It was always in our plan to move to Oregon. That’s where JB’s family lives, it’s where he’s from, it’s where we wanted to raise our children.

Then JB was working for Microsoft, and, well, you don’t quit Microsoft. You stay there as long as you can while they grind everything they can out of you, while simultaneously firehosing money and benefits in your direction. If you stay there long enough, you retire on a bed of gold ingots. Sure, your vocabulary will be replaced with Dilbert-speak, your eyelid will spasm whenever you get a new email, and your teeth will be permanently bared from years of aggressive turf-defending, but you will have a SAILBOAT.

We talked about Oregon a lot in those days, but it was never the right time. There were ladders to climb, promotions to get. My job was going well, too—I’d joined the company when they could only afford to pay starving-artist salaries, and now we were getting fat holiday bonuses.

After an insane amount of work and stress and plotting, JB and his business partners turned Vioguard from a dream into a reality. And he did quit Microsoft, which was a terrifying, epic decision and I’m so proud of him for having the balls to do it.

Forget those sailboats. They’re made of souls.

Somehow during all of this, the months and years just slid right by. The child who was a suspicious newborn will be a suspicious five-year-old next week. We thought we’d have plenty of time to figure out how to get to Oregon before the kids started school, then suddenly we were looking at local school scores and trying to figure out if we should move across town instead.

We ran low on money and we learned we didn’t need it the way we thought we did. We spent a week in Oregon with family and realized we didn’t want those moments to happen only a few times a year. JB’s father had another cancer scare. Traffic has gotten worse and city-living expenses keep piling up.

When the home you want for your family is a few hundred miles from where you’ve made your life, all you can do is keep checking that balance. For years, the scales have tipped in the favor of staying put. The timing wasn’t right. This summer, the scales finally tipped the other way, and it became clear that for a change of that magnitude, the timing will never be right. It will always involve risk and fear and compromise.

So that’s why we put the house on the market. If it sells, we’ll move to Eugene and start a new life there, and JB will continue his work with Vioguard. If it doesn’t sell, we’ll stay put until we figure out the next thing. We’re in a good position, in a lot of ways. Nothing’s forcing our hand with this move. It’s hard, once you’ve made such a big decision, to have no forward momentum—but we can afford to be patient.

At least we took that step, I tell myself. We broke out of the inertia of the timing isn’t right. Fuck the status quo. Fuck being comfortable. Fuck staying still and never reaching out to grab the ring behind the gold, the one that really means something.

August thus far has brought more changes than I ever would have thought possible—and none of them in the area I’d been focused on. Our house hasn’t sold, we don’t appear to be moving any time soon, and yet everything has tipped upside down like a snowglobe: all the little routines and realities floating off in a new direction, sparkling and winking as they catch the light.

Comments

57 Responses to “Why the sign is in the yard”

  1. Amanda on August 24th, 2010 11:44 am

    Good for you! I especially like that you’ve decided to control your own destiny instead of letting life drive you.

    “At least we took that step, I tell myself. We broke out of the inertia of the timing isn’t right. Fuck the status quo. Fuck being comfortable. Fuck staying still and never reaching out to grab the ring behind the gold, the one that really means something.”

  2. jenna mccarthy on August 24th, 2010 11:45 am

    I was an editor at Mademoiselle magazine in New York and I quit (mostly because it was cold in New York, damn it) to move to LA. “You don’t quit Mademoiselle,” my editor told me, but I did–and they made me a West Coast editor and I started freelancing and writing books and that was thirteen years ago and I have NEVER been happier or missed it! :) Someone wise once said you don’t regret the things you do, only the things you don’t. Good luck to you guys.

  3. Pete on August 24th, 2010 11:48 am

    Feel your pain, once the kids get into school all of the previous equations go out the window. Good luck, I’ll be in the same position is six year when my youngest is out of high school.

  4. Locusts and Wild Honey on August 24th, 2010 11:50 am

    Wow, I read this and wonder if I’m looking into my own future. We live in downtown SF in a tiny one-bedroom apartment. For now, it’s perfect. But it lately it has the whiff of impracticality about it.

    Well, here’s to momentum and doing things just because it feels right–not because the timing is right.

  5. Colleen on August 24th, 2010 11:56 am

    “all the little routines and realities floating off in a new direction, sparkling and winking as they catch the light.”

    Gorgeous writing.

