s easy to be happy when this is your scenery in your quest for 10,000 steps.
A light breeze coming in occasionally as a reminder of the Universe’s love, precious Vitamin D, and a dog who can walk mostly off leash as a happy and eager walking buddy. And then you come home to a bright, clean, uncluttered and soothing place. The temperature never goes below 68 degrees and never goes above 75 degrees. The lights dim automatically when you’ve decided to watch Stranger Things on Netflix (A cross between The X-Files and Goonies? You had me at The X-Files.) Outside, you write on the patio, read in the hammock, snack on the raspberry bushes and end each night in the hot tub staring at the stars in awe, grateful for your place in the universe.
It’s easy to be happy with these creature comforts and living here made me rethink my life a bit. The lure of luxury and easy happiness. Giant houses let you store your stuff without feeling cramped and cluttered. A weekly cleaning service and lawn service gives an undeniable freshness about the place. Cars are heart-wrenchingly convenient. And the view! Could you ever get tired of this view?
I always think of myself as a city person, but I can’t deny how nourishing walking in nature is. I always think of myself as a cat person, but Rex has one of the best souls I’ve ever come across.
Luxury. I have enough money to be happy, but I don’t have enough money for this type of easy happiness. Boulder is expensive because there’s not much space. It’s a giant bubble walled in on the west by the mountains and on the east by mandatory open spaces.
It’s a happy bubble though. A very happy bubble.
The other end of the spectrum for me was a house-sit in Arvada. Arvada is a suburb between Boulder and Denver. The place was sunny and the cat was affectionately scratchy, licking your armpit for as long as you would let her. There was a small lake nearby that satisfied my daily walks, but the happiness never came easily here.
After having access to a car I could drive in Boulder, I started to understand again why everyone loves this method of transportation so much. They are so freaking convenient. Convenience on steroids. I didn’t have a car during my stint in Arvada and needed public transportation for Operation Enjoy the Crap Out of Denver. It always took well over an hour to see any of the friends I made in Denver or Boulder and the walking portions of my journey relied on rather obnoxious and large roads. The other options were a not-that-cheap Uber/Lyft or getting rides from kind friends. I totally get the appeal of a car in the suburbs. I don’t get the appeal of the suburbs.
During my first three months in Colorado, I went out every single day per the rules of Operation Enjoy save for twelve. Eight of those days came from my few weeks in Arvada. I found it so much easier to give in to the introversion and laziness in the suburbs.
I don’t think I’ve put enough stock in the value of beauty. It is much more pleasant to look out the window and see a garden or a mountain or a lake than a highway and a parking lot.
And then there was Denver, the city where I spent the majority of my time. A place that nestled into my heart. It’s easy to be happy here too. Easy to bike around. Easy to make friends. You can have chickens in your backyard and gorge on fresh eggs. It’s sunny and laid-back. Snow doesn’t stand a chance and quickly disappears. Nonexistent humidity and few mosquitoes are a lovely perk. It’s an undiscovered gem of a place that everyone is quickly discovering.
It’s a big city, so it has everything and there’s always something to do. The place feels vibrant, optimistic and alive. I think it’s the sun. She shines 300 days a year, so I don’t feel the urge to go somewhere else looking for her.
*A happy note about housesitting: every single place I housesat for in Colorado has asked me to come back. The more housesits I do, the more people reach out based on referrals. The more houesits I do, the bigger a fan I become.