Almost exactly one month ago my family and I drove down I-84 west, right past the stunning Multnomah Falls, towards our new life. We had been on the road for seven days, seven very long days in a small car with a baby, but we were oh so happy because our journey was finally almost over. We were arriving in, Portland, OR, home.
After living and working in the Washington, DC area for nine years, this has been a huge change. The decision to move was both long planned, yet also a little spur of the moment. We had known for many years that DC was not going to be a long term home for us. Once our little girl arrived, we knew even more that we wanted something different for her childhood. We wanted a place with culture and nature just outside our doorstep, and a place where the summer wouldn’t have us checking the air-quality ratings before taking her out play. For about a year we worked through a list of potential places that might meet these requirements, and shortly after she was born we decided Portland met these qualifications perfectly. So in that sense, the move had been in planning for a while. The actual concrete decision of “we are moving on X date” happened only about five weeks before X date, and the date was picked hurridly during a phone call after I received very great news from my boss about a remote work arrangement. Five weeks may sound like a lot of time, but let me tell you, when you are picking up your entire life, especially when it involves a child, and moving it from one coast to another, five weeks is a very short amount of time.
Every time we tell someone we just moved to Portland from DC we get the same question “So you have family there?” And the answer to that is “No,” something that seems a little unfathomable to people. We didn’t make this move to be closer to family, and we also didn’t make this move for a job (always the next question), we made this move for us and for our daughter. We made this move to be in a place where our family can be the center of our lives, not our jobs. We want to be somewhere where we can refocus on ourselves and find our passions and hobbies and nuture them, and thus our souls. We know that feeling like more complete, well rounded people will ultimately make us better parents giving our daughter the childhood she rightly deserves. Washington, DC was a great place to begin our careers, and it was good to us both. We met, fell in love, got married, and had our daughter there. But we had reached a point where we felt like DC had nothing positive left to give our family. The pressure of our jobs, exacerbated by being constantly surrounded by people only wanting to talk shop, the long commutes, and the feeling of stagnation in our lives due to the cost of living there, really had us feeling lost and unhappy. So we decided to be proactive and do something about it. It’s always interesting, when we explain this to the people asking the questions about why we made such a big move, their response is almost always “Wow, I envy you, I wish I could do that.” Here’s the secret though, you can. The best lesson we learned from this experience is that if you really want something the biggest hurdle to making it happen is simply deciding that you will make it happen. There can’t be any “someday it would be nice” or “eventually I would like,” no, it has to be a solid “I am!” I guarantee, once you make that leap, you will make that dream happen.
We’re still settling into our new home, and we have a lot of exploring we’re excited to do. I can’t say the past month has been a breeze, it has been a rough one with all of the adjustments, but as the saying goes, nothing worth doing is easy. One thing is certain, we love our new home, oh and we need to get some more visible tatoos and I need to put some streaks of unnatural color in my hair.