I reached out to Sarah on Megan's recommendation. I had no idea who she was or what she did or how old she was or anything at all about her. I really love meeting people in that way... especially when the meeting goes as well as this one did. Sarah was hesitant to accept my invitation to participate here because she didn't think she was doing anything extraordinary. I assured her, as I have many others, that being extraordinary isn't what this about. But really, each of us is unique and offers something to this world in a way that only we can. We sat in Sarah's massage studio and chatted and chatted. Then, after the official interview, we chatted a bunch more. I am fond of talking with folks in general, but there is something extra nice about finding commonality with peers about all the ills that seem to be very present in this crazy age. Sarah's putting her best foot forward every day and serves as a great example for the rest of us.
How would you describe yourself?
Automatically I would just have to jump to what I do. And I am a massage therapist. I also work with teenagers and ask them a lot how they would describe themselves (laughs), so now I feel like the table has been turned. I would describe myself as an Oregonian who really loves this state and can't really drag myself away from it. And I'm a sister, a daughter, a girlfriend, friend.
What brought you here to Bend?
I actually came here for massage school. I was looking at going to New Mexico or Arizona. I had been living in Eugene and Corvalis and I wanted to get out of the rain. And I had never really considered Bend because I thought Bend was just like Klamath Falls - I grew up near there. And so it was out of the question. No way, no how. And I was traveling through and decided to stop and realized maybe Bend was a different place than I had in mind for my adult life. I went into Silver Moon - this was probably like 10 years ago - and just liked the way the town felt. It seemed like there was good little things going on. And so came back, looked at it again, and then found out that there was a couple massage schools in town and COCC happened to work out for me and what I was looking for and decided to skip out on Arizona and New Mexico and just stay in Oregon. And I'm glad I did.
What motivates you?
Self-improvement. Either learning new things and trying to improve myself or helping others learn new things, improve themselves, take better care of themselves, feel better. Also what motivates me is outside. Outdoors. And also taking care of the natural environment and Earth. Those things all motivate me. Getting outside. Sunshine motivates me.
What does community mean to you?
Community is connection and commitment to people you know around you - your neighbors - but also maybe strangers. Taking care of people. Caring about where you live and putting the extra effort into it. Because I don't necessarily think that community happens naturally - it does to some degree - but it's really about people putting the extra effort in to connect.
Why do you think we should care?
Because what's the point if we don't (laughs)? Because it makes life better if you are intentional and are caring about what's going on and what you're doing with your days. Otherwise, I think time just passes and we look back and say Where'd all the time go? And if you care more about yourself, about the people around you, about your planet, then I think it just is a richer, better life.
What do you appreciate most about this community?
Probably, ultimately, I appreciate the local food scene and movement because when I moved to Bend I had just returned from traveling abroad doing WWOOF-ing, which is Willing Workers On Organic Farms. And I think another thing when I was looking back at Bend and being like Oh, maybe I could live there, I saw that there was Locavore. I think it was actually Locavore then - it maybe was just WWOLF, which is Willing Workers On Local Farms. So, when I moved to Bend I immediately started volunteering with that. I appreciate that local food movement a lot just because I met a ton of friends through WWOLF and Locavore. Met a lot of amazing farmers and people that are working hard and making a difference and are just fun and interesting to be around. When I moved here, there was a couple farms and it's only continued to be more. You see more food at the farmers' market that's been grown in Central Oregon and I just think that's awesome that it's happening over here.
What do you think about the idea of not having enough time?
For me personally, I have fallen such victim to that in the last few years. I know at one point I was just so sick of saying it. If I keep saying this that's all it's gonna be. I feel like there's just not enough. You're always kind of grasping and short of breath almost. I think it's unfortunate that so many of us are living that way. I think that since I kind of just decided that I'm gonna stop saying that as much - I don't know that I've necessarily freed up more of my time, but it feels like it. I don't know. I'd love to help pass that on to other people of somehow changing our mindset about even if we are busy and even if we are going going going - I mean either do the things because you want to do them and accept it or cut some things out. We're just all so over-obligated. Also I think people say it, but also sometimes I feel like it's almost you have to be proud of it. It's almost like a badge that is tempting to wear even though none of us want to be too busy. I would love if we could all just take a breath and make a little more time for things that we enjoy and be lazy from time to time. Be bored from time to time. We need more boredom in our lives (laughs). Technology is another part of the too busy piece. Because we waste little bits of time. I know I do.
Some of it is our mindset, our culture. But then also some of it is necessity, of being able to survive. Either actually live a secure life where you do have food and things - I think that's a small piece of it. But it's like we're so obligated to live this secure life that it's really just about consumerism and that makes us be more busy and then we don't have the time. For a long time I had either been a student or worked not more than 40 hours a week. The last few years I've had a lot of 50/55 hour weeks and instead of being able to go to the thrift store and then another thrift store and then look for something or fix something... I found in the last couple of years, you know I'm just like, Oh well, I have more money now I'm just gonna go buy it. Because I don't have time to do it in these manners that actually help you connect with the world around you and be tactile and develop your skills. Instead, I'm just working to make the money to buy the thing because I take out the whole self-reliance piece. It's just normalized now. It's just the way life is.
What do you wish for the future?
This goes off some of what we were talking about time and being too busy. Gosh, I don't know, maybe I'm just daisy-chaining off that or maybe I'm just romanticizing the past, too. That's possible (laughs). I would like my future to be slower. And to be living in a way that you're more connected to the natural cycles and nature in general. And kind of come back to some of the ways we've been living for however long and now we've changed forever and ever. I don't know. That's probably not going to happen. We're probably gonna go off into space or something... destroy ourselves.... but let's hope not. I think there's a better option out there. I don't know. I would like to see the world slow down. For little pockets of community and towns become more self-reliant. I love how Bend has all the makers and people bringing crafts back to actual functioning and being supportive. I would love it if we were just living in smaller groups of people. (Sighs) I don't know. I guess that's what I want for the future.
Do you have anything else that you want to send out there to the world?
I'm just gonna keep on going on the thread that kinda came up and just to take a deep breath in the morning - maybe when you're in the shower or something - and pay attention to where you're at and slow down a little bit and realize that you can get off the rat wheel. And just don't stress so much about things that don't matter and try to put more thought into the things that do matter to you.