The Oregon Pioneer Spirit is Alive and Well!
Being an Oregonian has never been easy, and that "difficulty" is a core of our being. We come from hardy stock.
Have you ever been on the Oregon Trail where you can still see ruts even today? That’s how many of our ancestors arrived. It was an epic journey, taking years to get here. And getting here was only half the adventure. The second half was what to do once you got here. How to earn your keep and truly live the Oregon dream.
Today, the Oregon Trail and its spirit are very much alive.
You may ask why I am reflecting on the trials and tribulations of those who came across that rugged, unforgiving trail.
It’s because I found myself at a crossroads back in 2003. I absolutely love this paradise. My soul is fulfilled. I have a community of friends. The climate is amazing and the beauty is beyond compare. My Oregon home is the best place on the planet for me. It is where I plan to spend the rest of my life.
Sadly, paradise is not always perfect. Life is not simple. And we are often not in control.
There is this one annoying fact: adulthood means we need to be financially secure amid the uncertainty of the U.S. economy. This nudges many people to consider leaving paradise for greener more prosperous pastures. They leave promising that they will return after they’ve earned enough to come home.
So back to the crossroads I faced in March 2003. Things were tough, and I really considered leaving my Oregon bliss. I pondered the balance between the land I loved and the lifestyle needed to support it. I dug deep and thought hard about the situation I was in.
In the end, I realized that uprooting myself wasn’t a viable option. The first problem was that I had no idea where I would go. Believe me, it was a tough decision. The second problem was one of simple economics. Moving to another state would have cost both money and my friendships.
After much reflection and agonizing, I decided it was easier to just make it work here. In Oregon.
So I channeled the pioneering spirit of the ancestors of the Oregon Trail. Like the thousands of people who hopped on a covered wagon and headed west to make it big. I decided to do something here in Oregon. You’re going to laugh, but I sang the famous song to get me through my darkest days.
“This is my home, and I will make here in Oregon.
My heart is here and my heart is in Oregon.
I will live this Oregon dream of mine.”
With these inspiring words in my head, a silly drawing of a state with a green heart was born. Many years later, Heart Stickers is still going strong. And I’m still in my paradise.
As I grow older, I see many folks experiencing the same struggle. I’m sure they face the same question. Should they leave Oregon for greener pastures? Or try to make it big right here.
My advice to everyone is to first do your best here. And I offer my story as encouragement. I want you to know that you’re not alone. Others have worked through this dilemma before and together we are not only surviving but thriving. Just know that with hard work, comes good results.
So, be your own pioneer and live your Oregon dream.
Me? I just keep making stickers.