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After A Year And A Half In Portland Here’s How It’s Going – Is It Everything We Predicted Or Expected? It’s A Long One… – Emily Henderson

When we moved to New York 23 years ago we immediately loved it but got physically sick from sensory overload (it’s a thing). When we moved to LA 13 years ago we both felt so bored and lonely from sensory deprivation that I auditioned for a reality show. Both times we adapted, but just like wood flooring – it takes time to acclimate properly and unlike wood flooring, adapting to a new city, culture, and weather doesn’t have a prescriptive lead time. Everyone asks, “how’s it going living in Portland?” so over the break I took a cool 10-15 hours to write about how we’ve acclimated to Portland – and similar to a journal entry, it’s full of self-reflection, with a heavy dose of self-indulgence. Moving is never an easy decision and this move was fraught with equal parts insecurity and excitement. We talked about it all day every day for months and months while locked down at the mountain house, with lots of pros and cons lists. Once we made the decision (with forced urgency) we really tried to be realistic about impending challenges. Our expectations were low for the first year because as you know, disappointment only arises when expectations aren’t met (this is my general life hack, especially with parenting or things you can’t totally control). But before I go into how reality has faired against these predictions/expectations, I want to break down the timeline a little better for you as this move was a long time coming and had some plot twists that affected our decision.

1979 – 1995: Born and Raised in Coos Bay, Oregon, way out in the country and it was cloudy 80% of my life.
1995 – 2001: Moved to Portland with family, then college at U of O. Retained same childhood best friends (and added one more). Met Brian my senior year and fell in love. Broke up once. My best friends moved to Portland.
2001 – 2007: Lived in New York, Brian went to grad school for acting then started his theater career. We broke up again for a longer separation. I walked dogs, tended bar, worked at Jonathan Adler then styled for magazines, catalogues, etc. Decided to follow the gold rush to LA for Brian’s acting.
2007 – 2015: Moved to LA from New York, my career took off, had a baby, and bought our first house. Brian’s story is in this blog post :).
2015: Had Second Baby and in a state of overwhelm with two under two and an insane schedule, began looking to move to Portland. Spent the holidays up there where it rained for 12 days straight, came back to 70 degrees LA in January, and changed my mind mostly because of the weather.
August 2019: Revisited the idea of moving (“we can handle the rain!” they said). Started looking again online (Portland and Bend), practiced some newly discovered manifesting skills (JK but not jk), found the listing for the farmhouse, flew up to see it, fell in love, and put in an offer. The owner changed his mind, not ready to sell, we were disappointed but kept in touch, and I felt it was just a matter of timing (i.e. woo woo universe stuff).
March 2020: Pandemic lockdown, we moved to the mountain house full-time and loved living there more than we could have predicted. Uh oh.
July 2020: The farm owner texted that he was ready to sell and wanted us to know first before he took it to market. We freaked out. This is what we wanted, right???

August 2020: We flew up with kids to see the property again to make sure this was “IT”. It was. We knew it in our bones (Right?? August in PNW can be very seductive).
September 2020: Put our LA house on the market. Dropped out of escrow, had to do some repairs, and waited to put it back on til after the holidays. Sold in February.
October 2020: Closed escrow on the farm, hired ARCIFORM, and began plans for a major renovation realizing this was not the DIY fixer that Brian and I had naively predicted. Decided to stay at the mountain house while renovating instead of moving up to do remote learning in a rental house.
September 2020 – August 2021: This is where it all changed. Two huge things were happening simultaneously 1. We were realizing that we genuinely loved living in Lake Arrowhead full-time. We never got bored and our lives felt grounded and full. Despite everything happening in the world, we found mountain living really agreed with our family and doubts crept in on whether we should leave. We both agreed that had we not been so heavily invested in the farm we would not have kept looking to move to Portland and we would have given this life a real shot. But meanwhile, we were also 2. Deep in a massive renovation, already demoed down to the studs, a lot of partners involved, and truly no turning back. We were still so excited about it, but yes, very much wondering if our family would thrive as well since we were so content in Arrowhead. But lockdown isn’t real life, the kids weren’t in school, etc. We couldn’t predict the future so we stopped trying.
August 2021: Moved up to Portland, into a rental nearby, and started masked school and activities. Put our house in Arrowhead on Airbnb so it didn’t just sit there empty (and as a backup plan).
August 2022: After a year and a half of construction and 3 years since we had originally fallen in love with the property, we moved into Farmhouse – not fully finished but certainly very livable. YAYAYY!!!! And we were so happy, relieved, and ready to decorate and fix some of my regrets.

