“I couldn’t say what I thought I’d find there, but I knew Paris would give me something I couldn’t find anywhere else.” -Kate Betts, My Paris Dream
Life has a funny, and masterfully gifted way of revealing to each of us what we need. At the time we may not realize why or when the realization will hit us or occur in that cliched “lightbulb moment”, but it seems life really does catalog events, sites, destinations and experiences to be applied at a later date when most needed.
As I promised, I will be taking TSLL readers along with me on the journey, and without question, the adventure of relocating to Bend, Oregon. Part of the journey for me right now is realizing I only have a few more months in the house I have made a home. Accepting this fact tugs at my heart because it will be extremely hard to say goodbye to the house that has been a muse in so many ways when it came to the creation of this blog.
However, this is not really a post about me, or my journey. But rather a reminder that each of us has the capability, the creativity and the gumption, should we choose to tap into it, to make wherever we live into a home we love. The key phrase in the statement I wrote above regarding my house is “I have made [it] a home”.
While yes, location and good bones are key, it is the person who resides within that will turn the house/apartment/loft/studio into a home.
Over the past five years, dare I say the entire time I’ve lived in my house, so nine years, I have discovered, cultivated and refined the way I live so that it magnifies what I love, supports the dreams I am chasing and let’s go of the unnecessary weights, stresses and tasks that do not align with my purpose or passion. Such a revelation takes time, and without question, the journey, the editing process will continue, but what I’d like to share today are 20 ways to consider as you too design the life you desire to live no matter where you call home.
1. Create a foundational structure of daily routines, rituals. Favorite tea? Stock it. Basic breakfast? Shop for it.
2. Add flowers. Have on hand three basic vases: bud, square, narrow circular.
3. Find and establish your fitness routine, yoga studio, walking path, biking trail, etc.
4. Update publications/newspaper/magazine delivery address to your new location.
5. Less is more. Add new furniture and decor gradually as you realize what would be best. Live in the space. Don’t rush.
6. Invest in the following: sofa, kitchen appliances (dishwasher, stove, fridge), mattress, kitchen table, rugs. This will take time, but your patience will pay off.
7. Continue doing what you love, just be willing to do it differently. For me it will be writing, spending time with my dogs, exploring and getting outside.
8. Explore your neighborhood. Find a favorite cafe, grocery store, bakery, restaurant, bookstore and farmer’s market.
9. Ask around about a reputable hairstylist. Ask women whose style or color you are drawn to: Do not be shy.
10. Have a yard sale before you go and be brave as you edit. You really can live with less. Keep what you use and love, not what you might use in the future. They have stores where you are going!
12. Don’t replicate, choose rather to update. Choose this opportunity to apply the lessons you’ve learned and avoid the mistakes you’ve made in the past. Whether it’s the house you purchase/rent, the person you were, but now have evolved from, the people you tend to gravitate toward, but know you shouldn’t, step beyond and don’t stay safely in the past and what you know. Simply because you don’t know exactly how it will all work out, doesn’t mean it won’t.
13. Subscribe or follow local blogs, newsletters and events pages. Pick and choose events and meetings to attend to learn more and discover what speaks to you.
14. Add gradually to the empty closet. Moving provides the ideal opportunity to only bring with you the clothes you wear each season. Do not pack any clothes that you haven’t worn in the past year. Keep your closet sparse. You are starting a new life, be open to truly discovering and cultivating your present signature style.
15. Bring in nature. Whether it is an herb garden in terra cotta pots or hanging a bird feeder outside a window, you will never feel alone when you’re doing your small part to be aware and appreciate of Mother Nature.
16. Style a reading or cozy nook in your new place. For either reading, relaxing, sipping tea and watching your favorite shows in the evening, find your ideal chair, place a small pedestal table next to it and don’t forget the throw and pillows.
17. Say yes to local acquaintances that offer their help, an invitation or suggestions. The best way to see the heartbeat of the town is to see it through the ones who live there. The more perspectives the better will give you an authentic feel for what to do, where to go and what makes the town hum along.
18. Leave your present job/house/town on good terms. In the coming months, I will share a checklist of what to tend to in order to ensure a seamless move both logistically and emotionally.
19. Always remember the following to keep yourself moving forward even when what you’re leaving behind is a place that treated you well: “There comes a day when you realize that turning the page is the best feeling in the world, because you realize that there is so much more to the book than the page you were stuck on.” -Zayn Malik
20. Pick up a journal. Write and document all that you are feeling because it will change and change quickly as you assimilate to your new town and way of life. You want to be able to look back and remember, learn and appreciate how far you have come. You will be amazed because the journey will be unique and beyond memorable.
I can’t explain as well as I’d like why Bend is the right place for me, but I do know that when I was a young girl and I visited it for the first time, it left a lovely memory. Each time I visited, something spoke to me, and while I didn’t know the language it was speaking at the time, I tucked it away somewhere to be translated when I was better able to understand.
Much like the quote at the top of the post from Kate Betts, I don’t know what I will find in Bend, but I know it has something to offer me that no other place can. And that is why I am gladly welcoming this adventure. So long as we realize that the truth to creating the life we need is more within our power than we realize, so long as we realize that by tending to simple details that can make a tremendous, a grand life awaits. We really can be the curators of our one and only life.
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