Northbound: Spring Cleaning

Spring is here! And not a moment too soon.

All around my neighborhood in Carlsbad, I see neighbors working on home improvement projects. Cleaning out garages and landscaping front yards. Many of us expected the worst this winter with El Nino storms, and put our fix-it plans on hold until we were in the clear. Weekend warriors are back in full force.

The sun feels a little brighter. Flowers are in bloom. Easter colors will be streaming through North County, as families will be out enjoying church services, Easter egg hunts and Sunday brunches.

At this time, I would usually be celebrating with my family. As a kid, I always enjoyed waking up to find my Easter basket filled with candy and toys from my parents and grandparents. My Mom and Dad would organize an Easter egg hunt afterward for my older sister and I in our big backyard, at the house I grew up in in Northern California. We’d enjoy spiral ham, mashed potatoes, and assorted greens for dinner.

I attended Catholic schools growing up, and we’d celebrate Holy Week with a range of fun activities. I can still remember every student making papier-mâché flowers, and fastening them into a large cross, wrapped in chicken wire, using pipe cleaners. Along with religious observances, like the Stations of the Cross, we’d have a free dress day, and maybe watch a film in class. It was a time to celebrate the Resurrection and being Catholic.

In North County, I am still reconciling the world I grew up in with the one I now reside. Many times, the ends can’t be tied together, no matter how hard I try. I know I’m blessed to live here, despite challenges, and coming back to Carlsbad every day is a source of pride and peace for me. Some days I feel the warmth of God’s love, familiarity, happiness. Other days, those things are elusive. They just are.

Easter, like spring, is about rebirth and the promise of a new day. Maybe some moments we cherish in our lives can’t be remade, but each day is a chance for a new beginning. That’s a choice we have to take — it won’t be given to us. Progress may be incremental, but each day will be a bit better than the last.

This spring, take a moment each day to bring a little bit of happiness into your world. Share good thoughts with friends and loved ones. Make connections and build relationships. Think positive, be optimistic, and focus on what we have here in North County, not what we lack. Every day, we can awaken our spirit to the goodness that endures, and be reborn.

Vince Vasquez is a think tank analyst based in Torrey Pines. He is a Carlsbad resident.

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