**Before I go much further I’ll give the disclaimer that this post is inherently dripping with privilege – having options in life is something we are so incredibly grateful for and most might see as the ultimate freedom. If this is triggering in any way know that I have so much compassion for people who feel truly stuck in a situation. This post, however, could make you feel better or worse – sometimes choice can be paralyzing and create its own pathologies. (Hopefully, you’ll feel better, but if not I’m sorry).

This post is also full of a lot of confirmation bias – you know, you HAVE to make the case for yourself constantly that you are doing the right thing for your family, which clouds your objectivity, and perhaps amps up your judgments about the other life not chosen. It’s 100% my perspective based on my set of experiences and it’s very, very personal and flawed. So there’s that.

Wait, Backup. So Why Did You Want To Move To Portland In The First Place?

A more accurate question is why did we want to move from Los Angeles? A: To have a slower, simpler, less draining, and less expensive life. We wanted to live in a neighborhood where the kids can go elementary through high school with the same friends. We wanted to be close to my childhood best friends, parents, siblings, and their kids. We wanted what every former Angeleno wants – more space, less traffic, and crowds (which gave me low-grade all-day anxiety). We wanted to be close to a city for professional and cultural opportunities. This property gave us the possibility of living out a former city person’s fantasy – a farm in a country setting, only 15 minutes away from a city, and 5 minutes to cute neighborhood restaurants and stores. There are safe parks everywhere. It felt like this was the magical combination of what we both wanted long-term for our family. After realizing my job didn’t need to be in LA, we knew it was time to go (and we miss our friends A LOT), so once we found the farm we did. But was Portland the right decision for us? Let’s explore.

Couldn’t You Get those Things In Lake Arrowhead?

Maybe! But we didn’t know. It was all so confusing because it was the pandemic, not real life and we didn’t know how it would be in 4 years. Would we really like being in such a small town? Did the daily year-round trail runs through the forest to plunges into the lake provide enough stimuli for us after being in huge cities for 20 years? Or was that just our lockdown pandemic agoraphobia talking??? Arrowhead, historically extremely conservative (in the year-round-large-Trump-sign kind of way), is changing a lot right now and there was no way to predict how it would be in 10 years. We weren’t sure it was the right environment long term for us and our kids (we also don’t identify with some of the Portland politics TBH, but more on that below). If you did or are raising your kids in Arrowhead please don’t take this as us thinking it’s not a good place to raise kids, I actually think in most ways it’s magical and perhaps might be as close to perfect as possible. As parents, you simply try to make the choice that gives you confidence at the time of the decision, and our friends/family in Portland were highly convincing.

So again, we just didn’t know – life wasn’t “real”. The kids were 4 and 6 when we moved up full time, the ages where they just wanted to hang out with us and yet can put on their shoes and make their own cereal. Due to the pandemic, my production schedule disappeared for months, freeing me up to be present with my kids, play, cook, craft, read, hike, walk, and realize how unbelievably overscheduled and addicted to being busy I had been. I was off the hamster wheel for the first time in my life and like so many of you, I had new clarity about our priorities and values. I wasn’t going to get back on the hamster wheel, and for a while, it was working because the proximity to LA meant I could commute to shoots a couple of times a month (an hour and a half drive) and see my friends, team and get a dose of city life. We began to ask ourselves if we could live in a small vacation town year-round. “Impossible!!” They say. Or is it?? We thought. We worked from there (with three hours of help a day for the kids), I ran the blog from there, we moved our bodies in nature every day (300 days of sun up here), cooked most meals, and our life was just so simple without feeling boring at all. But the rest of the world hadn’t moved on yet and we feared that when it did we would have regretted passing up the farm and we were concerned that we were still “city people”.

