This morning I came across some thoughts I wrote back in April 2019 about life in Fresno. It was a time when I was visiting Fresno a lot but did not see myself living here. Even though I never shared those thoughts publicly, I ended my note with the words, “ I am not moving to Fresno.”
It always fascinates me to read my thoughts and see the limitations I was setting for myself. Reading past notes also helps me see how my perspective changes over time and how life circumstances can fundamentally change how I see life.
Back then, I saw Fresno as this place where I could not possibly learn and grow. I thought that evolving happens in cities like San Francisco, where you meet people from different parts of the world and have endless opportunities to connect, share and learn from others.
I was ignorant. I was stubborn. I said again and again that I would not move to Fresno. The only thing I knew about Fresno is that it is an agricultural town in the middle of San Joaquin Valley and that nothing much happens here.
But then, the pandemic came, and everything went upside down. I was working remotely, going to school remotely, and suddenly, paying so much money to live in the Bay Area did not make much sense anymore. That is how in March 2020, I found myself packing my stuff and driving to Fresno. I was moving to the city that I rejected for so long.
During the first few months, given that we were living in a pandemic, nothing much happened in Fresno. Summers were extremely hot, winters very cold, and there was not much that one could do during those few months. But somehow, I felt lucky and privileged to have a warm and comfortable home.
Over time, I started to meet people and listen to their stories, and I realized that most Fresnians live their lives peacefully. Not being surrounded by skyscrapers or bridges over the water does not make people unhappy. What makes people unhappy is not being able to live up to their dream. For many Fresnians, buying a house and starting a family or a business is more achievable in Fresno than living in a place that has many attractions to offer but lacks financial security.
It took me almost three years to understand why life brought me to Fresno. I needed to be in this place for a specific reason, and it is only now that I understand why I am here. Only when I accepted my surroundings, I started to appreciate the amazing community of yogis I found in this place. I’ve learned to deepen my daily practice, and to get curious about the infinite ways of living my life. I learned to slow down and listen to my thoughts. I learned to make the best of what life throws at me and accept the here and now. I’ve learned to acknowledge what I am feeling and deal with those feelings rather than hiding them.
In the end, it does not matter where you live. What matters is the connections you create with the people in your life. The contributions you bring into other people’s lives.