Archive for the ‘life in chicago’ Tag
If home is truly where the heart is, then Ohio will always be home.
Lately, as the thirties continue to make me more maternal and sentimental than I ever imagined being, I’ve been realizing more and more that my heart has been stranded there since I relocated to Chicago nearly five years ago.
And after a phone call from one of my best friends tonight, who is now a proud papa, I’m anxiously awake trying to gather my thoughts (by typing them out) and missing my friends back in Ohio.
Now I’m not going to sit here and go on and on about how A*MAY*ZING my college years in Ohio were because I’ve done than dozens of times on this blog before. But rather, I feel myself in being pulled back by my love for Ohio- mainly the people there that I love- and trying to fight the urge to go back to the place I once called home (even though my hometown is technically Pittsburgh, PA).
Here I am, thirty-years old and engaged to a great guy, not to be mention that I am living in one of the greatest cities in the world. That being said, there isn’t a thing I can complain about.
But as I mentioned in my last post, being in your late twenties/ thirties brings about its own set of growing up challenges. Life is no longer about being able to go out until 2 AM (or 4 AM here in Chicago) on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Instead, weekends are about visiting with family and friends, catching up on work deadlines, and resting up for the week ahead.
That being said, with the large majority of my (closest) friends living in Ohio and other non-Chicago cities, it’s becoming hard for me to adjust to changes in my life without my friends nearby to join me for the ride.
So here it is, once again: Chicago vs. Ohio. With Cubby’s whole life here in Chicago, not to mention his goals and dreams as well, it doesn’t seem possible that Ohio will be incorporated into our plans.
But, is that what I want?
I guess that’s what I’m trying to figure out.
Lately it seems like I’m trying to figure out a lot of things about my life. #cheerstogrowing up #thirties
For the past two weeks, I’ve been telling myself to Just blog it out. That used to always make you feel better. But the truth is, I’ve stared at this screen many nights trying to do just that and absolutely nothing comes out. There’s no image of motivation, or song lyric for inspiration. No title to begin, and no Answer to Life to end on. So instead I’ve tossed and turned nearly every night trying to figure out what’s going on with me. Where is my head at? What’s causing my sleepless nights? Why can’t I just seem to shake the old Something’s Wrong funk off?
This image of a cartoon Dorothy and the whole Wizard of Oz theme really seem to be the only things that seem to hit the spot with how I’m feeling right now. To put it best, for the past few hours I’ve been finding myself thinking, Where I am?, What am I doing here?, and How did I get here?.
Between you and me, I haven’t felt this lost & confused in a while… which is evident from the lack of blog posts from yours truly. While life has been busy this past year, especially with grad school, internship, and boyfriend, it really hasn’t been that bad. But now, with the end of internship and grad school drawing near, not to mention the lease on the apartment that I’ve lived since moving to Chicago over four years ago, I’m really starting to wonder What’s Next?
As exciting as it is, I’m starting to feel the pressures of my old frenemy, The Unknown.
In my strong moments, I have all the confidence in the world in knowing that after proving to myself that I can make it here, I can make it anywhere. I dream about the possibilities of living in a warmer climate and falling in love with a new city and new job. But when I’m hindered by anxiety and uncertainty, the questions begin swirling around in my head. What about your relationship? What about all your friends and networks here? How can you afford to move somewhere else? Can you really move further away from your family? What if no one will hire you?
There’s just a lot of questions right now, and unfortunately I’m not very close to any answers. But despite all that, I’m far from giving up. If anything, this is really that Time before something Amazing happens and then you find yourself wondering why you were worried in the first place.
I’m waiting for my Something Amazing to happen. I’m ready for all the pieces to come together and I can finally understand what all these blog days (and, essentially, the big move to Chicago) were all about.
More than anything, I’m ready to put aside the books and student loans and find my passion again. It’s visited in bits and pieces over the past two years, but I’m really missing it. I need it back again.
Tonight, for the first time in at least a year, I got off my Brown Line stop and headed down Diversey to the apartment at roughly a decent hour for a weekday night. (Around 6 pm, I believe.) Actually, after getting off the train and heading home- with a detour through Trader Joe’s first- I wondered,Wait, did I make this whole spring break thing up and should really be in class right now? Yes, unfortunately that’s the truth. It sounds like this spring break arrived at the perfect time.