Going into the move up to the rental I KNEW nothing could compare to that year. The kids would be back in school and daily activities. The begging to get their shoes on and brush their teeth and get out the door was back. The deadlines to finish this massive project began to loom. And this time I didn’t have a local team to help me…

Prediction/Expectation #1: The First Years Would Be Very Challenging For Me, Specifically.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! We were right! When people asked me how it was going I would answer pleasantly, “Well not every year can be your best or you won’t appreciate the good ones!” And I actually meant it. We were extremely lucky to have what our lockdown life was – we NEVER took that for granted. I think because I KNEW that this year was going to be really hard on me I was prepared for it, but I’m not sure that made it any easier. At first, I cried a lot and had to lean hard on my tools to keep up my endorphins and not feel depressed (and ruin the year for our kids). Renovating a house is stressful, expensive, and requires so much mental and physical time and decisions even if you’ve done it before. Doing it publicly multiplies that by 100. And I felt the weight of it all. We knew this going into it and Brian tried to share in the weight, believe me, but it’s mostly me. Meanwhile, he got into an awesome writing masters program and continued to be the lead parent so he was really, really busy, too. But the renovation, the business (where numbers dove quickly after the lockdown house building/remodeling boom), and supporting us financially is really all on me. Without a local team for daily support to make content and to help make it fun, I felt very alone and the pressure felt extreme. I missed my team (and sadly, the wonderful Jess, Mal, Ryann, or Caitlin didn’t want to move up to Portland). I feel like I had always appreciated everyone before, but now I REALLY missed everyone, present and past, all my people who helped me day-to-day create design content. I wasn’t really having fun anymore and I’m an enneagram 7 so this girl really likes to have fun:) I needed a design buddy, a creative companion, someone who was excited about social media and I just couldn’t find the right fit.

Plus at first, I missed Arrowhead, our home, and the environment/lifestyle so much. Here’s my analogy: It’s the summer fling that turned into my true love… but a true love that wasn’t sure they wanted to have kids with me, and my steady high school boyfriend that I reconnected with (Portland) was ready to settle down. So yes, we moved for our kids to provide what we sincerely hoped was a well-rounded childhood, but the doubts nagged at us if that was even true. Was that just a story that society tells us these days? That you can’t raise kids in a small town without the opportunities of a larger city?? There is no way to know and despite how much we all want it, there is no perfect place to raise your kids. No perfect school. No perfect town. No perfect house. No perfect job. The goal is to align your choices as closely with your values as possible, and Portland fell closer than Arrowhead in many categories. Once up there, Brian was more on board with Portland, seeking out culture more than myself but he was struggling, too. I also very much knew that I was being such a baby, feeling sorry for myself despite having so much. “California girl doesn’t like the rain,” wah wah. “Privileged blogger cries that renovation is so stressful,” poor baby. I KNEW and still do know that I don’t have real problems. Everyone is healthy and isn’t that all that matters? I filled up gratefulness journals (which worked), went to a happiness conference (which hilariously did enlighten me a lot to reframe the second half of my life), and when I was down I would go on long walks with my best friends or spend time with my brother’s/sisters family and kids, now 10 minutes away after decades of only seeing them twice a year. I was quickly reminded why we were here. This. Family. Community. Long-term stuff. Even just being in the same town as my family where I can go to lunch with my sister and have family dinners at my parent’s house is strangely so comforting even if its not super frequent. The fact that my mom is going to teach my kids piano makes me so grateful for moving up here because that could have never happened if we stayed in LA. Cousins – my kids have cousins they get to spend time with! These are the reasons we are here.

