Sunday, March 25, 2012

Where I'm Going

Well kids, it's official. I'm moving. Yup, back to the Pacific Northwest I go. I've been thinking about it for a long time, and after the end of the school year I will be packing my (hopefully very minimal) belongings and heading to Salem, OR. My parents moved there recently, and my brother and one of my best friends live in Portland, and I've always wanted to live in a land where they have bumper stickers that say "Keep Portland Weird." Weird it is (Remember, the dream of the 90s is alive in Portland...), but I look forward to the endless variety of food trucks, feminist bookstores, independent coffee shops (oh! the coffee!), bike riders, community gardens, and a wide variety of mustaches/facial hair.

If you want to know the truth, my move is not very logical. I'm not going back for a job. I'm not going to have health insurance. I don't know where I'm going, only God knows where I've been. I'm a devil on the run, a six gun lover, a gamble in the wind (OK OK, THE LAST TWO SENTENCES ARE A BON JOVI SONG! YOU CAUGHT ME.). I am leaving behind a special community, a fun and flexible job, and pretty much starting over. But it just feels right, and at the end of the day I am a West Coast woman (as my blog title implies), and at the end of the day I want to be near my family. I've had SO many wonderful experiences on the "right"/east coast, met so many fantastic people who have eternally shaped who I am, learned so many lessons, but at the end of the day home is where the heart is. When you're in a new culture (though does 3 years count as "new" still?), as I was explaining the other day, I imagine I could liken my experience to that of wearing a high heeled shoe--it fits, it works, and I can wear it (and rock it!), but at the end of the day it's not quite as comfortable as your house slippers.

Every few years it seems like I get restless, like I need to mix it up a bit, maybe to remember what it is like to feel alive, what it feels like to completely step out on the edge of the cliff. While I don't know what it is I want my life TO look like, I feel like I'm figuring out what I DON'T want, and I think that's just as important. I've been reading a lot of people who have written about looking back at their lives in their 40s and 50s, only to realize that they've been on a proverbial hamster's wheel, running in circles, trying to make a lot of money to buy a lot of useless stuff, and figuring out that it's all not worth very much at all, and that they somehow missed life in the midst of it. I do not want this to be me. I realize I have the luxury of having this sort of aspiration that others might not due to social class or familial obligations, but its something I'm interested in exploring.

If you want to know the truth, the prospect of moving AGAIN (move #5) is completely terrifying, especially when you're not going back to a concrete job or school. And, with the exception of moving to Connecticut, I've always had a built-in community (i.e. a school of some sort) and built-in network of friendly neighbors to socialize and involve myself with when I've arrived. But Oregon will be different, and I imagine my comfort zone will become increasingly more stretched. But as I said, you have to keep moving forward, into the unknown, and I imagine these are the times when God becomes increasingly more apparent, and faith becomes more and more necessary. It is challenging and terrifying and exciting all at the same time. The world is my oyster.

It will work out, I am confident of that, it's just a matter of "how" and "when."

Also, I am currently taking suggestions of career aspirations. Environmental Sociologist is already on the list. Also, biking educator or activist. Maybe working at Voodoo Donuts to contribute to Portland's weirdness factor. Thoughts?

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