Sometimes life doesn’t work out as you’d planned. Plans change. People disappoint. Emotions flare and mistakes get made. This is life. You can’t possibly prepare for every circumstance or outcome, so the true test of one’s character is how you respond to these unforeseen obstacles in life. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Will I crumble under the pressure of mounting financial debt? Will I wallow in despair at my “jobless” status and diminishing savings account? Should I allow the actions of others to destroy my personal image and self worth? No.
What did I do? I packed up my shit and I’m moving to Portland.
Yep, that’s right, I’m moving to Portland, Oregon. Like right now. And much like everything else in my life, the decision wasn’t easy. First I was headed to Santa Cruz, then pondering Boulder, Colorado and for two shakes of a lambs tail, Austin, Texas. It was hard to decide, but ultimately, I found the things I truly value in a place to live (and thrive) is a creative, energetic community with more nature than skyscrapers. There are of course pros and cons to each of these cities (I’m well aware Portland has their own), but as a soon-to-be-transplant, Portland fits my bill at the moment.
The few people that did know about the move were concerned about me. They just want the best for me (Thanks, “G-Unit”). So I found myself going through Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs,” attempt to examine my major life choice to move to Portland
- Physical Needs. These are the physical necessities I need in order to survive living in Portland. I am, and will, stretch these definitions if I need to, but for the most part, I’ve got all the bases covered.
- Shelter. I have signed the lease for an apartment in the Hawthorne district of Portland. It’s a one-bedroom, which is going to be a big space for me but I hope it’ll help me keep my mind, and projects, separate. Worst case scenario, I could always sleep in my car, right?
- Warmth. I’ve got a few sweatshirts, and wool socks, and apparently I’m gonna need them to start procreating. Portland averages 222 overcast days a year (not all are rainy), so I’m sure I’ll need to stock up on some more long sleeve shirts. For the most part, I think I’m good here, too.
- Food. True that! This is one that I will need to be creative about. I can really dig in and work eating well (while saving money) by cooking a majority of my meals at home. I’ve heard there isn’t a lot “bad food” in Portland (yay, no fast food!) so it looks like I’m going to be stepping up my cooking game. That could be great, because the apartment has a really cute kitchen.
- Drink. Clean water? Check. Coffee? Double Check. Beer? You bet your fucking taste buds! I can’t wait to dig into the Portland beer culture. Just thinking about it makes me hoppy. (*weh weeeh weeeehhh*) No really, I might get back into home brewing. Who knows. (It’s starting!)
- Safety Needs. Safety comes in many forms, whether it be physical safety, economic safety or emotional and physical safety. These are slightly less solidified in my current plan, but I figure it’s only a matter of time.
- Personal Security. I’m not really sure that this means, but I used to be an advanced greenbelt in Tae Kwan Do, and lately I’ve been feeling like if I really needed to, I could “defend myself.”
- Financial Security. This is the key ingredient which I am just steps away at this point. I’ve got a couple projects to keep me busy and moving forward toward a payday, but there is nothing like the security of a regular paycheck. I have had both kinds of jobs, and honestly, I felt creatively stunted when I had a consistent, biweekly paycheck. The pressure to hustle, the pressure to find work, the pressure to create, is greater when there’s more on the line.
- Health and Well Being. I’ve (kind of) got health insurance and my overall wellbeing at the moment is just above average. I’m about to turn thirty so other than a few aches and pains, I’m in pretty good shape. Getting into better shape is definitely on the agenda for a new start in Portland.
- Love and Belonging. This one is far more complicated than it sounds, and may ultimately end up being the most challenging “need.”
- Friendship. According to Facebook, I currently know four people living in Portland, two of them I haven’t spoken to in seven years, and the other two are more aptly titled “acquaintances.” As I join the workforce, or get drunk at my local pub, I’m going to start finding social groups and places to feel welcome. It’s intimidating as all hell, putting yourself out there to make a new friend, but that’s how you gotta do it (outside of Twitter has tags, #bemyfriend).
- Intimacy. I’d rather not speak about this in too much depth (my mother reads the blog occasionally), but let’s just remember that love, or the search thereof, makes even the smartest people do the stupidest things. Hopefully Portland will fix all this.
- Family. Of course my family won’t be joining me in Portland, they’ll be back in Ojai and Los Angeles, but I couldn’t possibly make this move without their undying support and enthusiasm for the next chapter of my life. They’ve been talking to their friends, friends-of-friends, reading up on the hottest places, and (hopefully) starting to plan a trip to come visit.
- Esteem. The ideas of self-respect and self-esteem are rooted on who’s looking at the “self.” Respect is how you feel about yourself, esteem is based on how others feel about you. These can come from a number of things, including:
- Status. I just moved to Portland and I’m technically unemployed.
- Responsibility. I currently have no responsibilities, other than to my projects and my debtors.
- Reputation. I’m brand new in Portland. They don’t know me! The only thing they’ll be able to use to learn about me is the internet, and maybe my blog, which means they’ll probably read this post. (If you’re in the future and we just met in Portland, let’s hang out! I’m a nice guy!)
- Respect. This concept could take up an entire post (as these all could) but I feel the respect will come when I consistently put my best self out there, under promise and over deliver, in the workplace and in my new social spheres. Basically, don’t be an asshole and always keep your word. Got it.
- Self-actualization. How is moving to Portland going to help me become the best version of myself? I think the creativity going on there, coupled with the unique culture, is exactly what I’m going to need in the coming months to push out my biggest projects to date. I truly believe being in Portland will help me achieve my short term goals and set me up for success with my long term goals.
I think I’m good, so I’m going for it. If you’re reading this soon after I first posted it (Tuesday, August 11, 8:00 AM-6:00 PM) I am currently driving up the 5 highway toward my new home, Portland, Oregon.
If you’re in Portland and I haven’t reached out to, it’s 100% because I don’t know you live there. Please, let me know you’re in Portland! I want to see you!
And if you’ve got the time, maybe try giving me a call during my 10 hour car drive today. I promise, I’ll really appreciate the company.