How high is up?
Livin' the Dream
August 6, 2022
Are you "Living Up?"
Tehachapi – Live Up is, of course, the city slogan as of a few years ago.
People tend to be surprised that such an elegant elevation exists between the Bakersfield and Mojave flats, so we want to remind them they'd be "living up" in the mountains if they chose Tehachapi as their forever home.
Some prospective newbies like the idea that Living Up also means upwardly mobile, but isn't that for people who are climbing the corporate ladder? Didn't we put all that away with buzzwords like synergy? Isn't the new ambitious trajectory (with a job or your life) aligned with who you are as a person, so you don't work a day in your life because it doesn't feel like work?
Sometimes. GOOD work if you can get it, and we all should Get Up On That. But if mere ego ambition is what people brought with them, I don't think they'll keep it very long as they settle into our prized country life ... like these lyrics from "Rocky Mountain High" by John Denver:
Now he walks in quiet solitude the forests
and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes
His sight has turned inside himself to try
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake
Living Up – to me – means living your best life. Living Up to the best I expect in myself. Not because I have to, or because I'm following someone else's rules, but because I want to. It only has to make sense to me.
It means I question things, large and small. I ask the big questions, like "Why am I here?" as well as the little ones, like "Are these strawberries safe to eat?"
So, the question, "how high is up," might also be restated as: "How hard is happy?"
How UP do I need to be to be happy?
If you got a new well this year, you'll be quite happy. A new herd of cows or a gaggle of geese might also bring you warmth.
Being involved with a cause will bring community into your life. Investing time into your family will reap rewards that can't be clocked, but you feel them in your heart, as will your children and family members.
Even downsizing can be Living Up if you're overall happier and more at peace. As John Denver said in "Thank God, I'm a Country Boy:"
Well, a simple kinda life never did me no harm
A raisin' me a family and workin' on the farm
My days are all filled with an easy
Thank God I'm a country boy
Well, I got me a fine wife I got me an ol' fiddle
When the sun's comin' up,
I got cakes on the griddle
And life ain't nothin' but a funny funny riddle
Thank God I'm a country boy
Life ain't nothin' but a funny funny riddle? Sounds like John Denver figured out some of the big questions on his own. Pretty good for a sly ol' country boy. (He also wrote the sublime line "The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullaby.")
What does LIVING UP mean to you?
So, whether you go to UP.com (Union Pacific's cams showing our famous looping trains), or you go into downtown to see what's UP, you'll meet people in different phases of their Up-ness. And just like I believe in this country's resilience, so too I believe in the core culture of Tehachapi: you can be and do whatever you want – a few zoning regulations notwithstanding – to live your freest and best life.
I think "Tehachapi – Live Up" says, "We have the will and ability to help you reach your goals for living."
To me that means, "we'll meet you halfway – if you want to move up in your life, we support that kind of energy."
Well, I intend to meet that MORE than halfway. The word came from the Kawaiisu: word Tihachipia, meaning "hard climb."
I've had a few hard climbs, like the most life-experienced among us have – but I'm better for it because I had to give up a lot of "city ways" if you will. I'm grateful I did, because now, "My days are all filled with an easy country charm."
To me, that's living it up.