In August when I took a last-minute trip to Portland, I was searching for answers. On the one hand, there were a couple of very important people I needed to meet (hi Jessi & Brooke) and on the other hand I was freaking out. It was the same stuff I dealt with six months prior and six months prior to that. Moving, not knowing, guessing, hoping, disappointing and always searching. For a job, for a house, for a companion, for answers. Somehow it doesn't get less scary no matter how many times you face it. Throughout my stay with my gracious host, I rambled more often than not about the uncertainties I was terrified of. It wasn't just the house or the job or the bills or the boy, it was all of it at once. She broke it down for me. She, with her voracious work ethic and kickass career and beautiful home in an amazing city and a man, who I can tell loves her deeply despite the distance, broke it down. She didn't expect me to figure it all out at once, and she never claimed to have it figured it out herself, but she gets it. She told me to start with the basics. She asked, "Do you have food, water and shelter?" and without a hint of condescension. She said once I figured out how I was going to pay my bills and where I would sleep, that's when I could move onto the other stuff. The career, the friends, the relationship.
I was never actually in danger; I'm incredibly lucky to have people in this world that love me too much to let that happen, but in my mind not knowing the specifics was was big and scary and debilitating. Thinking about it in smaller pieces was the best advice. Despite the strong urge to stay right there in that house bundled up with my sausage dog in that aero bed hiding from the life I started 600+ miles south of there, I packed up and drove back. I was still scared and halfway convinced I would just grab the rest of my stuff and come back to live with Jessi forever, but instead I focused on the basics. I made sure I was doing the best I could at my (then) new job, which allowed me to pay the bills, and then I became proactive about roommate/apartment searching. Somehow I managed to find an affordable*, dog-friendly apartment and two humans to cohabitate with. Both of whom I love to come home and chat with each day and I love it even more when they play tug-of-war with Ziggy and let me laugh at my own jokes. Shortly thereafter I shrieked and squealed and danced around my living room about a job offer, but I know better than to let myself get too comfortable.
I will continue to work hard, pay bills, put (mostly) good food into my body, try to sleep and explore as much as possible. Historically it's when I focus on these things that the others start to fall into place, but that's certainly not to say anything has fallen into any sort of order just yet. Many aspects are still scattered, but in the meantime there are sketchy bars to hang out in, funny dating stories to be had and squishy sausage dogs to be cuddled.
*Affordable is a relative term. This is the Bay Area I'm talking about. Nothing is actually affordable.