I came to the realization this week, during a visit to Portland, Oregon that every city is the same.

I play the game where I would move often enough and pretend I live in the different places I visit. I try to take note of what would be different about my daily routines. I discount the fanciful daydreams of what I might do or the type of person I could become if only I lived there.

I keep my expectations based in reality. I know moving to a new place won’t turn me into a new, better person overnight, or even over months or years. I am 40 years old and am still the same person I was when I was 20.

I’m a little older, a lot wiser (and wider). I used to think when I turn __ I will ___ and now that I am those ages, I realize, I am the same me I was then. I didn’t become this other Adult Me.

But the same person with the same interests and habits. I am not going to immediately transform into a whole new me by being in a new place. I’m still going to love book stores and movie theaters. I’m going to be drawn to interesting attractions and weird signs. Whether I am outside Washington, DC. or Portland, Oregon, I am going to want to do the same kinds of things.

Each city is a collection of its historical choices that shaped the neighborhoods. Each city has grocery stores and restaurants and recreation and public buildings. There might be more of some than others and one might be a specialty of that city. But overall, it’s a city with city things and city problems.

As I look at what kind of life I want to continue to cultivate and create for myself and my wife, I look at the climate. I look at what kind of life I want to have. What experiences I enjoy most and where can I find a mix of those and other pleasantries.

No place is perfect. There is no perfect city or suburb or place to move. Everywhere is going to have its own problems and irritations.

I want to find a place where I can accept the trade-offs and build a life that pleases me. And we’ve done just that where we are. Sure, it’s not perfect. There is plenty about the DC area I would trade-in if given a crystal ball. But there are so many benefits to the area I’d give up, would it be worth the trade?