Anyways, as the evening sky darkened, I found myself experiencing some sort of the deja vu. Soon I found myself recalling all of those previous walks home from the train stop that accompanied my relocation to Chicago more than three years ago. As some know, back in the beginning no one- including me- thought that I would make it through the year without moving back to Columbus. However, here I am nearly 3.5 years later, and all I can think about is how much has changed.
For goodness sake, this past year has been an array of changes in itself. From leaving the job that brought here to beginning a full-time grad school program for Child Life, my daily life has kept me on my toes and clinging to any chance of a social life that I could grasp. To tell you the truth, my social life hasn’t been too adventurous lately; however, overall this past year has allotted a fair share of OMG moments. And the wrap-up of this past year couldn’t go without mentioning the boys that somehow found their way into my life. Yeah, some of those situations should more appropriately be classified as WTF moments. However, even thought I had some luck in the guy department this past year, I can stress that there is neither a ring on my finger nor a bun in the oven. Heck, there isn’t even an “It’s complicated” status for this girl anymore.
But then again, while this year has been somewhat adventurous, it also hasn’t been easy. Along with all the changes, I found myself struggling at different points of the year. (Oh well, enough about that.)
As I lay in my bed, ready to fall asleep at the time that I typically arrive home from class, I find myself reflecting back on my time in Chicago and all of the obstacles that I’ve fought to overcome. Wow. It’s really been a wild ride these past 3.5 years, hasn’t it? And to tell you the truth, when I think about every single challenge that I faced, I also remember the friends- either in or outside of Chicago- that helped me adapt to this new life.
While I’m not entirely sure if I’ve reached the point where I truly see Chicago as “home”, I will say that tonight’s walk home allowed me to see just how much of a life I have made for myself here. I guess it’s best to end this post by saying, “I’m glad I came to Chicago in the first place.”
Song of the Moment: Glad You Came by The Wanted
As fireworks lit up the Chicago skyline on Monday night, I laid in my bed falling asleep to the sounds of my city as memories began flashing through my mind. Alone in my apartment for the first time in ten nights, the booms from the finale reminded me that another Fourth of July had passed- and somehow it was my third in Chicago.
In early July 2009, I sat in my friends’ apartment on a hot summer afternoon and had my tarot cards read (for the first time). At the time I was struggling to find my place in Chicago and therefore, hoped to find some ‘answers’ in my reading: Stay in Chicago or Go Back to Columbus? With an open mind and optimistic heart, I shuffled the deck and awaited my fate. (Well at least what I believed to be my fate.) Two years ago, I was a girl with a broken spirit and broken heart trying to figure out who I was and where I belonged. I was lost in a big city and lost within myself, struggling to hold onto what made me ‘me’ and adapt to who I (thought I) needed to be.
Despite looking for every reason to flee, I made the decision to stay in Chicago because I felt (within that) my time wasn’t over yet. I whole-heartedly believe that day was the turning point for me. Not only did I Trust Myself, but I also Believed in Myself for the first time in a long time.
Last Thursday night, nearly two years after my first reading, my same friend entertained me with his tarot cards again. This time my question was different. Much different. This time I knew that Chicago was where I wanted to be, and I was much more confident in who I am in comparison to two years ago. Therefore, I sucked up my confidence- and maybe took another sip of wine- and asked a question that I wanted to ask. A question that has been on my mind, and perhaps the only question I really wanted to know an ‘answer’ to.
Well, like before, the cards aligned fairly well to tell the story of my past & present situations. Yet, two things really stood out to me. The first was this: The thing you desire the most is also the thing you fear the most. Right away I knew what that one thing was because there’s only thing I desire the most; and coincidentally it just so happens to be the one thing I fear the most. LOVE. The only thing that terrifies me for the vulnerability it exposes yet is the reason I keep myself going. The reason I keep searching for answers.
As he summarized my cards, these final words brought along my answer (in the form of clarity): “You’re on your way.” To tell you the truth, that may have been exactly what I needed to hear. Isn’t that all we really ever want to know? That all the effort we put in, each and every day, is worth it? That all the stress and tears are making us stronger? That each person we meet, and those we love, are guiding us along our journey? Isn’t that the only answer we’re searching for in life?
When I made the decision to stay here in Chicago two years ago, I had no idea what to expect. I still only knew a handful of people and my job was still completely unfulfilling. There were no fireworks nor shooting stars making my decision for me. Instead, I trusted the spark within that said, “You’re going to be okay. Just keep trying.” And I must say it was the best decision I’ve ever made because of all the things it’s bestowed to me these last few years.
