It's been almost 6 months now since we uprooted our family and moved from Portland to Bend. It's hard to believe that we haven't lived here for much longer, and sometimes I forget Portland is in the same state as Bend. Everything here is so different, so new: the weather, the trees, the wildlife, the people, the beer, the ubiquitous roundabouts. Just the fact that I can get from one end of town to the other in 15 minutes is mind-blowing. Then there is the fact that I work part-time and can spend more time with my kids, who until 6 months ago were in school 5 days a week. I thought the novelty of my new life might wear off, but I still discover new happy things every day.
When I look back on our lived in Portland, however, my heart aches a bit--not because I miss the city itself, but because I long for the friendships I (and my kids) had there. Logically, I try to convince myself that I see my Portland friends almost as much as I used to, now that I live here. This is true in most cases, but I miss the ability to call an old friend up and suggest an easy dinner at home that weekend. While we have made several friends here (which I am SO grateful for), we won't have that history and comfort, which can only be gained by years of friendship. We have watched our close friends go from partiers to parents, professionals to stay-at-home moms.
As for our kids, I don't think they have spent as much time reflecting on what this huge change has meant. While I sobbed that first night over a beautiful parting gift their Portland preschool gave them, they watched TV and played with Grammy as though nothing had changed. Their talk of their old friends has slowly become less frequent, and they often come home boasting about making new friends at their new school. Their new school doesn't hold a candle to their old one, and yet, the kids have adapted to the new routine.
My Portland friends and coworkers often ask me if I am happy in Bend. I always respond with an unequivocal "hell yes!" A few have questioned whether I just say that because I don't want to reveal any regrets about moving, but I can honestly say that we could not have made a better choice for ourselves and our family. Sure, I've had my dark moments of questioning what we have done--usually when I am in a particularly moody state, and I miss having a good friend around--but I always bounce back the moment I look at my kids and see how excited they are that they get to stay home with Mommy the next day.
Bill and I are not ones to make a rash decision; we don't exactly live on the edge. We've lived in the same town for 12 years. But when Bill got that job offer 7 months ago, there was no question that we were going to sell our house and he was going to quit his job. The ease with which we made the decision alarmed even us. Even though we knew selling our house and moving our stuff 200 miles away was going to be a huge hassle, we had no doubts we were doing the right thing. When you know, you know. And we knew we had a fall-back plan: if the job didn't work out, we could always move back. A hassle, yes, but worth the risk.
I have a couple friends who are questioning whether to make a big change--whether in their relationships, jobs, or locations. To them I say: Listen to what your instinct is telling you, as cliche as that sounds. There is what seems the logical, easy, comfortable path; and then there is the somewhat uncertain, potentially difficult path that may lead to the life you were meant to live. And if it doesn't, well, nothing is permanent, and you probably learned something in the process.
Next up: How Bend has made me a better athlete.