More than most states, people from Arizona are a tough breed. We wrestle with heat, venomous creatures, and a diverse way of life. It’s a hard-earned toughness, and the only way to prevail is to accept some of the realities of living in the state.
Here are 10 hard truths we Arizonans learn to accept:
1. Keep your hopes high and expectations low.
We live in hope there won’t be a severe wildfire season, and that the monsoons will be plentiful to dampen any dry tinder. But Arizonans are sadly accustomed to getting let down – some would go as far as saying punished – by Mother Nature. We have learned to brace ourselves and prepare for any situation.
2. You must always be prepared.
We spend hours clearing the brush from around our homes, because as per Smokey, only we can prevent our house from burning down in the case of said wildfire.
3. You need a thick skin.
We’re used to being the butt of the nation’s jokes and sometimes even scorn. We have earned a thick skin, and not just from the ceaseless sun or running into countless prickly pears.
4. If you can’t accept it, change it.
We’ve come in last place on some of the US’ most shameful lists, and first on other embarrassing tallies. But Arizonans don’t sit idly by. When we’re pissed, we act to make positive change.
5. We will outlive our beloved fur children.
Arizonans are very invested in their pets, livestock, and wild fauna. We’ve had to learn the hard way that we will likely send each one of them off over the rainbow before we ourselves go.
6. Even our most iconic desert animals bite like hell.
Javelinas and coyotes will devour your cat in a hot minute. Raptors will swoop down to make brunch of your chihuahua. And rattlers don’t always rattle.
7. Food is better when you grow it yourself.
Arizona features microclimates suitable for growing agriculture, ranging from wine grapes to lettuce to citrus to mesquite. The cornucopia of delicious crops keeps many farmers markets open year-round.
8. Vehicles need to be prepped for seasonal extremes.
Those cars pulled over on the hills by Sunset Point would not be holding up the entire state’s northbound/southbound traffic if they had just added coolant to their radiators. And we never forget summer driving gloves to prevent first-degree burns from the steering wheel.
9. Art keeps our soul healthy.
For literally thousands of years, people have scratched symbols onto Arizona rocks. Maybe they, like the artists who have succeeded them, were inspired by the red rock landscapes and cotton candy sunsets.
10. If you work hard, you deserve to play hard.
We grind away at low-paying jobs too long to not enjoy the reason we live here. To Netflix a weekend away is to ignore the giant outdoor playground that is our state.