Most times when we feel a feeling, that spark within us, we have no idea what it means. But don’t worry about figuring that out just yet. Simply trust that feeling and let it guide you along way. Because one day, perhaps two years later, those you’ll finally see those fireworks in the sky and gain a clear understanding of why you felt that spark in the first place.
~This is one of those times when your brain kicks in and tells your heart, ‘Good things are worth waiting for’.~
As soon as I heard the lyrics, don’t be scared to walk alone; don’t be scared to like it, from John Mayer’s Age of Worry, I knew a post was in order. But I sit here, 2 days later not really knowing what to write. In a way I still don’t know, but I’m going to attempt this anyway. Heaven, help me.
If you didn’t (have the pleasure) to know me 2 1/2 years ago, then I’ll let you in on a little secret: I was terrified to move to Chicago. I was afraid of leaving my friends and moving further away from my family. I was worried about moving to a new place where I (really) knew less than a handful of people. I was shaken with fear of living on my own, something I personally vowed that I could never do. But fortunately those days are a thing from the past. Well…for the most part.
I woke up this morning and had this overwhelming feeling that I was in the wrong place. After seeing a few texts from friends and a message in my Inbox from another, I couldn’t shake the notion that I wanted to be anywhere but here. It pained me to rationalize that I couldn’t be in Cleveland and Cincinnati all at the same time. Life just isn’t fair. But, I thought, if I was living back in Columbus again then I’d only be a short two-hour drive to either place. Heck, I could even visit both places in one day if I really wanted to. (Note: Don’t prompt me because you know I’ll pull it off. After all, I am my father’s daughter.)
Now Kristin, before you start celebrating with wine in a leopard glass and dancing around with joy that your plan worked 😉 …know that while I hope it will one day, today is unfortunately not the day.
After responding to the texts and writing an email to another love of my life, I rolled over swearing that I could stay in bed all day. Okay, and maybe, just maybe, I wished that there was a boy laying next to me. Seriously, is there anything better in life than waking up next to someone…well…someone you really like? I guess that’s what happens when you fall asleep watching the Aidan episodes of Sex and the City. Back to my Aidan-less reality and the fact there, of course, wasn’t a guy next to me. Sadly just a laptop and an alarm clock playing some over-played pop song. So I pulled myself out of bed to make it to Kelly’s Spin Class in time.
During class my mind wandered to this thought: What if I wasn’t single? What would that really be like? Honestly, I have no idea. Minus a few whatever-relationships in my day, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve always been single. In fact, some of my very best friends are taken back (with shock first, then excitement) when I say, “I met someone”. (Note: This rarely happens, which you probably know from reading this open book blog of mine.)
I promise you that you’ll never hear me complain about being single. I’ll never whine about not having a boyfriend. I just don’t do it. Part of the reason why is because, truthfully, I’m ok with being single. Now there are several reasons why I say this, but one reason is my freedom. I mean how many people in relationships can travel to three different cities in Ohio for three straight weekends? How many single people can move-in with her friends for a week to help care for her children?
Now the dreamer that I tend to be wants to believe that Mr. Right with allow me these freedoms because 1) he loves me dearly and 2) wants me to do what makes me happy. However, in reality, I know this most likely isn’t the case. But isn’t impossible…right? Trust me, I hear the advice every day from my co-workers and other older friends, “Enjoy your freedom while I can. I wish I did more when I was your age.” While I value their advice, I tend to use my own perspective in seeing what faults lie in the single life.
For starters, it would be really nice to wake up next to someone and maybe/possibly/hopefully have them make/buy you coffee while you stay under the covers. Do you even know how many times I’ve daydreamed about that happening? And maybe I’ve also imagined the whole proposal scene from The Time Traveler’s Wife happening to me. But only once…or twice. (Take notes, potential suitors.)
In all honesty, for me, there’s just one thing that I constantly fight about being single. It’s so silly and probably the main reason why others in relationships desire to have their single man’s freedom back. So…sometimes…every now and then…I wish that someone would tell me where I’m going or what I’m doing. See, that’s the single girl in me. Let me rephrase it by saying that I wish someone would tell me where we are going or what we are doing. Yes, if I’m still blogging when I’m forty and finally in somewhat of a relationship, you can use this post against me. Actually, please do. But really this is how I feel. Call me crazy. Say, “Girl, I wish I didn’t have someone decided what ‘we’ are doing all the time.” And all I can say is, to each his own.
