Why We Are Moving The Janes Family From Los Angeles To Oklahoma City
“The best answer I can give is: why not?”
Within just three months we’ve discovered a new city, bought a house, and begun the move halfway across the country to Oklahoma City.
It’s pretty darn exciting and goes to show how anything can happen.
We had no intention of moving to this part of the country. NONE.
In your fact, had you looked into a crystal ball in April and told me a move to OKC was even on the cards, I would have laughed so hard and told you fortune telling abilities needed a lot of work.
And yet here we are. Closing on a house and making the 1800 mile trek to the dead center of America.
So why are we making this move?
The best answer I can give is: why not?
Amy and I met fourteen years ago in Los Angeles when I was screening my first movie at BAFTA. We knew pretty darn quickly that this was it. Amy was a producer with a company based at Paramount Pictures, and I was living in England. I asked Amy if she would ever consider moving to England, to which she replied: “Yes, that sounds great… for August”. So I packed my bags for the first time and headed to set up life in the city of Angels.
Two kids later, we often found ourselves talking about moving out of Los Angeles and experiencing something new. But we failed to find a place that excited us both. We must have visited fifteen cities across the country and while they made great weekend getaways nothing ever clicked.
Los Angeles has been immensely kind to us, and we’ve lived a life that people all over the world would die for. Such as, surfing and paddling with the dolphins off Venice beach, year-round outdoor living with the most amazing and eclectic group of friends, big city living with everything available at any hour, hobnobbing within the entertainment capital of the world be it having lunch at Spagos with Larry King or Finn and Ella playing Josh Brolin’s kids in a Cohen Brothers movie. The Janes family has lived and embraced the LA life. It has been brilliant. We are enormously grateful.
But something happened on a brief trip to Oklahoma City that made us all sit up.
We saw this alternative life we could be living and, at that moment, Amy and I found ourselves saying ‘are you thinking what I’m thinking?’
Now I knew nothing about Oklahoma before this trip. It was somewhere in middle America (not sure where – but as it turns out it is directly due east of LA and just above Dallas), it was, and could still have been for all I knew, a dust bowl, and my most significant reference point was its namesake musical.
But, what we found was a city going through a resurgence. A city that has made substantial investments into what it has to offer; from sports teams (it’s now home to an NBA team and the Dodgers triple-A affiliate) to a canal system flanked by restaurants. From a modern streetcar system, to America’s top Olympic training center for whitewater rafting. And, of course, then we can’t discount the outdoors.
The central part of the city is all 1920-1930’s homes with real character, and the tree-lined streets make me think of the good ol’ American family movies I used to watch on Sunday mornings back in England. The closest thing I can put it to is what I imagine Austin was like 15-20 years ago before it boomed.
Driving through the streets, Finn asked what the boys were doing walking along the sidewalk without their parents. The idea that they would be free to walk to the park by themselves was a new concept to him. And that’s when it started to dawn on us that we don’t have much longer left with the kids… they are growing up so fast that in the blink of an eye they’ll be adults. And, wouldn’t it be great if, even for just a short while, we gave them a taste of what being a kid was like outside of the big city?
Later that day we made our way out to a friends family farm and got to experience the kids falling in love with fishing (that’s Finn below), riding horses, and picking dandelions to make fresh lemonade. It was awesome.
There are lots of reasons not to live in Oklahoma City (guns, tornados, public schools struggling to name just a few) just as there are lots of reasons not to live in Los Angeles (guns, fear of a big earthquake, public schools struggling – I see a pattern here).
But the opportunity to learn more about ourselves by switching up our environment is just too tempting. And who knows where it will lead. With Fanology (the digital content and social media agency my wife and I set up in 2010) located in Los Angeles (and a new office just opening three hours south of OKC in Dallas), Amy and I will be flying back to LaLaLand on a monthly basis taking meetings, visiting with friends, and getting our big city fix. But for now, Oklahoma City will be our home, and we will see what wonders that brings to our life.
Some friends counseled us to wait a year and not rush into such a big move. However, the way we see it, life is too short. At the very worst, we’ll learn a great deal about ourselves and move on in a year or two. At the very best we’ll add to our fantastic bucket of friends, learn a great deal about ourselves, and probably move on at some point to open up our eyes to an entirely new experience.
Given the wonderfully warm hospitality of the Okies that I have met so far, their reputation as some of the friendliest people in the US does not let them down. We are already on our way to the best case scenario.
So let me turn this on to you… Making such a big move might be extreme, but what are you doing and where are you going that will open your eyes to other ways of living? Has there been somewhere you found yourself in the past that positively defied your expectation?
Virtually everything in life becomes ‘normal’ after a short amount of time. The blinkers get set, and we think this is the only way we can live. We begin to conform to a societal expectation of ‘how life is’ and that ‘this is the norm’. But it is only the norm for us, and we each have the power to switch things up and introduce new ways of living so that we can get the most out of our days on this planet. Because isn’t that the point? To get the most out of life?
Have you thought about making a change to get more from your life? Remember, it doesn’t have to be as drastic as moving across the country! Leave a comment below and let me know your ideas. I’d love to hear them.
I’ll be sure to keep you posted as our adventure to get the most out of life unfolds…
Author: Richard Janes
Richard Janes is an Emmy winning personal brand expert with a passion for storytelling. His unique approach to personal branding has launched, revived, and catapulted the careers of many actors, athletes, musicians, television hosts, executives, and entrepreneurs.
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