When my husband and I left Los Angeles we didn’t look back.
I didn’t adjust to life in rural Oregon overnight, far from it. But I never pined for my old life in Los Angeles. I attribute much of this to the fact that after 18 years in La La Land, I’d had enough of traffic, pollution and $600,000 starter homes. Fire season made me tremble, especially as we watched the flames lick at the hills behind our house the October before we left. I didn’t greet the trembling earth with nonchalance either. The Northridge quake found Jimmy and me huddled under our dining room table in the wee hours, professing our love for each other. So sure were we that these could be our last moments on earth together.
I didn’t want to live a life where I had to work 60 hours a week just so I could afford to send my daughter to grade school at $15,000 a year. I wanted to give my daughter a sibling but that wasn’t in the cards if we’d stayed.
As easy as it was to leave that life behind, it was enormously hard to let some of the ego stuff go. I was a model in Los Angeles for many years and my husband an actor. We had some fun and exciting experiences that didn’t translate to our new life as New Pioneers. We identified ourselves by what we did, who we knew, what our next career move was. Yet no one in Oregon even knows that we have a somewhat glamorous history. Nor do they particularly care if I wear make up or color the gray out of my hair.
I have recently discovered that I am no longer attached to my old identity. Gray hair, makeup, clothes, and accessories no longer make this woman. I now define myself by my abilities to raise my daughters well; to teach them the things that are truly important like making them strong and self-sufficient.
I will always be grateful for our years in California. They taught me many things and introduced me to many adventures I would not have otherwise had. I made life long friends there. All of that aside though, I feel blessed that I am finally home.