Thoughts on DC

Today (when I drafted this) marks three years since I packed my bags and flew to DC to start graduate school. I planned to stay for 21 months and then return to Portland. But, that’s obviously not the path I’ve chosen. I still find myself conflicted about my my decision to live here and my desire to return to the PNW. But if I’m being honest, I actually find myself conflicted about a lot of things – sometimes it’s as if there are two people living inside of me.

One half of me is a rule follower. The half that got (almost) straight As in high school, makes sure instructions are executed correctly, can’t help but show up on time, has anxiety, is shy, disciplined and principled and thinks that a good, successful life can be achieved by making conventional choices. (This is the side I try to project to the world).

The other half of me is more tempestuous. The half that hurls myself at things I want and things I believe with a reckless fire. The half that is terrified of heights but somehow repels over cliffs, jumps into rivers, rides on the back of motorcycles through Mexico (sorry mom), embraces the opportunity to be a naked body double, and wants nothing less than to lead a conventional, safe life. (Maybe it’s immaturity but this half is where all my good stories come from).

I often try to rectify these two parts of my soul and just end up very confused. Should I be in DC, working with fantastic people, at a job that uses my mind (and degree) but also sometimes makes me feel like a hamster? Or should I be in the PNW where following convention doesn’t matter as much? Or should I be somewhere I haven’t even thought of yet doing something that isn’t even on my radar?

I’ve always been a girl with a plan. Working towards “the next thing” motivates me. I don’t know how I’ve done this, but anything I’ve ever REALLY wanted, I’ve somehow made happen – grad school, moving to DC, boys, a scooter, traveling, a marathon (while injured) etc. But the funny thing about life is that you can only plan so much. Now that school is done, I’ve struggled to find purpose in the everyday and find myself wanting to “plan my next step” in order to give my life more structure. I assume I’m not alone in this.

But I’m trying, for the next little bit (see, a plan) to actually embrace where I’m at in life – here in DC with a lot of questions. I don’t know if I’ll stay here or if I’ll return to the PNW or if I’ll end up somewhere else entirely. Rather than constantly having one foot out the door onto my next “goal,” I’m trying to embrace this moment – here, right now.

My initials are “ask” and  my middle name means wisdom. I remember my dad telling me at some point that “smart people challenge things and ask questions.” I’ve always had a lot of questions about what it means to live a “good life” and how I can make it happen. I strive to be a good person, keep a good job, hang out with good people, and invest in good things and I hope that those things together will help me live a good life – even if I don’t know where it will be or what it looks like exactly.

DC people, thanks for making this choice a good one. Portland people, thanks for making this decision a hard one. Cheers to three years and having many, many questions about life!

Live your wisdom

“Live your wisdom” she whispered in that calm soothing voice that yoga instructors and therapists seem to have patented as she bowed to the class, hands clasped in the prayer position above her head.

I had just spent another $23 on a candlelight yoga class in an effort to bring a little zen into my end-of-the-week decompression. I felt good – calm, stretched out, and open.

But what the hell does “open” even mean? And have yoga instructors patented that voice yet? Because in my corner of the, yuppie club, it seems that everything we do to try and live a good life is now a part of someone else’s plan to make money – and be original. The constant quest to be original – and slightly more “zen” and “enlightened” than our neighbor.

But back to the money thing. Have you noticed that all your friends, yoga instructors, acquaintances, coffee shop patrons and lululemon associates are getting online certifications in “wellness.” I googled “online wellness certification” and this is what came up:

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Did you know you could get a degree in “wellness”? Because I didn’t.

But that seems to be the world we are living in. Where friends are using their social media presence to advertise a lifestyle and then they sell the services required to obtain it. In an article that I read, a woman credited her good looks to her “nonalcoholic, mediative, yogic, vegan lifestyle.” And you better believe the article was about her new vegan cookbook.

No longer are we laughing at the pretentiousness of Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP because we are all trying to see how many people we can get to subscribe to our own version. (For the record, I’ve always loved Gwyneth and admired her unabashed pretentiousness. At least she recognizes her place of privilege). I have friends selling “wellness” services that include finding a balanced lifestyle, guided meditation, nutrition counseling, and “mental health.”

I’m not meaning to express opposition to the goal of these services – I embrace wellness, attempt to lead a balanced lifestyle, love working out and an occasional meditative yoga class – but I’m merely questioning the saturation of the selling of these services. Who know that selling “wellness” was such competitive business.

Friends are now competing for the “best” yoga trainings, most original blog content, and grappling for the same client networks. What is sold as a way to find “zen” involves as much advertising as Coke, PR as the Ice Bucket Challenge, and authenticity as buying a pink water bottle to support breast cancer research.

In a world of privilege – where we shop at Whole Foods, buy organic, and exhale as we downward dog – we are all attempting to find balance. We want careers that make money and do good. But do we need to pay our friends and “wellness coaches” to find this?

What happened to communities? Friendships? Can’t we all just form a book club, talk about these ideas and then attempt to put them into practice? Why do we need to pay someone who has a blog and is an expert in “balance” in order find this for ourselves?

I believe in therapy, I believe in counseling, mentoring and all sorts of ways that people can help support others in need. I question the expertise of a person on online certification in “wellness” to answer my ongoing questions about purpose, work-life balance, and health. These are questions I need to answer myself, through living.

Once I’ve found that “wisdom” hopefully I’ll live it, not sell it.



February blues. They happen.

When it’s cold. When you have midterms. When your favorite person is diagnosed with a very bad C word. When you’re craving sunshine and adventure. When you miss living with just the two of you. When boys are confusing. When you’ve been “good” for weeks – just studying, running and no funny late night shenanigans.

That’s when it’s time for something new.

My day at the dude ranch

Rolling grass fields as far as the eye could see

Hi y’all!

If you’re wondering why I’m using the country lingo, it’s because I recently took a field trip to a real, working ranch outside of Sheridan, Oregon. There I learned the difference between a cow, calf, heifer, steer and a bull.

Okay, while it may not have been a “field trip” per-say, I did learn a lot and had the opportunity to watch a private bull riding show. I was invited as a plus-two to a social event put on by the board of an organization my boyfriend’s mom is on. It was a beautiful summer evening and I had a great time at the ranch. Below are some pictures!

This was my best attempt at a ranch outfit…note the boots!
I made a friend! She loved me🙂
These are the bulls they raise for rodeos across the country
More bulls
Bull riding – it was scary to see everything so close! I was afraid they were going to get smashed into the gate or the wall and a few times they almost did!
Crazy bull riding
Crazy bull riding
Beautiful farm land

Rachel’s graduation

Hello friends,

I have a ton of pictures from last weekend’s family festivities and my little sister Rachel’s graduation. She did so well in high school but I know she will excel even more in college. I’m so excited to see what she will do with her life!

The graduate
The intern
My brother, Noah, lookin sharp – Also a graduate as of this week!
The Kane family siblings

With my brother Noah graduating from the University of Oregon, and Rachel graduating from high school, Adam is the only only left at home! He just finished his freshman year of high school. Crazy to think that in just three more short years my parents will probably be downsizing!

It’s official!

I’m going to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. to get my master’s in public policy! I’m so excited. It feels so great to start moving towards a goal – and beyond limbo-land. I have always hated NOT having a plan – and now I have a plan and a course of action for the next two years.

I’m so excited to be a Georgetown Hoya!

I bet you didn’t know that this is how Georgetown welcomes their new students!😉