By February it started getting easier. I actually loved going on 6 am sunrise walks with the pups, the green everywhere felt invigorating and once the drywall went up I felt some hope. Our new normal was settling in and I thought about Arrowhead and my summer fling less and less. This life could be really really good, I could feel it. A huge credit to…

Prediction/Expectation #2: We Would Find A Community For Our Kids Within Our Neighborhood

Ding ding ding!!! This has FAR exceeded our expectations. Somehow we have wiggled our way into a group of friends with kids the same ages, who all go to the same school and it’s far better than we could have hoped. I’m sure it’s weird for them to read this right now (if they do) but we feel like we seriously won the community lottery. They are wonderful. Brian took the lead while I was depressed and agoraphobic and basically hit on the dads at soccer practice, got their numbers (last September) and the friendships with the parents and kids have become truly one of the best things about living up here. The weekly playdates at our house after school, the carpool to activities because we all sign up for the same stuff, the drinks before or after the school parties – IT’S ALL SO GOOD. On the darker days (literally and figuratively) we know that THIS IS WHY WE MOVED AND IT IS BETTER THAN IMAGINED. Thank god. Community, y’all. It’s just so important.

Prediction/Expectation #3: The Rain Would Be Hard But We Could Handle It

Unfortunately, and to no one’s surprise but ours, this has been far more difficult for us than we had predicted. I’m not here to complain about the rain, I’m more disappointed in us for not handling the rain last spring well. We were fine through the winter because it’s winter almost everywhere and it makes the summers so green and beautiful. But when it was still going every day in May and then every single weekend through the end of June and early July, we found ourselves turning into terrible, negative versions of ourselves (it was an 80 record). We felt very naive, embarrassed, and dumb that we reacted so poorly. Typically, I can reframe everything and see the positive – it’s one of my superpowers, but in June I felt like I had lost that power. I was a shadow version of myself and I’m sure hard to be around. We tried hard – we went on rain hikes and played in the mud. I had to delete the weather app after seeing that Arrowhead had moved into boat weather, our friends who we share a boat with were out swimming every weekend. I felt so jealous, mad, regretful, and then ashamed and embarrassed for having those emotions as someone who is so privileged. We were genuinely worried that we bought and were investing in this awesome property that you couldn’t enjoy for 8 months of the year (at the time it was under construction, so our fears were clouded in mud).

You might ask, But aren’t you from there? Didn’t you know about the weather in the Pacific Northwest? And the answer is Yes. Kinda. Maybe not. “Knowing” something is so different than experiencing it every day. It would be like moving to LA and complaining about the traffic – you know you can’t leave your neighborhood from 7-10 am and 3-7 pm, that’s just LA. But what if you couldn’t get on the freeway on Saturdays or Sundays? What if it was rush hour all day every day? That’s how we felt last year when it didn’t stop. I was and continue to be very disappointed in myself for letting it get to me so badly last year specifically. Did I have SAD? Probably. I felt like a weak little spoiled baby. But again, it was an extra rainy year and it was our first – I’m just grateful we still have friends. We were not our best selves.

This year is predicted to be just as wet but we are ready, we are in our home and not the rental, I have a bathtub (dumb, but I’m a nightly ritual bather), and we have planned a few trips to warmer weather to help us get to summer. I’ve got my books, cold plunges, friends, workouts, sauna blanket, and soups – I’m armed up!! And oh, the long summer days and incredible fall colors are just so glorious, green, lush, and sunny that of course, we found ourselves saying, “it was all worth it” in August/September/October. This year we feel already so much happier – our situation has changed and we’ve acclimated/accepted it a bit more. We are learning to ski, doing more weekend trips, and when its nice out the Hendersons are OUT 🙂

Prediction/Expectation #4: We Would Love The City Of Portland, Knowing It’s Maybe Not Having Its Best Moment Right Now

