January 14, 2009

Sometimes I just need a good slap in the face.

I spent Monday and Tuesday of this week in Portland; working from coffee shops I used to call my own, now quite foreign to me. The pace of life in the city is different than I remember. I lived and worked in the heart of it for 5 years and only once in a blue moon noticed it to be busy, hectic, or otherwise chaotic. This time, it was different, or maybe, I was different. The sounds of chaos filled my ears, I felt unsettled behind the wheel of my trusty Subaru as I made my way from one side of town to the other – I wished for my bike.
Intersections were crowded, people moving so quickly, everyone looked to be in a hurry. I know that big cities behave like this, but not Portland… or had it morphed into such a beast in the few years I had been absent, or had my absence altered my view, my expectations?
Taking it all in, I had a renewed appreciation for my small little house on a quite little street in a beautiful town, I forgot about all the reasons I think more opportunity lies in Portland.
I struggle sometimes with my work and career, lack of challenge and direction, I think about what my life would look like if I had remained in the bustling, outdoor industry mecca that now calls Portland home.
With so many opportunities just across the Cascades, I can’t help but wonder, once in a while, about the choices I have made. Sometimes I need a real slap in the face to take note of just how good I have it. No, I don’t have my dream job, but I can ride and run on single track any day of the week. No, I don’t have a fancy car or a huge house, but I have bikes and skis, and a small little cottage that I wouldn’t trade for 10,000 square feet. No, I can’t hand out a business card which reflects stature and success, but I can spend my weekends on any type of ski I choose.
Everyday we make a thousand tiny decisions, most inconsequential, some monumental. Four years ago I made a choice that changed the direction of my life. I came to a junction and took the road less traveled. I may look over my shoulder now and again, but mostly I smile, laugh, cry and continue on.