  6. Kristen on August 24th, 2010 12:06 pm

    This hits home with me. We are in the process of redoing the kitchen in hopes to possibly put the house up in the spring and free ourselves from such a binding mortgage. I feel like life is too short to not have fun, to only be able to pay the bills, and we want to do something, live, explore.

    Good luck.

  7. Aunt Linda on August 24th, 2010 12:07 pm

    Makes perfect sense. Thanks.

  8. Liz on August 24th, 2010 12:15 pm

    So, this is timely.
    My husband and I have always talked about leaving D.C. “It’s not where we want to raise a family”…but then I keep moving up and specializing in jobs that base us here. He finally looked at me and said “I really don’t want to have young kids in this city. If we’re going to make this move, let’s make this move”

    We’re house hunting this weekend near family. Across the country. I am scared of leaving my network, but almost more scared than not doing that at all. I stepped into a job I can do remotely and if it turns out I hate working remotely than we’ll figure out a next step. Once we decided we were doing it, doing it became easier.

    Of course, I still need to sell my house, so: you know. But the D.C. condo market is a relatively easy sale/rental market and I’m hoping… well, I’m just hoping. You know? Just hoping I can create the kind of life we always discussed.

  9. amy on August 24th, 2010 12:15 pm

    Good for you! I hope it happens for you soon!

  10. Nichole on August 24th, 2010 12:18 pm

    This isn’t really on topic, but I wanted to tell you: I’m pretty sure I overheard someone at the gym talking about Vioguard the other day!

  11. mary on August 24th, 2010 12:18 pm

    ride that roller coaster…I glanced at that quote you shared with us
    I’m afraid of saying “Everything’s complicated right now, But maybe next year” until there are no more years left…love that!

  12. kirida on August 24th, 2010 12:23 pm

    I hope it all works out the way you want it to, Linda. My family lives all the way in the buttplug of the Pacific Ocean and there are days when I would love to just uproot us all and move over there where we would make much less money but I would have so much more in other ways.

  13. Kris on August 24th, 2010 12:26 pm

    I live near Eugene, in a little town called Cottage Grove. The schools in Eugene are awesome, we are getting ready to move to Eugene ourselves. There are so many parades, and celebrations, and festivals all year long, you will love it. I know you come visit often, but nothing beats living here. This coming weekend is the Eugene Celebration. The Lane County Fair was this past week. Your kids will also love it if you take them to a place near Salem called Enchanted Forest. We are going there for my daughters 2nd birthday next week. Then there is Bohemia Mining Days in July in Cottage Grove, blackberry Festival in Lowell, Scandanavian Festival in Junction City. And so much more. Make sure you get the family fun paper every month, it tells all the fun things and nature walks are going on every month. Ok, I am babbling. But if you need a guide to all the fun stuff to do, just let me know, I’m a great guide for the area.

  14. angelica on August 24th, 2010 12:43 pm

    congratulations. my first rule in life is “show up” and my motto is “why not?”

    go for it

  15. Katherine on August 24th, 2010 12:44 pm

    Wow, this spoke so much to me.

    We are in the midst of this RIGHT NOW. Except it involves moving to Canada, meaning we have to fork over piles of money to the government for permission to even move.

    Still, it’s where my husband grew up, it is where his family is. It is where we can picture ourselves ten years from now. Like you, we went to visit last spring, and were sure it was what we wanted.

    We live in Portland, now – we both have great jobs. The idea of leaving it all here, and starting over so far away never seems like a good idea. Andrew’s dad keeps telling us to take it step-by-step, but I can’t help but think that somewhere this move could blow up in our faces… what if we give up all this and FAIL?

    Good for you! I hope everything falls into place, soon.

  16. Lisa May on August 24th, 2010 12:45 pm

    Fuck the status quo is right. Fuck it right in the ear. Is it weird to tell someone you’ve never met that you’re proud of them? I hope not, because I’m proud of you. You guys are so clearly doing the right thing. And as someone who just left her pretty comfy job after ten years to start a coaching business, I will agree that the timing is never right if you’re waiting for the heavens to align *before* you take the first step. But as I’m discovering, it’s that first step that sets things in motion, and eventually the heavens do start to line up, and holy shit your dreams are taking shape.

    So, good for you guys. That gorgeous house of yours will find some lovely new owners very soon, I just know it.