This is pretty much as predicted and the only reason I’m attempting to address it is because literally every person asks. Uber drivers. Distant relatives. Everyone. So here’s what I’ll say: We love the people we have met so much. We love the general vibe which is unpretentious, casual, easy, family-oriented, outdoorsy, and grounded. We love so many of the neighborhoods. We appreciate the access to culture – i.e. art, theater, concerts while probably not taking as much advantage as we should (we did go to Hamilton). And the access to nature is incredible (so much beauty within a 20-minute drive). The restaurant scene is so amazing when we seek it out. Do we think that the has a very sad drug/mental health/homeless problem? Yes. It’s sad on many levels. And no one wants a California lady to come up here and criticize their city after living here for a year so I’m going to be brief: it’s a great demonstration in the importance of having a balance of common sense and compassion. To be clear, it’s not a job I could do – it feels almost impossible to solve. And listen, every west coast major city, including LA, is not exactly thriving post-pandemic, there are so many lessons that all of us are learning. There is room for improvement and certainly more compassion – both for the local government trying to appease their constituents and especially those who are in dire situations on the streets.

But Portland is also thriving in a lot of cool ways, post-pandemic. It seems to be on the upswing with a community that cares more about supporting local businesses than anywhere I’ve ever been. I LOVE that about Portland – there is so much local pride and spirit and it’s just so family and community-oriented, while still being cool and weird should you want that. The city itself is like it was when I was in high school – beautiful and quirky, with so many neighborhoods that are walkable and fun to explore. And the shopping – oh the vintage shopping is EXCELLENT. So that’s all to say that we kinda knew what version of the city we were moving into and I think everyone collectively hopes for improvement, but still loves what it has to offer (which is a lot). And y’all I’ve never felt like a New Yorker or Angeleno, I’ve always felt like an Oregonian living and growing my career in those cities. Maybe that’s just the story I want to tell myself but I do feel very, very, very at home and at ease in Oregon, specifically in the suburbs…

Prediction/Expectation #5: We Wouldn’t Mind Living In The Suburbs

To be clear – I wanted country, Brian wanted a more traditional suburban life and y’all, we LOVE living in the suburbs so much – FAR MORE than we thought we would. He was totally right on this one. Technically we are 15 minutes outside the city and in Portland, everyone knows Southwest as the suburbs (don’t try to guess or hint in the comments if you know where we are, please, SW is huge as you all know). We love it. I remember specifically the first time I went to Target which took 6 minutes to get to, 5 seconds to find a close parking spot, was joyfully empty, with stocked shelves, and no lines in the checkout. I almost wept I was so happy. Running errands in Los Angeles is a different experience from the sheer volume of cars on the streets and people in the stores. It’s just life there and you have to accept it and arrange your schedule around it or choose a different choice. The suburbs are everything that you think you don’t need or value when you are 25 – ease, family restaurants, lots of grocery stores with parking spots, zero pressure to look cool, cute schools, sports facilities, parks – and everything that we want now. It’s just wonderful. And like I said, we are close to a couple of really cute neighborhoods with commerce should we want to go out to dinner. It’s an incredible merging of a suburban community with a country setting that’s near a city. We feel very, very lucky. But yes, the suburban family life totally agrees with us 🙂

