Do you ever get a short, sudden feeling of complacency because you feel like your life has come full-circle? That’s how I felt this weekend. Being immersed in the California desert, surrounded by unconquerable mountains under a scorching sun and iridescent sky reminded of me of how the universe conspires to get people to where they desire to be.
I went to Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival this past weekend and it’s been one of the best weekends in my entire life for reasons I can’t simply explain. It’s a collective effort of the dry grass brushing against my feet, the cool winds that pressed against my wet hair, the sweet voices of my favorite bands and their crafted beats and the sweat between palms intertwined with old and new friends.
But living minimally in an escapist’s oasis is not merely the reason for the euphoria I felt being there. It was the fact that I’ve dreamed about attending this since I was only fourteen, back when I listened to my angst-y teenage playlist that ended up manifesting itself into 2011’s lineup. It was The Black Keys and Arcade Fire, Mumford and Sons and Neon Trees, Kanye and Erykah Badu that made me wish I could hop into my dad’s 1988 corolla and drive myself to a refugee camp of like-minded youth with similar tastes. I wanted Luke Steele to make me feel alive the Strokes to remind me that I only live once. But I couldn’t. And after years of wishing I could afford my own ticket or know how to drive or make my own choices, I was finally nineteen and I was in my prime to fulfill this teenage dream. And when I finally had enough money in my savings from high school graduation, eating ham and cheese sandwiches and working at the office an extra 15 minutes for two extra dollars a day, I bought a ticket.
But like all realistic stories, a conflict that had me contemplate between heart and mind had infiltrated my could-be fantasy life. A midterm that could define the rest of my undergraduate career (don’t take this lightly) landed on the same weekend. For those who know me, I take academics seriously, and making choices that could alter my report card and my future are choices I was not one to take. So during late nights studying to make sure the future me was going to prosper, my early-adolescent self was looming over me, transcending from his green bedroom to the 8th floor of the library. It was a moment of self-realization. If I couldn’t even accomplish an old dream, what makes me capable of achieving any new ones for the future.
And just like that, I made arrangements. With the help of friends who encouraged me to just live, I packed my Ford Explorer, took the midterm and journeyed through 6 hours of LA traffic, missing almost the entire friday of the festival.
If there was a word to describe something perfectly imperfect than that was this experience. Because even though I missed Sam Feldt or ASAP or Years and Years, making friends at the campsite and bathroom lines and dancing with strangers to my favorite songs made me forget that I missed anything at all. And as I lay in my sleeping bag and saw all my friends asleep after a long night, I thought about being in my old green bedroom and how happy my old self must be knowing he would finally be where he desired to be.
I guess the reason why I feel euphoric is because I felt like I crossed off a dusty goal on my bucket list. And when you’re nineteen, lost and feel unaccomplished most of the time, it feels good knowing you did something you once thought was just a midnight reverie. And as I ended my saturday night staring at the dark, endless sky to Guns n’ Roses, Luke Steele appeared and I was finally walking on the same dream.