  17. MichelleH on August 24th, 2010 12:46 pm

    My husband and I are attempting to work up this kind of gumption. I did it a few months ago and it backfired to some degree but I’m glad I tried and I don’t think anyone ever regrets going for their dream life. Losing time worrying is the worst regret of all, I think. I hope someone comes soon and puts an offer on that house!!!!

  18. lisak on August 24th, 2010 12:53 pm

    Ooooh, that last paragraph is such a tease! What is sparkling and winking at you?

  19. Navigating the Mothership on August 24th, 2010 1:14 pm

    Nice post. I hope you find a buyer soon and can take us along for the ride as you start your new life in Oregon.

  20. Life of a Doctor's Wife on August 24th, 2010 1:16 pm

    Beautiful. I find change – especially when it is unexpected or happens just out of eyesight – to be terrifying. But somehow you’ve made it sound tantalizing and lovely.

    I hope everything works out exactly the right way – even if that “right way” is not what you expected.

  21. Ali on August 24th, 2010 1:16 pm

    Eugene would totally welcome you.

  22. Christine on August 24th, 2010 1:21 pm

    Oh jeez….I feel that energy you’ve got and the ‘fuck the status quo’ and I am 40 and I don’t even know what the hell I want to be if I effed the status quo and did something else.

    But I babble….
    But you? Pure awesome. Thanks for that post.

  23. victoria on August 24th, 2010 2:01 pm

    You inspire me more than you will ever know.

  24. H on August 24th, 2010 2:56 pm

    I often find that taking action is harder than dealing with the consequences of path I choose.

    Life whizzes by. Taking action is the right thing to do.

  25. Lisa on August 24th, 2010 2:57 pm

    “It will always involve risk and fear and compromise.”

    Love this. We did the exact same thing last year. Hubby quit his very good job, pulled the kids from their schools and we moved back “home” to be near family. There are many days when I wake up and go to bed fearing that we made a mistake, wonder why we risked changing jobs and schools and cursing the compromises we had had to make. But most days it’s all good and it has never felt more perfect. Good luck to you.

  26. Chris J on August 24th, 2010 3:06 pm

    Every now and then, the wifey sends me a little Sundry to read. Usually only when it pertains to our lives. Heh. Needless to say that is at least twice a week. We just made the blind leap of faith and left our home in Las Vegas to the literally greener pastures of Oklahoma. I am from here and have some family here. It has been the hardest move that Heather and I have ever made. We still aren’t sure that we made the right decision, but felt that we would never have the right opportunity to seize our move and hope for the best. So things haven’t worked out yet…but they will. We spent several years in Vegas plotting our eventual escape. Once Vegas gets its hooks in you, it is VERY hard to leave. Oklahoma was supposed to be the simple life…the life that we always wanted. So far it has been more expensive and stressful than we ever anticipated it would be. Anyway, sorry for the ramble, but your columns speak to us, and it’s just good to know that there are other’s out there that don’t have it all figured out yet either. Keep up the good words, we all appreciate it greatly!

  27. telegirl on August 24th, 2010 3:14 pm

    This post spoke to me as well. We just had a major move from Bend to the Portland area and we have a 3 1/2 year old and a 10 month old baby. Where do we want to be when the kids get a little older? We’re not sure but this discussion has been coming up for us a LOT lately. While we like what a bigger city can offer, we are also in love with the idea of a smaller life in a smaller town. Hubby wants to go live in the boondocks (NE Oregon) and raise chickens and livestock and to simplify our lives. Some of that appeals to me but I’m scared. What if my remote job goes away? What if something happened with his job (not likely, but you have to think this through)… what if?

    You’ve gotten past that and I’m still mired in it… the goddamn what ifs. Congratulations on getting on with what you want. I am hopeful that this whole new dream of yours comes to fruition!

  28. Deb on August 24th, 2010 3:29 pm

    Preach it, sister.

    We are also in the midst of a major life change. We’re anticipating putting our house on the market next spring so we can start LIVING instead of just SURVIVING.

    Please tell us – what are your plans for a job?

  29. Lawyerish on August 24th, 2010 3:30 pm

    It’s fantastic that you are taking life by the proverbial horns and making this huge leap. I feel like in my own life the whole “we should…we’d like to…but it’s not the right time” discussion has been happening for years. At some point, we have to MAKE it the right time and force the change rather than waiting for it to happen on its own.

