I just moved from Northern California to Portland, OR.
Yup. Another blogger in Portland. Try to breathe through the shock.
Before I moved here, I had this vague idea that Portland was my kind of town. Rainy, brooding, granola-y, snobbish. Check, check, check, and check. I knew that it would be awesome to get perfect cappuccinos on every corner. I knew that it would rock to be able to eat amazing French food out of the back of a school bus. I even knew how awesome it would be to be able to meet and hang out with people who actually understand what the fuck it is that I do for a living.
What I DIDN’T know was what it would feel like to truly belong in a place, and the value that would have in my life and in my business.
See, I am not what you would call a joiner. I’m the girl that shows up a half hour before everyone else at a party, and who leaves twenty minutes before it turns into the greatest night ever. I was raised by an artist in a really conservative mountain town. In fifth grade, I wore a different hat to school every day for a month. Let’s just say I have always felt like a bit of a square peg in a round hole. Even in college in San Francisco – I always felt like I wasn’t quite weird enough, or creative enough, or stoned enough to really belong. For the last decade in Sacramento, I’ve been dubbed the coffee snob, the wimpy drinker, the one that looked down her nose at all the suburbanites (which I kinda did… I mean how DO people live like that anyway?!?). My friends always looked at me with this, “We love you but we kinda don’t really get you,” look. I think part of me stayed because I felt like I was somehow fighting the good fight – bringing a new perspective to people that actually like Olive Garden. But you know what the problem with fighting the good fight is?
You are always fighting. You are always exhausted. And everyone will think you’re a bitch. Because you are. Why in god’s name did I think it my job to make people care about the difference between a traditional cappuccino and the crap they serve at Starbucks? Who was I to judge? Who the fuck did I think I was?
I loved California, sure – but I never really felt like California loved me back.
I’ve been in Portland for nine days now and baby, I feel the love. I’m no longer the snob, I’m just yet another Portlander that cares about quality. I don’t have to fight anymore. I’m not the lone greenie… we have curbside composting. I mean, FOR REALS!?! I used to be super-productive at home because I was so bored with where I lived that work seemed like more fun than play. Now, I find myself so inspired by everything around me, it’s like new ideas are growing like weeds.
I had no idea that this is what belonging felt like. If I did, perhaps I would have had slightly less disdain for people that joined clubs and went to networking breakfasts (naaaa, probably not. People who are able to make sentences and talk to strangers before 8am still freak me out).
For so many of you, the online world is like this window into all the things that are possible for yourself. It’s like a taste of what can be, and is a place where you can find your people. But, if you are at all like me, when you close your laptop for the day, you still have to look around at the physical world and confront the dings and dents and things you procrastinate changing. Maybe it’s a job you hate. Maybe it’s the town you feel stuck in. Maybe it’s a relationship that’s sucking you dry. Whatever it is, so many of us found our way to online business as a way of freeing ourselves of something that wasn’t working.
It took me two-and-a-half years to move.
It didn’t happen overnight. I set goals and benchmarks and do-or-die dates and missed them again and again. I got close a few times and life got in the way. It took a ton of work and was one of the most stressful and difficult things I have ever done.
Peeling away the layers of crap that you have built up on yourself is fucking hard work.
It doesn’t happen out of split decisions and grand proclamations. It happens by putting one goddamn foot in front of the other every day, no matter what.
Any you know what? It’s totally worth every step.
Finding the place where you belong in the world means that you have support around you.
It means you only keep the people that make your life better and let go of the rest.
It means that you get to be one of those rarefied souls who actually enjoys their life.
It means that you can put all that fire and passion and fight into doing something amazing, instead of into hating all the stuff that’s in your way.
Real belonging means everything.
Finding it is the keys to the castle baby.