Posted: Tuesday, Nov 16th, 2021

By Visit Ventura

The Answer to Life’s Deepest Puzzles, Ventura-style

Life is an invitation to many inscrutable puzzles. Like how fitted sheets can never be folded, or why no one ever makes a long story short. Was a time you had to journey to a remote place with little oxygen, shave your head, and sit in an excruciatingly uncomfortable position for hours on end to achieve the whiff of an answer. Often, that answer was “my head is cold.”

Now all you have to do is read this.

Sit how you like. In Ventura we don’t make demands.

Why am I here?

If you’re reading this in Ventura, it’s because you’re wicked smart. If you’re reading this from some other zip code, come visit and attain wicked smart.

How can I achieve serenity?

Take a walk on the beach. Listen to the soft hiss of waves in dawn’s silence. Watch the rising sun spread itself, soft and orange, across the silken ocean. Take the same walk at midnight, diamond-bright stars circling overhead, waves still whispering. Serenity cares not for calendars or watches.

What is the meaning of life?

Licking chipotle tartar off your fingers while staring out at the ocean? Washing that down with an icy cold craft beverage? (Twice as Zen to answer a question with two questions).

Is bigger better?

Whale tale at the Islands
Photos provided by Island Packers

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. When it comes to Blue Whales and sunsets, yes. But the little things can’t be disregarded either; little traffic, little noise, little moments.

What’s the difference between sine and cosine?

Frankly, no one but your high school trigonometry teacher really cares. But you can grasp the beauty of curves by standing in front of City Hall and gazing down the lovely arc of California Street as it swoops to the sea.

Is free will real or just an illusion?

Walk down California Street from City Hall. At the beachfront promenade, trot down the steps, kick off your shoes, and wriggle your toes in the sand.

Or, if you don’t want to get your feet sandy, don’t.

Are there limits to human creativity?

Ventura avenue mural

Are there questions that are a waste of breath? Take a look at Ventura’s murals. Or maybe the rock art of Juan Manuel Cisneros. Or visit Bell Arts Factory on the first Friday of the month.

How did the band America come to write “Ventura Highway?”

Okay, maybe not a Sisyphean puzzle, but kind of a fun question and answer. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times in October of 2006, America member Dewey Bunnell said: “It was 1963 when I was in seventh grade, we got a flat tire and we’re standing on the side of the road and I was staring at this highway sign. It said ‘Ventura’ on it and it just stuck with me. It was a sunny day and the ocean there, all of it.” (Bunnell’s dad was stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base just north of Santa Barbara.)

What does it mean to live a good life?

Visit a town tousled by sea breezes, a town that drifts, well, sea breeze easy under the radar, a place where the days end with the sun slipping behind purpling islands, a place where play matters (greatly), and the happy din of art galleries, boutique shops, breweries, and restaurants really is happy.

Be grateful for the chance to experience this.

What is the best way for a person to attain happiness?

Paddle out at dawn. Surf until your arms are noodles. Eat breakfast at Pete’s Breakfast House (order the huevos rancheros). Amble around downtown Ventura. Buy something for a friend. Spend twenty minutes talking to the store owner, who now counts as a friend. Paddle back out (or bike up the coast, or stand up paddle in Ventura Harbor, or hike in Arroyo Verde Park). Walk to the end of the Ventura Pier and watch the moon smile down on the Pacific Ocean. Donate to a local charity. Love someone without restraint.

Why are humans so susceptible to magical thinking?

Wait to answer this. First, drive up to Grant Park an hour before sunset. Sit at a picnic table. Gaze out at the blue-hued spreads of Anacapa and Santa Cruz Island. In the quiet, listen to the tiny (and apt) applause of eucalyptus leaves. Watch the setting sun paint ever-changing patterns in the sky.

Go ahead and answer.

Is it better to be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond?

Something only a fish can answer. But in Ventura, we’re big-time into small time. Ponder that one for a bit, grasshopper.

What do you think your future self will remember about you now?

That you remembered the sunscreen.

Are the best things in life free?

Please refer to walk on the beach. Or sitting in the quiet at Grant Park. Or surfing at dawn.
You can also answer this question by coming into the Ventura Visitor Center and picking up a Ventura sticker.

Is it possible for a human to fathom the true depths of reality and existence?

It is now.

And even if it isn’t (see the yin and yang?), think back on all you just read.

Life is just moments, and there are only so many.

Ventura is a very special place, and all of us, residents and visitors, are lucky to have our moment here.

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