    Thanks for the kick in the pants. And I can’t wait to see your adventure unfold.

  30. Keely on August 24th, 2010 4:54 pm

    Stick with it! Having the guts is the biggest part of the battle! It’s been a slow market in most places, down here in LA fantastic houses are just sitting…

    I wish you the best of luck, it’s always inspiring to hear stories of people deciding to just go for it.

  31. Christine on August 24th, 2010 5:28 pm

    I so understand. I’m an ocean away from where I want my kids to grow up, and so far it’s just not happening and I’m learning to embrace where I am – but I hope that when the time’s right to say “Fuck the timing, let’s just go,” we’ll do it. I so so so hope it all works out for you guys.

  32. Maria on August 24th, 2010 6:07 pm

    I feel kind of like a crazy person being so genuinely invested in all of this. But seriously, I am so INCREDIBLY HAPPY that you guys are on this path.

    We only moved about an hour’s drive away when we decided to embrace TOTAL UPHEAVAL to get closer to family. It was stressful, for sure. But it turned out awesome after the bumpy landing.

    Crossing everything for you guys.

  33. Gnometree on August 24th, 2010 6:33 pm

    I have seen the Viogard stuff come up on my facebook ads column All. The. Time!!! I remember thinking “what a great idea” when I first saw it – and I didn’t even know it was JB!!
    My BIL works for MS and travels to Seattle from Melbourne at least twice a year to worship at their feet and my sister says the same things as you – how much soul can you sell to MS before it starts negatively affecting your life. And it really hard to walk away from when they throw so much at you to make you stay.
    I heard on the news this morning that many of the houses in the US are in negative equity and I immediately thought of you and how hard it must be to make the decision to sell in such a crappy economy.
    I hope it all works out for you

  34. Genie on August 24th, 2010 6:39 pm

    My husband looked over while I was reading this and said “Tell them not to move to Oregon. Someone will get dysentery and they’ll lose bullets whenever they cross a river.” :)

    But I’m still cheering for you all!

  35. Mary on August 24th, 2010 6:59 pm

    I’ve made a similar leap, and have had several people ask how I had the nutsack to do it. An honest answer: there comes a point when it’s harder NOT to take the leap than to do it, and it sounds like that’s where you are. Really–when you know it’s right, and the right thing is sitting there staring at you saying “Well?” You kind of just have to prepare yourself, then go for it. Then you freak out for a while, it stabilizes out, and people ask you at parties how the hell you did that and you shrug and say eh, no big thang. Secretly thinking “I’m so glad I’m finally to the point where it feels like ‘Of COURSE we did that. How could we not?’”

  36. Mel on August 24th, 2010 6:59 pm

    This is so inspiring! We keep talking about the right time to sell our house, pick up and move to Colorado. A HUGE step for us. I hope we get the courage to do this soon…

  37. Joe on August 24th, 2010 7:44 pm

    My wife and I have been having the same discussion, and we had coffee on Sunday morning with two of our best friends who also had the same discussion the night before, and we were all considering the Corvallis area. We both have great jobs an the kids are in a good school here, and we’ll probably never make as much as we are now… but the cost of all that is so high. Right now is not the right now for us, but it’s just a matter of time.

    On a side note… have you read ‘Dies the Fire’ by SM Stirling. It’s a dystopian series set in the Willamette Valley, and a great series. Worth the read. It was what got me interested in Oregon in the first place.

  38. Elsa on August 24th, 2010 8:46 pm

    Oh man, I hear you. I really do.

  39. squandra on August 24th, 2010 10:01 pm

    GOD you’re such a good writer. I’m so glad I read this blog.

  40. Victoria on August 24th, 2010 11:01 pm

    I’m so so proud of you

  41. Anna the planner on August 24th, 2010 11:58 pm

    we made the mammoth decision to move home 2 1/2 years ago, and although it may have limted our careers somewhat we don’t regret it for a second. We live in our dream house with sheep and cows in our paddocks. Family are close by and life has never been simplier. YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT AT ALL

  42. kami on August 25th, 2010 6:49 am

    FYI…these are my favorite posts of yours, thanks :)

  43. TheRachel on August 25th, 2010 7:55 am

    Ah, I hear you. Today is “pack the Uhaul” day for us…and we’re moving from a city where we both have jobs we love (that pay well), are surrounded by wonderful people and my husband’s family. The downside? It is effing cold in this part of Canada for approximately 8.9 months of the year. And my husband wants to surf. And I want to be back on the coast, where I grew up…so off we go, to a city where it will be harder for us to be able to afford a home and neither of us have jobs…yet. Augh.

