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I’ve been doing a lot of introspective thought recently, specifically because I completed the 12 weeks of reading exercises outlined in the book The Artist’s Way. I don’t know that I believe in magic, but my life at the end of the 12 weeks looks very different from where I started.

One of the thoughts that used to constantly pop up in my head (for years) is the idea that if I moved away, everything would be better.

Now, that’s probably a fairly common thought for those of us in Grays Harbor, home of Kurt Cobain and a lot of people who regularly complain about their hometown (and yet never leave except to go to Costco on the weekends).

When times got tough, Eric and I would often consider moving to Olympia. It’s close enough but also feels lightyears away from Aberdeen. However, the cost of housing is a good jump up from living in Aberdeen. And I never could put my finger on why the decision didn’t seem more compelling.

My introspection led me to some realizations. I love Grays Harbor. There I said it! Like, I feel joy when I come over the bluff, lining the Chehalis River and see a bright sun shining rays through dark clouds onto a gray harbor. I can’t leave… at least not right now (never say never)… and the benefits far outweigh the costs.

When I was offered my new job, I realized that THIS WAS THE MOMENT when we really could move to Olympia – but I had absolutely no desire for it.

Why? I love my small town. I love walking everywhere. I love knowing everyone. I love that nobody else likes it here. Because it makes me feel like I’ve got some kind of secret of life that nobody can see.

Then there are weekends like this that confirm it all. Sunny days. A short drive to the beach and a lot of quality time with my family. No jam packed schedules, traffic or even the temptation to use shopping as entertainment (because we don’t have a mall or a Target). Just virtually empty beaches and a few hidden gems like The Loge for some quality lattes and atmosphere.

I was recently telling my new coworkers about a road trip I took nearly 7 years ago around the US, reaching 33 states in about 6 weeks. It was on that trip that I realized many places are essentially the same, fully of people with dreams, goals and busy lives. Yes, some towns have Targets. But once you really get into the nitty gritty of what you need to live and how you want to live, you’ll find many places fit the bill… including the one you’re in right now.