Friday, April 26, 2013

Adjusting to a New Life

There's a saying "be careful what you wish for" and for the past decade, all I have wanted is to quit my full-time job in Los Angeles and write.

When my husband's job moved us to Portland, Oregon in January, I was over the moon. At last my dream was coming true but somehow, things didn't quite work out how I imagined.

This is what I imagined: Getting up at a decent hour (I used to wake at 4.30 AM to write before work) with a leisurely cup of coffee followed by a few hours of serious writing. Ideas would pour into my mind. I'd type away with a huge, contented smile on my face—possibly working on two or three projects at the same time.

I'd make a healthy lunch and lose 10 pounds because I wasn't tempted by office snacks. Afterwards, I'd take a leisurely walk along the river (it's beautiful here) or perhaps an exercise class. I'd be thin. Toned. Radiant. Gorgeous.

I'd spend another couple of hours at my writing—rattle off a few emails, play on Facebook, phone my mother and the friends I never had time for whilst living in Los Angeles. At 4 PM I'd stop for a traditional cup of English tea and read a book for an hour. After that, I'd cook something absolutely fabulous for supper—possibly French—greet my husband at the door like a 1950's housewife and we'd share our day.

How wrong could I be!!

First of all ...I've discovered that without a rigid structure to my day, all my self-discipline has flown out the window.  When I worked full-time my days were ruled by panic and the fear that I would never turn my books in on time. It was what got me out of bed at 4.30 AM.

Secondly ... I really really miss my work people. Being part of a crazy advertising environment was actually a lot of fun. True, it was insane and very stressful but a true mine of inspiration when it came to devising murder plots and selecting victims.

Thirdly ... it rains. Okay - as I am typing this, it is day 3 of sun which is apparently really unusual. Yes, I'm British and I should be used to the weather by now, but after twenty years in sunny California it's very hard staring at a gray sky day in—day out. Apparently, Portlandians (and do check that series out because Portland is exactly like the show) say that summer officially begins on July 5. I have to find the funny though because last year when my husband and I were gripped by the American TV version of The Killing, I would say "Good God. I can't imagine living somewhere so dreary where it rains all the time! I'd kill myself." And here we are ... months later living exactly where it rains all the time. Of course, I miss my little feline friend, Mr. Tig so I suspect that hasn't helped.

And as for exercise. Honestly. Up until yesterday I would have said I didn't care but we just enrolled in "Full-Tilt Spin" classes at Firebrand. I'll say one thing for Portland, it's pretty innovative. It's probably a good thing because the food in Portland is amazing.


Oh! And I missed out a vital fact that although I have essentially given up full-time work in high-rise office, I'm still available "remotely" 24-7 to my Los Angeles boss ... and believe me, he takes advantage of that ... and I don't mind! I'm starved of conversation.

But grumbling apart, I know I'm lucky and as my mother would say, "only you can change your attitude." So ... that's what I'm going to do. Right after I've eaten the last slice of chocolate cake.


If anyone would like to share their moving-to-a-new-city story with me, I'd love to hear it!

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