    So here we go…time to embrace the risk, fear and compromise. Look forward to hearing how your journey progresses.

  44. Kimba on August 25th, 2010 8:41 am

    Thanks Linda! This is wonderful. The sailboats are made of souls! I needed to read this today.

    I appreciate so much that you share your life with the world as you do. Your writing is beautiful, but your perceptions and honesty of your experience is what I love!

  45. Anais on August 25th, 2010 1:18 pm

    Great post. It really hits home for me, because for years now, I’ve been wanting to break free of my comfort zones, but haven’t taken the plunge yet. Your words are an inspiration. Thank you.

    Good luck to you and JB. I hope your house sells soon, so that you guys can move and start your new life.

  46. Mel on August 25th, 2010 1:34 pm

    Congratulations and I hope your house sells soon! I wish you the best!

  47. Karl on August 25th, 2010 4:30 pm

    I quit MS. It was easier for me, because I’d already learned that I have to like what I do. Kudos to JB for doing it, and you for backing him up. You’re right about what the sailboats are made of, IMO. Good luck with selling the house.

  48. Pennsylvania Texan on August 25th, 2010 5:40 pm

    This column, your blog in general, hits home on SO many levels. We left my family in Texas to move to Pittsburgh, PA so we could grow in our marriage. It was the best move for us. Now, we have an eight month old baby and, well, I work and he is in daycare and our family is in Texas and Iowa. I am trying to make my own road and be a WAHM so I can feel fulfilled. The hope is to one day be close to family again – it gets me thinking that one day should be sooner… not later. Thank you for being inspiring on SO many levels.

  49. adequatemom on August 26th, 2010 3:56 pm

    Every time you post about this I get all teared up. I am SO damn proud of you. FUCK INERTIA. And wow, Vioguard is *very* cool! Congrats to JB!

  50. sarah on August 28th, 2010 4:54 pm

    Such a great post. My husband also works for a company made of such promises and stress–that line “those sailboats are made of souls” really resonated with me.

    Moving to where you want to raise your children is like the decision to HAVE those children in the first place–you can always talk yourself out of it or find reasons not to do it. There’s no “perfect” time. It’s all about taking that leap of faith and trusting that the universe will smile on you for it.

  51. Emily on August 28th, 2010 5:10 pm

    Over a year ago, my husband, 2 children and I moved from our home in Boston to my in-laws house so that we could more easily sell our home without the chaos of two kids under the age of 3 in the house. Now that we’ve finally sold, we are in a unique position of not being pressed for time to buy, but do not really have any clear sense of direction for our next destination. We could stay here in CT but have decided to take a leap to a new area in NC. We’ve finally made that decision and hope to act on that decision in January. We are diving right into the deep end without first getting our feet wet. Good luck with your sale!

  52. jen in az on August 29th, 2010 1:56 am

    I’m in the middle of a divorce now, which is completely different than your situation. But, the way this was worded just……well, no words can explain. You have a gift. Can’t wait to read your book.

  53. This, that, and the other « My Two (cents) on September 2nd, 2010 7:26 pm

    [...] But I hope that the balance between us will lead to success in this endeavor. Tonight I read this post from my favorite blogger and it reminded me that we are not the only family in this world who takes [...]

  54. Sheri on September 3rd, 2010 9:32 am

    The sailboats are made of souls…..I almost spit my drink on my keyboard. Perfect.

  55. twisterfish on April 17th, 2012 6:45 pm

    Just found your blog due to a friend who reads your blog and she told me about your move to Oregon. She told me about it since I’ve recently made the scary crazy decision to move across country to Oregon also! I’m now reading about your move with a smile on my face and more confidence than before. Thank you and good luck!

  56. OR Suz on September 9th, 2012 10:42 pm

    When I ditched Seattle for Lane County 3+ yrs. ago, I had stopped reading you.
    Came back for the old henna pix.
    Question is, w/o reading all the archived entries- did you do it?
    And?

  57. OR Suz on September 9th, 2012 10:45 pm

    Well then, never mind. I see that you have and perhaps I should start reading again. I found the transition from Queen Anne to Eugene more difficult that anticipated.

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