Sunsets over saguaros, seventy-something winters, unbeatable mole, and some phenomenal people—these are a few of my favorite things about Tucson.
YOU HAVE YOUR OWN LIST, SURELY.
But today we want to take a break from celebrating specific things we love about our city and consider a different kind of why. You may have heard the story of how Why I Love Where I Live started: Kristin, discontented and dreaming of other lands, committed herself to a discipline of gratitude. She didn’t start with a long list of likes, but a decision to develop a deeper affection for her city. It didn’t take long for her “why” list to grow into a family of four, a thriving community, and countless experiences that transformed a simple discipline into a dynamic love for the place her and her family call home.
Whether Tucson is your hometown or you’re new to the Southwest- there is always more to explore- more reasons to love where you live. And we’re here to help you do just that! But it’s important to take time to consider your personal why. Those intrinsic motivations that drive you to love your neighborhood well. Our hope is that we partake in the goodness of Tucson, to breathe in its beauty. We want you to like Tucson, but we also want you to love it; love in the sacrificial, creative, life-giving sense of the word. And for that we need a good sense of our why.
Does your why start with a commitment to love your neighbor as yourself? Is it a desire to create the community that you desperately crave? A nagging sense of injustice that drives you to strive for a better way? Is it your desire to carry on the legacy of your family or culture that is being threatened in our ever-changing world? Maybe it’s the pure giggle of your pre-schooler as you stroll down your street? Becoming more aware of our motivations will help sustain us through the highs and lows of intentionally sinking roots a bit deeper.
This awareness can be the key to unlocking our imaginations. Imagination is not reserved for Disney movies or children’s make-believe, but is a compelling force that has power to create something new. It is seeing beyond the way things seem to be. A favorite quote by Mark Twain says, “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” The best innovators, creators, and lovers all rely on this way of seeing. Contemplation is the first step to permitting our mind’s eye to explore the possibilities of what life could be.
Lucky for us Tucson is a place that welcomes contemplation. Perhaps it’s the lack of intersecting freeways or the sprawl of the city limits, but there is a palpable calm in the air, a slower pace of life reflective of the steady, resilience of desert growth; starry skies summoning us to consider, mountain faces smiling at our pause, centuries of history inviting us into a story bigger than ourselves; a story as big as our endless blue skies.
A symbiotic relationship exists between us and the places we inhabit.
As the adaptable Churchill quote goes: we shape our spaces and those spaces, in turn, shape us. This is true in the more intimate spheres of our homes and offices and on a grander scale in the social and physical fabrics of our city. This happens whether we are aware of it or not. We’ll always be participating in this process. The goal is to become more engaged participants rather than passive ones. Imagine how asking intentional questions can transform our hobbies, families, work, civic engagement, and beyond. Join me in accepting the challenge to rethink our why and allow that to lead us into a deeper love for where we live.
One way we hope to spur on this process is through this new blog. In addition to posts like these that get us thinking about our part in placemaking, we will also be regularly highlighting local businesses. We’re excited to have a space to look more intently at what is unique about organizations across Tucson that have taken up the call to care for their community.
Written by Teena Dare
Teena lives in Tucson, Arizona and loves to capture the passions of others with words.