Tag Archives: moving

People, Places, Things

27 Oct

PerfectI’ve been thinking about the environment I want to live in this week; moving to Spokane has made me aware of how important my living environment is, beyond my immediate home.

During my last trip home to rural Michigan I saw deer, coyotes, rabbits, raccoons, skunks, possums, porcupines, turtles, turkeys, and hawks.  There are a dozen lakes and two rivers within ten miles of where I grew up.  My community was small but close-knit.  Even now, years after moving away, I’m still welcomed with genuine affection every time I come back to visit.

When I lived in Tahoe I commuted 40 minutes each way in the winter; it didn’t matter how overworked, tired, or stressed I felt, I always enjoyed that drive.  Who wouldn’t?  I drove past Lake Tahoe, through picturesque mountain towns, and up to the breath-taking Donner Summit to go ski.  All of those gorgeous things were just part of my trip to work, part of my environment.  The people I met were usually interesting; everyone was pursuing some ambition.  My passion for skiing meant I fit in.

My brief stint in Reno was pleasant.  I could see Mt. Rose in the distance (but not too distant) and the Truckee River ran right through downtown.  At night the strip was a blur of neon and tourists.  Between the casinos and the high unemployment, there were a lot of desperate people, but I still felt safe walking alone.  I felt like I could be every part of myself there, without having to explain anything to anyone.

I haven’t found much to appreciate in Spokane.  The fall colors are nice, but that’s temporary.  The people I meet seem far more settled than I want to be.  People my age are married and own houses.  Good or bad, they have careers.  No one seems to be trying anything new, or deviating from the American dream if they can help it.  My wanderlust makes me an oddity, so I’ve stopped sharing much personal information.  I don’t belong here.

I think I have a lot to learn about the type of environment I want to live in.  I don’t think it’s the geography that matters (as long as I can ski), or the population density.  Instead, I think I want to live somewhere where there are interesting, ambitious people.  People who are eager to try new things, who like to experiment.  The people I surround myself with change my core story.

I plan to move  to Los Angeles this spring.  I’ve never lived anywhere like it, and I’m very interested to learn how I feel about that environment.  Will I find it challenging and stimulating?  Or will it feel too busy and overwhelming?  What will I learn there?

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What makes an environment home for you?  Is it the people?  Is the setting enough?  Do you consider other things entirely?


Hello Universe: Self-Compassion

10 Oct

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to bring my attention to this week.  I did quite well staying focused and maintaining some discipline in the past week, but part of me kept saying that a week, even a successful week, isn’t enough.  It can’t possibly be a habit yet, can it?  What if it’s just a fluke and I haven’t really made any progress?

Fortunately the larger part of me had the sense to remember that I am after progress, not perfection.  No, a week isn’t long enough to turn a goal into a habit, but that was never the point.  The point was to try being more focused and disciplined and not only did I try, I did quite nicely.  I was tempted to make this week’s goal “smothering my Voice of Defeat with a pillow,” but I had a better idea.

What I Want

I want to learn self-compassion.  I actually had to do a little research for this because I’ve never really thought about it before, and the best definition I found is from The Free Dictionary:

“Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.”
Except before I can truly offer compassion others, I need to learn to offer it to myself.  If I’m trying to connect with others, I need to have a compassionate connection with myself.

The Potential I Can See

I think learning to treat myself with compassion will help me with most of my current goals.

  • It will help me connect with others, and form healthy, loving relationships.
  • I’ll learn to compassionately acknowledge the problem, instead of completely over-thinking it.
  • It will help me be less judgmental about my original core story, making it easier for me to let go and build something better.
  • I’m trying to create a career, prepare to leave Spokane, and a few other adventures.  It won’t always go as planned, and learning compassion will help me treat myself with care and kindness so I can continue to progress, even after failure.

My Commitment

I commit to paying attention to these signs from that I’m being more critical than is necessary:

  • Comparing myself to others and putting myself down
  • Giving up on doing something because I feel it’s hopeless
  • Worrying about what might happen in the future
  • Being a perfectionist

I commit to trying to remember these steps to empathy from Ode Magazine:

  1. Just like me, this person is seeking happiness in his/her life.
  2. Just like me, this person is trying to avoid suffering in his/her life.
  3. Just like me, this person has known sadness, loneliness and despair.
  4. Just like me, this person is seeking to fill his/her needs.
  5. Just like me, this person is learning about life.


Are you offering yourself compassion?  Here’s a test to evaluate how self-compassionate you are.  Any advice for being more compassionate, both toward myself or others?

The Catalyst for Change

7 Oct

Three years ago I arrived in Truckee, California.  Several days earlier I’d left Michigan, where I’d lived my entire life, and drove out there via the scenic route.  At that time, all I knew was that I needed a change.  I didn’t know what I needed and I certainly didn’t know how I was going to do it, but moving across the country seemed like a good first step.

