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The 100-degree days and the half-hour minimum commute to anywhere was beginning to suck the life out of me. I’ve always said, “Life’s too short to be unhappy,” and although I’d never considered selling my Central California home before, I found myself entertaining the thought. I’d dreamed of living by the ocean since I was a kid but always figured it would happen “someday, when I could afford it” until one day I realized, “I may not be able to buy a home by the ocean, but I could always rent one.” So, despite the well-meaning opinions of family, friends, clients, and financial advisors, I decided to give in to my heart’s longing no matter how “irresponsible or crazy” it seemed and go for it!

Although California is blessed with many miles of beautiful coastline, not just any place would do for my new digs. I needed to find just the right beach town in which to hang my hat. I Googled a map of California and browsed my options. City after city, town after town, I checked them off one by one for being either too cold, too boring, too grungy, too big, too small, too stuffy, or too snobby.

Just when I thought I’d have to move out of the country (any other state was out of the question) I remembered San Diego! Both my sister and my grandmother had lived there for a time and I remembered thinking, on more than one occasion, “I wanna live there!” It was settled.

As chance would have it, an on-line job search in the area led me to the place I now call home. The web page read, “located in the heart of Encinitas, considered by many to be the hub of the body, mind, spirit community.” It sounded like just the sort of place I was looking for. “Enn-sin-ee-tas.” I said the name aloud. I liked the sound of it.

Turns out, my intuition was right. No sooner did I enter the city limits on 101, I knew this was where I belonged. I found a great place on D street, just a couple of blocks from the beach, and although the rent exceeded my previous mortgage payment by over $500, I said “you only live once” and scheduled the movers to deliver my stuff.

I’ve called many places my home before, but this time I really mean it. I love everything about this sea- side community and I can honestly say… EVERYTHING!! For starters, I love that I live in the Flower Capital of the World and that my town is host to three of the most unique landmarks I’ve ever seen. One being the giant lotus pillars of the Self- Realization Fellowship and the other two are cool houses that look like ships! I love that the town is rich with history and that I can catch a blockbuster movie in the most beautiful theatre I’ve ever been in, the La Paloma.

I love how everyone is so friendly here and that the main drag is littered with eco- and health-conscious stores and restaurants, most of which proudly display big blue A’s received from recent health inspections. I love that within minutes I can get a truly GIANT pizza at Manhattan’s, the best chocolate chip cookies ever at Leucadia Pizzeria, or get da kine kalua pig at Kealani’s, without leaving the mainland.

I love that there is a yoga studio, salon, or wellness center on virtually every corner and I love that on any given night I can catch some local entertainment in the Lumberyard or one of the many awesome coffee shops nearby.

It doesn’t stop there either! Not only do I love our beaches, I love the names of our beaches, I mean really... Swami’s?... Moonlight?... don’t they just sound awesome? I love the fact that even our garbage cans are pretty, all dolled up with hand-painted tiles from community members and local artists.

What I really love, and what shocks the heck out of me, is that I actually want to write my return address on my bills just because I’m so dang proud I live here. And that for the first time in my 37 years I have the desire to put a bumper sticker on my car, one of a black E, no less.

I could go on all day, but the last two things I will mention, probably because they’re my favorites: I love that my heart still leaps every time I catch a view of the ocean on my way home from somewhere and I love that my kids still thank me, on occasion, for moving here.

To sum it all up, when I was at a yoga class the other day and the teacher asked us to close our eyes and imagine ourselves in the place we’d most like to be, for once, it came easy because I was already there!

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