Prediction/Expectation #6: The Kids Would Thrive

First off, kids can thrive in most places with the right loving environment. But yes, our kids are doing really really GREAT. I think because everyone was coming back from distance learning they were able to make friends quickly (no hard friend groups to crack). They have nice teachers and enjoy school as much as any 1st and 3rd grader does. There is access to a lot of sports with their friends, lots of downtime on the weekends with us, and they get to hang with cousins which is so fun (Birdie and my niece are best friends which brings me so much joy). I’m so grateful I get to work from home and that they are the ages where they can mostly take care of themselves after school. I mean, it’s not perfect every day, and I try not to schedule conference calls after 3 pm (probably should have put in an enclosed home office, TBH) but all in all I think they are happy, healthy and love living up here. Do I still worry that my job and our situation will make them spoiled and entitled? Yep. It’s my daily/lifetime battle to fight it and let’s just say the reason we are getting alpacas and chickens isn’t for fun or food – these kids need some poop to pick up and eggs to gather, full stop 🙂 But they love living on the farm and Brian is fulfilling his dreams of seeing them ride bikes safely in the neighborhood with their friends. I didn’t grow up with neighbors so this wasn’t something important to me (thus my wanting to live in the country) but Brian did and we can both see how awesome it is for our kids to have a strong community so young.

Prediction/Expectation #7: Working Remotely In Two States Will Be Great!

Y’all I have good news and stuff I need to work on. Everything is good and I’m so so so grateful that my team has stayed with me, but I’m learning a lot about how to run a business that is 100% remote, in two different states. They are working so hard but without an office space everyone is alone and I think that is hard. I think post-pandemic we need more connection, more team hang time so this year I’m going to try more retreats and more get-togethers to ensure that everyone feels happy, connected, and moving forward in their careers.

Additionally, up until recently I have been working on my own and have realized that while I like alone time, I need creative collaboration to thrive. I think that’s where a lot of the mistakes/regrets have come from – from me feeling creatively dead and just making decisions to check a box. The good news is that I have finally found a wonderful small team up here – Emily M. and Kaitlin (my photographer) and they have brought my mojo back and helped create a balance between work and fun. We’ve got a rhythm, it’s helping pump out reveals, I’ve got my design/styling buddies, and I feel excited again. I know I can get so busy that I forget to check in enough with everyone and that is something I feel like I will work on for the rest of my life. I think this will be another year of figuring it out and trying new things and that’s ok. I consulted with a very experienced HR person this year, someone who has worked for 20+ years for large companies and she confirmed what I felt – that there is no one right way to do things and that the best companies remain flexible, put people first, try new things, take risks and change, fail, move on and grow. Of course, I wish that I was learning fewer lessons this year, but two years ago my astrological chart did say that this year was going to be remarkably challenging and I’m glad that so far it’s not due to marital or family health issues.

Prediction/Expectation #8: We Would Love Living At The Farm

WE. LOVE. IT. Every night when I cook in the kitchen or bathe in the beautiful bathroom I feel, we all feel, SO GRATEFUL. Balancing being grateful and not bragging is hard to do on the internet, but trust me that we feel so lucky that this is our home and that I get to spend years decorating, living in and hopefully raising our kids. Let’s catch you up – we are basically done on the inside, barring some paint changes I’m going to make and wallpaper going up which you’ll hear about, and of course, decorating (I haven’t even started some rooms and they only have leftover furniture). Certain rooms are already so wonderful to be in, others are more challenging to figure out for sure. Right now I’m trying to divide my time between finishing up each room and making major decisions on the landscaping.

The outside is a thing:) What the internet doesn’t tell you is that exterior and landscape construction is as expensive as the interior. It’s just so laborious and requires so much machinery. We are so grateful to be doing it and very excited for a lot of it around the house to be done by spring. But let’s just say that we bit off a lot, far more than predicted so I’m back to hustling (in a healthy way??) to be able to manage the budget. I remind myself, daily, that we are intensely lucky to have this space, but y’all, maybe we didn’t need 3 acres. Like maybe 1 acre is enough space?? Once it’s done, like giving birth, I hope we’ll be settled and can enjoy being outside, but the labor can be painful and that’s ok. It was our choice and I continue to use my “to renovate your home is the utmost privilege” mantra. Seeing grass instead of mud this spring will be GLORIOUS. When we first found the property 3 years ago, I remember telling Brian with sheer excitement in my eyes – “I’ll have projects for years!!” But that was workaholic pre-pandemic Emily. Some days I still feel that excitement, others It feels truly never-ending and I have to remind myself to expand the timeline and be ok with it taking years (and years).

