Say Something

You may be close to giving up on me, so I’m saying something.

I took a break from blogging. For two reasons.

First, my already-full life became overstuffed and I had to let something go. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. I’ve missed it, too.

And second, as Dave so poignantly said the other night, this is “the season of Jen’s discontent.” It makes its first appearances in late October and hangs around through April/May. It’s the Portland Winter.

True, it’s not technically the winter season, but in the Pacific Northwest we experience seasons a bit differently. On our shortest day this year, “sunrise” was at 7:47 and “sunset” was at 4:29. And I use quotes here because many days you don’t actually see the sun, it just gradually gets less dark. And then more dark.

I knew that the “winter blues” was a thing. And it’s not exactly that I didn’t believe it was real, but I just didn’t worry about it until I made it through my first winter (and spring) and finally arrived at a different place emotionally when the temps were up and the sun was out more consistently and for longer hours. And I realized just how much I’m affected by the weather and sunshine.

But wait, there’s more. Each fall since we’ve lived here, I start daydreaming about moving. Somewhere warmer, dryer, brighter. At first, I also wanted to be near family. It was hard spending holidays and birthdays and normal days thousands of miles away.

And it grew.

While I LOVE the summers here (cool mornings and evenings, warm-but-not-too-hot days, tons of sunshine, and just gorgeous views), the wanting-to-move stays pretty constant throughout the year. I think the difference is I get really sad about it during the winter. And the desire turns to escapism.

Lately though, the pervasive desire has been to live near family. Mine and Dave’s. Spending this past thanksgiving in a big beach house with my parents, siblings, and their families was a dream come true. It was hard to even sleep; I just wanted to be with everyone all the time. I miss my family so much.

Oddly enough, the weather isn’t bothering me much this season. We’ve had a somewhat mild winter and I’ve been diligent about taking my vitamin D. But more than that, Beaverton really feels like home. We have awesome friends-like-family who live a few doors down, and the strength of our social connections is carrying us.

The Portland Metro is a great fit for us in terms of ethos, culture, values, and general vibe. We fit here. We like it here. We don’t really want to leave this place.

But there’s a deep yearning in me. It’s not a desire to leave. I don’t want to escape the winter or weather or lack of sun. I mean, it would be nice, but that’s not my desire. I just want to be near family. I want to have coffee with my mom, do yoga with my sister, take walks with my dad, play games with my brothers, and watch all the cousins get into mischief of one kind or another.

And I want to do these things on the regular. Not every few years.

I might be deceiving myself (I’ve been know to do that). But I really believe this is different than my previous longings. It feels more pure, more healthy, more true to who I am and what’s most important to me.

When I was a kid, we moved around. Not as much as some, but every five years or so. We never lived closer than a 9-hour drive from cousins and grandparents. We drove back often in those early years, and less often as we moved farther away. I’ve always had a relationship with grandparents and most aunts and uncles, but cousins feel farther away.

Ever since we started having children, one of the things I wanted for them was close proximity to and relationship with their extended family. It’s a lot to ask when the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins now live in: Asheville, NC; Austin, TX; Beaverton, OR; Boston, MA; and Orlando, FL.

We are just so. far. apart.

All of this has been weighing on me lately and kept me in a funk. But I’m shifting gears. I did a thing last night just before the clock struck twelve. I bought a second domain name and started “dreamlining” (brainstorming and sketching out plans for something I’ve been dreaming about).

More to come on that soon, as well as goals for 2019. I’m super pumped about what’s on the horizon – stay tuned for more awesome. And thanks for sharing the journey. Here’s to our best year yet!

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