Five Years Before Now

In recent years, I’d written before here that I would never move out of state again, because it was really hard to do once. To that I am forced to say, never say never – and that I’m nothing if not an eternal optimist.

I did worry, once the idea of moving to Portland crept into my mind, that maybe I will just always repeat a pattern of making a drastic move five years and starting over, having made a mess of wherever I’d been. But I don’t think that’s what happening here. First of all, I didn’t make a mess of my life in Chicago; I built up a network of loving, wonderful friends – most of whom are incredible women I admire. I worked for a fun company with international name recognition and learned what I like and don’t like doing in my job. I made co-workers into best friends and then, after some time, took my career in the direction I’d been waiting for. I got my life on track in Chicago, in some big ways. And I’m taking some of those ways with me to Portland, or at least what I learned from them.

I never really made a mess of Columbus either, even if it felt like it at the time. I just felt lost, working at a job I hated and no longer wanting to be with my college boyfriend. I was drifting, and I had the sense to make a change for the better. In some ways, this is that — new and improved.

But then again, there are lots of things that are different between this move and my move to Chicago five years ago. When I moved here, I did it without a job and without a home. I’m glad I did it, but I’m even happier to not to do it again. As of this week, I have an apartment lined up in Portland and my company has officially announced that they’re letting me keep my job remotely.

The biggest change from five years ago until now is myself. In 2010, I was self-loathing and on the verge of a depression that hit me hard a few months later. Even though I’ve been through a lot since I got here, I am a lot happier with who I am, and about 100 times more comfortable with myself. I value my time and am clearer on what I want and need in a way I wasn’t then.

If you’re not happy, change something. If you doubt who you are, change the story you tell yourself about yourself.

I want to make the most of my last five weeks here. I’ve been collecting two-second video clips of my last 100 days of living here, and editing it as I go. It’s not even two-thirds done, but I get nervous with every clip I add. One more day gone, I think, and hurry off to count the ones that are left. I look forward to sharing it next month, with everyone here who has meant so much to me in Chicago (and Ohio).

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