So I realized something recently; what I truly love about Portland is a sense of ‘not-doing’ I have come to accept. Not necessarily a non productive not-doing, but a sense of less rush, taking my time, observing the clouds. The realization that sometimes, it’s okay to do that.
California never really allowed too much of it, but that’s okay. The place just moves constantly. Although I grew up there and loved the busyness of it for most of my life, I ended up truly needing to get away from that once I entered my 40’s. And yes, I have fully accepted being an old man. Get off my lawn while you’re at it.
But here in the Pacific Northwest it’s okay to watch the trees, see them turn colors in the fall. To watch the clouds just float by while sitting on a park bench; almost in a monastic sense of just being.
It’s only been a few months since we’ve lived up here but I feel like I’m home.
But maybe not forever.
Who knows. I am beginning to wonder if one of the healthiest lessons we’ve learned when we moved away is simply that we can and everything is OK. Home is what you make of it. Family and friends are who you choose to become close with. Distance from someone never changes that.
Maybe this ‘not-doing’ is really just more time to reflect. I’ll take it.
Didn’t sleep great last night, but wasn’t terrible either. As I’ve aged, sleep has changed patterns on me. Not a big deal, just is what it is.
This morning I woke up around 6:30 AM. I would have loved to sleep in a bit, but the mind wasn’t having it. My wife and son where still asleep so I quietly made my coffee, poured a fresh cup and came into my office. Sitting at the computer, I began to go through personal email, reading articles, and scheduling out a few things for my personal social accounts. You know, the usual. After about an hour, I see my door peak open and I smile as my wife walks in.
She looks slightly concerned and tells me,
“You know it’s still Sunday, right?”
I explain the morning, my lack of an ability to sleep in today, and smile at the suggestion that I forgot what day it was. Thinking about that afterwards though, it isn’t too far off — she knows me better than anyone.
She knows I can lose track of days sometimes and wanted to make sure I hadn’t this time. Luckily, that only typically happens when I take a week or two off. In my mind, that is how I measure a good vacation — did I forget what day of the week it was?
Working remote is new for me though, and I think this was her concern. Don’t get me wrong, I love it and wouldn’t trade it for the world right now. I love the ability to walk into my own office and just concentrate with minimal interruptions. I love looking out my window at the stream my office sits next to, and watch the squirrels run by on the weeping willow trees outside. I love having the chance to enjoy my lunch break with my wife and son every day. It’s the best.
But after working in an office environment for decades, it is definitely an adjustment. I can’t just walk to someones desk to have a quick conversation. I can’t hang out with the excellent team I work with or join them for lunch at Wahoo’s.
As I adjust to all this, keeping track of the days is something I get to pay closer attention to now. The days can blend together when you are getting used to remote work.
And luckily, I have my wife, always there to help me adjust to any changes life brings our way.
California has been good to me. I was born here and had a great childhood here. I enjoyed many years of youth soccer here, later to become a coach for my own son.
I met my wife here in California. She was also born here and grew up in the state. Though we went to different schools, she and I had similar experiences with it. We went on to get married at a restaurant that her family had a tradition of celebrating things at. It became our place to celebrate things as well. In fact, in the coming weeks, we will be having a going away party there with a number of friends; some we have known longer than we’ve been married.
We had a child here in California. It has been a fantastic place to raise him so far. I think we’ve been able to give him a wonderful childhood so far. The schools he has attended have been something I especially appreciate. The teachers have been amazing; able to push him further than I would expect.
Each of my loving grandparents are buried here in California. None of them were born here though, each migrated here from other places. Heck, my Great Grandfather came all the way over from Sweden. Something I think about from time to time as we do a bit of reflection in preparation for our move out of the state.
We’ve made tons of friends here in California. People I fully expect to know into my later years. Many of them weren’t born here though. Come to think of it, many have moved away as well. Again, something I thought about as we worked towards our move.
It’s time to leave our home state for a new one. It’s time to seek new adventures and new experiences. Time to call a new place home.
We’re moving to Portland, Oregon.
A few years ago, we went and visited some great friends that had moved there. Friends we had made here in California, back in our high school days. We really enjoyed our time there.
Then a couple years ago, we started thinking about moving away. More and more it felt like something we needed to do. It was time to grow. We considered a few places, but somehow Portland kept coming up, at least in my mind.
This past January we traveled back to Portland to see our friends (and a few others we have made over the years). We also went with a different mindset than just simply going on vacation. We chose a week in January thinking it would be questionable weather and we would have to deal with it. Of course when we arrived the sun was shining and our friends thanked us for bringing the sun with us. Figures, right?
This time, within a few minutes of being there, I knew it was somewhere I wanted to call home. As I drove along in our rented car, I looked off in the distance to see a mountain, covered by a forest, fading away into the clouds. I commented to my wife “I could look at that every day.”
Drivers were courteous, people said thank you when you opened the door for them. It just felt right.
Yesterday, I woke up at my usual time and prepared to head over to the Y for my morning strength training. 6:30 AM is the only time I’ve found I am able to stay consistent. As I drove to the gym, I noticed the lights on my dash flickering, but as the pre-workout hadn’t kicked in yet, I figured maybe my eyes were still waking up. Parked the truck, grabbed my bags, and as I walked away the truck didn’t lock. Maybe the key fob ran out of batteries. I went over, opened the door and realized my lights didn’t come on either. Tried to start the truck and nothing; it was dead. Awesome start to the morning, and here I was, looking forward to deadlifts. I called AAA and they dispatched a driver to come over to assist me. Thankfully, he arrived quickly and after a few tests had good news for me. The battery checked out, as well as my alternator. Then he informed me the ground cable on the battery was loose. That’s it. Happy it was an easy fix, but feeling like a complete amateur for not catching that, I headed home to get ready for work.
I’m happy to report that the shower and journey to the office were completely uneventful. However, my attempt to use the elevator was not without challenge. It just didn’t want to work. After three tries of the door closing and the elevator doing nothing but beep at me, I switched over to another one. Finally, at my desk, time to start my day, right?
Wrong. My laptop decided to freeze. It didn’t even get a lovely BSOD, it just froze. Awesome. I giggled a bit and restarted my computer. Waited patiently for it to boot, opened Chrome and the 6 vital tabs I’m in all day. Got email running, and was finally ready for the day.
I noticed something that made me smile. I wasn’t mad. I just laughed and had Dory from Finding Nemo singing in my head:
And that is what I did all day; just kept swimming. It was a natural decision — don’t let things going wrong pile up and ruin your day. Why give them that power? Just keep swimming.
Today a coworker asked me if I meditated, saying ‘you’re just so calm all the time. I need that.’ I let her know that yes, I did meditate every evening for about 10-20 minutes.
I also made sure to be honest, there are still times when I lose my s***.
She asked if I could teach her meditation which of course I agreed to. Providing simple instructions would be safe for her. I am no teacher of course, but I know she would be safe with a simple counting breath practice.
This evening, I thought about her asking me this and upon reflection, I guess it had not really crossed my mind much. I never really had anger issues, but I am happy that I come across as calm and collected (which I’m sure is debatable depending on which of my good friends wants to comment on this one).
Meditation has given me something with nothing more than right effort; it has given me the ability to know me. Sure, I still see my ego getting in the way of things from time to time, but I guess I finally am having a slightly easier time seeing when ego creeps it’s ugly head up. I always thought I was a bit of a pain in the behind at work, but my coworker gave me a different perspective today. I guess it is making a difference.