I’m sitting in my friend’s house in Portland. It’s grey outside and I just finished my second interview for a job that sounds pretty incredible. I’m coming down from the nervous jitters that accompany all interviews and trying to piece together what taking the job (if it was offered) might mean.
Rick and I had/have some pretty incredible travel plans for the new year, but if I am offered this job that travel will not happen. That would be pretty sad because I just purchased a bad ass touring bike for the express purpose of riding it in exotic locales. But, as we have toured the country by car I have developed an increasingly strong case of home envy. We’ve now stayed with SO many friends across the country – apartment dwellers, cabin dwellers, large fancy home dwellers, and adorable rental dwellers. Their houses are in cities and small towns, and though they span all range of size and shape, their commonality is that they represent home to someone. We want that. I want that. I want a place to put my books on shelves and cook dinner and create a little alcove of yogic bliss. I have lived out of a suitcase since August and I’m ready to unpack.
I recognize that the grass is always greener listening as my friends lament the fact that they have to work and as they marvel over our trip, popping from place to place to ask, “Could this be home?”. I constantly feel apologetic for my ramshackle existence, my lack of employment, and the fact that I don’t know my plans for two months down the road, but am reminded over and over again of the fact that so many others will never do something like this. To conscientiously design one’s life around one’s priorities rather than his or her means of income is a gift. And embarrassed as I am to admit that my home is more or less limited to a 2010 Subaru with New York plates, I also acknowledge that those wheels are a gateway to lifestyle choice and on-the-ground implementation of our partnership’s stated life objectives – to live in a place that we love and which inspires us. To live simply. To do good.
Here in Portland, I feel pretty happy. We arrived late yesterday afternoon, and went for a 5 mile trail run by headlamp with two friends and locals. We ate at Ned Ludd and savored the foodie haven that is Portland. I wonder if this could be home? Could this work for both of us? Hard to say.
In touring the country we have taken in the subtle regionalities of the places we have visited. The ambitious easterners with their warmth seeping slowly through their cool facade; the friendly midwest with its hearty residents who eschew several inches of snow and rapidly dropping temperatures to make you feel welcome. We have slept by the fireside in a cabin in Montana, waking at 2 am to put on another few logs to keep us toasty ’til morning. We have cruised Seattle, observing the pop of young vibrancy amidst grey skies and rain. And here we are in Portland – once a dream and almost a reality for me. Thankfully I changed course, but I know I would have enjoyed law school here – riding bikes and studying torts and tortes. Could I live here now? Would I feel old? Has it passed its moment in time, or does it still have an authentic and exciting vibe? Would I be forced to wear thick rimmed glasses and pretend my vision is not excellent? Are there even jobs in Portland or is the market over saturated with young and educated people?
Truth be told, I don’t think Portland has actually passed its prime. I think it has established deep roots for its alternative culture. My friends here are living a wonderful life and I think it would be amazing to have the resources they do living here. She is training as a doula and studying Ayurveda in her spare time. Here, they have institutionalized what in other cities are alternative things. That’s cool. I recognize that Portland offers these types of opportunities, where a small town in Montana may not. But yet, at what cost?
We’re making some challenging life decisions and I am pretty excited at the wonderful gift it is to be able to DO this – but that doesn’t make it any easier to take the reigns and determine one’s own fate. I keep waiting for my intuition to speak to me and give me a clue as to the direction I should go. It’s always been my reliable ally. Here though, I am struggling for guidance.
I’ll report back once I know more.