It was.  Sure, moving across the country in a reliable car, without having to borrow money, or at least having a job waiting would have been a better first step, but I was able to make progress without getting caught up in perfection.

Moving did not solve my problems, but it did show me which problems were caused by my circumstances and which problems were caused by me.  Moving did change my circumstances and it showed me that I can do big, life-changing things pretty much any time I want to, if I just take that first leap.

I made my first step toward change because I was incredibly unhappy and didn’t know how to help myself; all I could do was something drastic.  Is it like that for everyone?  Is change usually brought on by duress?  What happens when things get better — do you keep trying to change or do you become satisfied?

I guess the short version of what I’m asking is what’s your catalyst for change?

4 Places I Might Move

1 Sep

Earlier this week I wrote that I don’t belong in Spokane, so a friend asked me the logical question: where am I going to go next?  Good question.  My lease here goes through April, and it makes sense to stay somewhere where the cost of living is this cheap while I try to get my career out of the kitchen.  That being said, eight months is enough time to start bringing in some sort of reliable, misery-free income and it will be more than enough time in Spokane.

So where am I going to go when it’s time to get out of here?  I don’t know, but here’s the list thus far:

  1. Seattle.  The original plan was to go to school in Spokane for a year and then move to Seattle to finish school, but my school plans have been dramatically changed.  Seattle seems like an amazing city, and I’ve actually wanted to live there for several years, but I’m not sure April will be the right time.
  2. Tahoe.  Skiing is what I love and what makes me happiest, so I’m very tempted to go back to Tahoe.  I loved it there and I have friends there and there are even a couple of community colleges there.  However, Tahoe is very expensive and the housing market is crazy.  I think it’s the place I want to live my life, but not necessarily the place I want to build my life.
  3. The Bay Area.  Two of my closest friends are going to school here; I could join them there and get back on track with school without being too far away from Tahoe and my favorite ski area.  This option seems the most practical.
  4. Los Angeles.  I can’t imagine staying there long-term, but I do have a couple of friends there and I’d love to try experience living in a city like that.  It’s feels like the opposite of Spokane, and that might be what I need when I leave here.  I could live there until the ski season starts and then head to Tahoe for the winter.  After a summer in L. A. and a winter in Tahoe, I’ll probably be motivated to attempt school again and far more clear on what I want from my life.  This option feels shiniest.

Right now I’m feeling very overwhelmed by how far my life is from where I want it, but I do see numerous ways that I can have a good life.  I think I need to decide where I want to be, in body, career, and mind, next May and create a plan to get me there.  I’m approaching the problem from too many angles, and I need a more direct, targeted method.

Wonderful Spokane?

30 Jul
Spokane river as it flows passed Canada Island...

Image via Wikipedia

I just read through all of my Reverb10 posts.  A few of them are still very relevant, perhaps even more so now than ever.  Moving to Spokane, away from the awe-inspiring Sierra Nevadas, has decreased my sense of wonder dramatically.  To be honest, I routinely hate it here.  It’s a nice place, with nice people, and I’m getting that Biggest Little City in the World vibe (without the vice) that I so enjoy.  Unfortunately there’s nothing here that just takes my breath away the way Tahoe did.

I’m not sure Spokane is the place to capture the thrill of living, but I’m here for the next year.  I think the best way to embrace the situation is to spend time working on me and to experience a sense of wonder in my own accomplishments.  Maybe I need to be here so I can change my core story.

One thing that will help, is to take more risks.  I need to push myself in new ways, and I can’t let habit and security hold me back.  Living in Spokane is one of the safest choices I could have made; now I need to create my own adventures.

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29 Dec
Chess set at Reno competition
Image via Wikipedia

Reverb10: Defining Moment. Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year.  (Author: Kathryn Fitzmaurice)

Moving.  I moved four times in 2010, and it has left me desperately craving stability.  (Yesterday I almost named stability as what I want to achieve in 2011, but I already plan to move at least once, return to school, and find a new job or two.  No sense setting myself up to fail with unrealistic expectation.)

Even so, each of my moves have come from a place of greater stability than the one before.  When I moved in May, it was because my previous living situation had become so volatile that I no longer felt safe there.  When I moved a month later, it was because of an unethical landlord situation.  When I moved from my apartment in Reno to Paul and Tiff’s apartment in Reno, it was due to my desire to continue living with them, and a bit of convenience.  When I moved back to Tahoe in November, I finally moved because it was the best choice for me at the time and continues to be a good choice.  I can see improvement, little by little.

I am here now and I am enjoying my apartment and my town, but I’m also keeping an eye on the next move.  Even as I unpacked, I asked myself if I needed all of these things.  Every time I buy something I think about how I will move it.  I don’t think I’ll be fully settled until I’m in Seattle, where I’ll be able to commit for two years, where I’ll be able to truly establish a home for myself.

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