Originally, I was going to write about one of my favorite quick meals to be found in midtown Tucson for under $10, the Tempeh BLT sandwich and a 16 oz. cup of Conspiracy Roast coffee (pictured above) at the Food Conspiracy Co-op on 4th Avenue.
As usual, Tucson had a different idea.
While I was groggily filling up my coffee cup, the woman next to me offered a cheery, “Good morning!” and I found myself wrapped up in a 45 minute conversation about Tucson, methods on achieving our lofty career aspirations and ultimately how to live a happy life.
Jawana Cox moved to Tucson two years ago after living in Alaska, Colorado and Virginia, and has been trying to get her holistic healing business off the ground while her husband finishes up his accounting degree. She has been tirelessly researching how to use LinkedIn, Instagram and other types of social media and watching webinars on small businesses for guidance on how promote hers, Wholesome Touch for Health, effectively.
Next on her list of things to do is teaching a series of four classes at the Food Conspiracy Co-op each Saturday in May about four interwoven topics from medicinal herb and essential oil use to removing stress from busy lives.
As the minutes ticked by and groceries were picked out around us, our conversation shifted from how we’re actively pursuing our careers to how we think about them.
Jawana spoke to me about the negativity she sees everywhere and how important it is to find what it is that makes you yourself and embrace it, to find your spirituality and to immerse yourself in positivity instead.
As a senior at the UA with graduation on the precipice in December, these are all questions and ideas I’m confronted with every day from a very one-sided perspective within that insulated bubble of college living.
Everyone on the UA campus tells me that there aren’t any jobs in Tucson, especially not in photography. They tell me that if I want to get a job, I’ve got to move to wherever the job is. As far as they’re concerned, Tucson is not an option for me.
The fact that Tucson and all of the kind, friendly people who live here and have completely stolen my heart seems to be lost on them.
Every day when I look out at those purple Catalinas, at the palm trees, at the colorful little buildings dotting every street, when a stranger simply walking past me says good morning for no reason other than genuine friendliness, when I can’t go anywhere without greeting someone I’ve met through some piece of journalism I’ve done—I feel like I’m home, like this is the place where I belong.
Like Jawana said, every city “has it’s own flavor” and I don’t think there’s any other place in the world that’s quite like Tucson.
Sure, some woman I randomly meet in a grocery store isn’t a career advisor or a seasoned professional in the industry of journalism, but she’s a person who’s chasing her dreams and believes that others can succeed if they work hard enough and really, from the bottom of their hearts, want it.
It was such a breath of fresh air to talk with someone about my love for Tucson and desire to stay here and for once not get a disapproving look coupled with a few shakes of the head.
All I was looking for this morning was a nice cup of coffee and a sandwich. I was successful in that endeavor, but I also just stumbled upon this huge outpouring of support from someone who has no reason to care about my life or believe in me, but chose to anyway, which is emblematic of my experience in this little desert mountain town outside of my college campus.
Staying in Tucson is not the easy path to take and I know that. But a little voice in the back of my head keeps calling out to me, reminding me of that old saying, “Nothing worth having comes easy.”