Three years ago I was working in downtown Chicago, one of the greatest cities in the world, and I was tired and life felt flat.
When I first started the position the idea of commuting to the city and running a museum felt like a pinnacle to climb–and it was. I started the position in October and at first, the commute via train was exciting and walking in the city was invigorating. But soon I noticed that no one on the train or the city talked to each other, or even made eye contact. Everyone wore gray or black. No one seemed excited about going to work and as the winter roared in, neither was I.
Winter in midwest is long and gloomy, but the city with its wind tunnels and lack of light due to tall buildings can make winter twice as hard, and twice as long.
As I began to realize that I had joined the army of workers pouring from the train each morning, set upon my grim journey to work, I knew something had to change. The next day when I got off the train I saw the most beautiful photo of a canyon bathed in sunlight, several hundred feet later a photo of a mountain meadow. I stopped, dead in my tracks, to enjoy the beauty and saw a simple tagline–Colorado, Come to Life.
I began to see these ads everywhere. When I drove into work, just as I was making the turn off the expressway after a two-hour commute, I saw a waterfall encompassing the entire side of a building.
Each ad had a different message.
- Horizons are not boundaries.
- This is a world worth exploring.
- Some things happen exactly once.
- Hold on to your willingness to be awed.
- We no longer need to seek permission.
- We are meant to wander in wonder.
See what I mean. These were messages not from Colorado Tourism, but from the universe. They took my breath away and made me feel hopeful.
The message was bigger than visit Colorado, it was telling me I needed to make big decisions that would make me feel alive and vibrant. Although it took another year before I started making big decisions which led to my past year of wandering, traveling and gathering experiences while shedding stuff.
To my surprise, I ended up in Colorado, where you never see this ad, because you don’t need to. The natural beauty surrounds you and is so accessible. The winters mild–you visit in winter in the mountains. Art and culture are important and no one dresses in the gray uniform of the midwestern winter. And now the pinnacles I climb are actual, not metaphorical.
I have come to life and am training myself to live in the present moment. To say yes to experiences and no to gathering things. I’ve let go and found abundance surrounds me.
To those who developed this campaign, @KarshHagan, who chose where to place the ads, I thank you. I’ve come to my life.
Photo by Mike Scheid on Unsplash