Obstacles are part of the journey, y’all. I suppose I’m learning (again) what a lot of you might have already, that having more property and more house just means more work, more money spent, and more maintenance. Of course, our hope is that we are investing in the initial design to look natural, setting ourselves up for the future, and then in a couple of years it will just look like it’s always been here and be easy to maintain. And even though those other buildings are absolutely falling down, I know I’ll be really excited to tackle them once we are done with this house and my brother’s river house project. We have a painter scheduled to come and do a quick coat to make them look temporarily better which will buy us a few years before we decide what to do with them (and of course save up for it). Turns out that house up there needs to be lifted to put in a whole new foundation, and it never even had electrical or plumbing so…

A Big Positive Shift Has Happened

I wrote the first version of the post over the holidays. But I didn’t feel right publishing it. It was pretty dark and negative, despite my trying to make my tone light and playful. A couple of weekends ago I went on a weekend retreat with some of my closest friends, some books, a journal, and lots of moving my body. And a huge personal shift happened. I hesitate to tell you too much, but it was pretty life-altering and I’m hoping this shift sticks (it takes daily work). A real mind/body/spirit experience that was actually so simple. I was berating myself pretty terribly last year and now I’m not. I released those thoughts, surrendered, asked for help, and feel totally and wildly different. Those of you who can relate are nodding heads, others are scratching them or eyes are rolling. IYKYK. I have my daily mantras, journal, and meditate and all I can say is that I feel like a cloud has lifted and even on the darkest and wettest of days I can see the positive again. On January 4th I was crying to Brian saying that I’m worried I lost my superpower forever, and I can honestly say that since that experience I’m back. It’s a whole thing that I’ll tell you about someday (I read this book – ignore the cover – if you are curious for yourself). Still processing what happened to drive me into that negative space, and what amazing thing happened that brought me out, but yes, the next chapter of my spiritual journey is underway (read this post about my experience in the Mormon religion if you haven’t). I feel pretty darn excited and full of gratefulness and hope. I’ve stopped comparing myself to others (something that was a daily battle for the last two years) and just feel so much healthier mentally.

So Was Moving To Portland The Right Decision????

YES. I mean, I’m so happy to report that in February 2023 I really, really really think Portland is such a great fit for our family. I can now recognize that while my life in Arrowhead was full of ease and simplicity, left to my own devices up there I don’t think I would have challenged myself, creatively or personally. I feel like my biggest challenge will be retaining that sense of slowness when deadlines are looming, and y’all I think it’s going OK. Those who have followed for a long time (thank you) will hopefully feel or see a difference – yes, the reveals are more spread out, but there is so much more balance which allows me to love it so much more again.

Do You Still Miss Arrowhead?

Sure, in theory, but not the day-to-day ache like it was at the beginning. Time does really mellow that longing. Plus going back twice a year for a chunk of time (if not more) and knowing that it will always be there helps tremendously. It’s just not our time right now:) But the truth is I think what I loved so much about it was the easy energy, the family time, nature, me learning how to relax for the first time in my adult life, with no pull from a busy city – and I can get all of those things here on the farm. I will always miss the morning plunges in the winter lake after a run, but y’all, we are figuring out where we can put in a cold plunge, so there’s that! While I think about my summer fling, right now I am so happy we chose this life for our family.

Thank you 🙂

I told you it would be self-indulgent. I think I just needed to get it out. For those of you still reading, thank you. You are the reason I’m still here and I’m SO grateful, especially for you daily (or weekly) readers. And always, thanks to my team for being with me, supporting me more on the days that I need it, and being open to sharing all our ups and downs which actually makes us all feel safer, better, and less alone. The ups don’t feel as good without the downs, and while I don’t tell you everything that is happening in my personal or even professional life, I know that I’m not alone and neither are you. Thank you so much for being here. xx

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