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So, this weekend I spent a few days with a friend that I haven’t been in touch with for over 10 years! I know, crazy! We met during our freshman year of college at ASU, and we were instantly thick as thieves. We were BFFs for the next 7 years, and then we had a falling out of massive proportions, never to speak again. Until…enter Facebook! We recently reconnected and she flew here last Friday so we could spend some time connecting.

Well, my friend was pretty floored at the life that I have in Portland. She was amazed by how pretty and green everything is (she lives in Las Vegas), she swooned over Urban Waxx and my fab team, and by how friendly everyone was, and most of all by how HAPPY everyone seemed to be. It really got me thinking. Isn’t happiness an intangible that everyone should be able to have? I mean what is a life if it isn’t filled with little joys every day. For me, these little joys happen all the time. Seeing Stella flash her toothy grin at me first thing in the morning, hearing my hubs coming up the stairs from work, a steaming cup of Stumptown coffee first thing in the morning, the sight of Mt. Hood on a super clear day, spotting the first bud of a crocus this morning in a planter downtown. All of these things give me a little thrill, and so much more. But I do feel that the life we have in Portland is different. It seems, hmm, how an I put it into words? Cleaner? More distilled? 
There is something so wonderful about walking into a store downtown and being greeted with smiles. Or walking on a street and stopping to chat about someone’s puppy, or child, or cockatoo on their shoulder. Now, I know I may sound a bit Pollyanna, but I feel so lucky to be in Portland. People here are kind, and quirky, and fierce in a completely non fake way. It feels good to be alive, and most importantly, I feel like ME. I also feel quite strongly about the fact that we CHOOSE to be happy. Everyone has the duty to create their own destiny, to carve out their own niche in this nutty world, and to make it beautiful, even if it’s in a tiny way.
Here is a little story that I feel exemplifies Portland in a nutshell: On Sunday the lovely Brooke had a girls only, formal dress Oscar party. It was TOO much fun, and the dozens of empty champagne bottles were proof enough. Well, I brought my long lost friend and she was dazzled by how warm, and fun, and real everyone was. It was a great time. Anyway, fast forward to the end of the night. Her phone is lost. I assume that it’s under a pillow somewhere and we’ll find it the morning. She, instead, went to a darker place. She thought that someone had taken it. I couldn’t convince her enough that there was no way that would happen. That we were surrounded by love and friends and that the phone would turn up. She wasn’t buying it.
The next morning Brooke calls to tell me that the phone was found under a couch cushion (I rest my case). Brooke then goes on to tell me that she was woken up that morning by the doorbell ringing. A man was standing there with Brooke’s wallet in his hand. Apparently, Brooke had continued the festivities with some of her girlfriends at a pub down the street the evening before. She dropped her wallet 3 blocks away, the man retrieved it from the sidewalk, and returned it to Brooke in the morning, with everything inside untouched. Pretty cool.
I’m not saying that I live in a freaking bubble. I know there is bad people and bad things everywhere. But I also feel that it is incredibly important to focus on the good things and the good people, the beauty and the little exchanges that make us so perfectly human. Life is what we make of it, and if each of us smiles at a passer by, or helps someone who is hurting, or returns a lost wallet, well then, the world will be a better place.
I love my friend and I know she’ll read this. Happiness isn’t finite. There is enough to go around, I promise you. So, jump in. The water is warm and wonderful! xo