Two and a half years ago when I was getting ready to move to Chicago, for the first time since my childhood days I wished that I had a boyfriend. I wanted someone to be by my side as I veered far out of my comfort zone in the world of the unknown. But it was only me that moved in Apt 807. And it’s still only me, but with a whole lot of people by my side as I continue on this journey of mine. I mostly walk these Chicago streets alone as I head towards the train station, to volunteer or back home after a long day. But it doesn’t scare me anymore to be alone in this city, and in fact, some days it’s what I enjoy the most. Those rejuvenating walks when it’s just the city and me. Isn’t it funny how the one thing that used to scare you can one day become the thing you enjoy the most?
Sooooo much to say. But given the fact that I just got home (surprisingly sober) and my alarm is going off in less than 3 hours, I’m going to keep this post very, very short. To be honest, if I had time and energy to write then I’m not really quite sure what I would say. See, tonight was extremely interesting. Besides my friends, tonight was evidence of why I question my place in Chicago. If you only knew the things I saw…
Again, I could so much but then again I’m not even sure where to start. There’s a lot on my weary mind right now…including many questions about many topics…but right now I think it’s best to just hit “Publish”; turn off my light; cuddle up under my covers; and think about how I’m going to see little Hazel and George in 11 hours. They are exactly what I need right now, as well as quality time with Rebecca and Adriana.
To sum up this past weekend best, I’ll say that, Chicago is a big city but it’s such a small world. The whirlwind that was this past weekend- and really week- reminded me of both of these concepts. Take today (Sunday night is when I’m writing this) for instance. Within an hour of waking up I found myself on a bus around the city, only to trek all the way back to discover just what a small world it really is. In my own neighborhood Starbucks, I ran into the younger brother, Brad, of my dear college friend, Jenni. (aka “BaFaFa). Brad was in town visiting friends for the weekend and our run-in was completely unexpected and A.MAY.ZING. Isn’t that the best?!!!
With Laura in town this weekend for the second interview, my weekend was devoted to showing her around. It was better than that sounds but also the culprit of my exhaustion…and the reason for my 3-hour nap this afternoon. I woke up groggy, maybe a little refreshed, thinking where I was and, more importantly, who I was with this weekend.
Over the course of the past 2 days, I have been with or spoken to all sorts of friends: old friends, new friends, friends-of-friends (now my friends), friends from high school, friends from college, friends from Columbus, and family.
Here I am, in the 3rd largest city in the US, having come here 2 years ago knowing less than a handful of people, and I run into a familiar smiling face from my past at my Starbucks four blocks from my apartment. Most of you are probably thinking, what’s so special about that? It happens to me all the time? Well, it used to happen to me all the time too, but not anymore. To say I miss that is truly an understatement.
Being in this city, surrounded by unfamiliar faces- that are not always friendly- makes me feel foolish for going out of my way to avoid people at our community venues (back in Hampton) all those times. Some day I’d give anything to just casually run into a former teacher at Target, a former teammate while running at the park or even arrange a coffee date with a former friend/classmate. I guess it’s true that you long for the things you once had when they’re no longer available to you.
Gosh, if my friend, Matt (MT), read this I would never hear the end of it. Actually I spoke with him last night and some of this stuff came up, and his teasing definitely did as well. Although I’m at the point now where I can fire back and it doesn’t bother me as much. As I’ve shared in past posts, there was a time in my life- during college- when I decided that I wanted to break-up with my past life. I didn’t want anything to do with Hampton. I wanted a change. I wanted to change. I regret that time in my life and now realize that it was foolish of me; however, it is once again proof that you live & learn.
It’s funny how things change. I’m not sure if I’m laughing about it, but I think the way my life has gone, thus far, I definitely see the irony. For instance, as a teenager I used to daydream of living in NYC…but realistically never thought I’d end up there. At that time I figured I’d be in Pittsburgh, dating my latest crush, and being friends with the same friends- that are now no longer my friends. In college I knew I’d never go back to Pittsburgh and was destined to live in (Columbus,) Ohio for the rest of my life. Then Chicago came and the struggle has finally somewhat seized, and while I miss my family (in Pgh) and friends (mostly back in Ohio), I’m actually realizing how great it is to be in Chicago and have visiting guests and random run-ins with my Ohio folk in Starbucks.
Is staying here in Chicago actually my solution for having the balance of my past and the future I desire?
I do still think about moving back to Columbus, Ohio, wondering what it would be like. I know that after living here that it would be very, very different, but would I like it? Would I fit in? I could ask these questions again and again, leading myself down the never-ending road of frustration, but why bother?
I’m finally understanding that life isn’t about the minute-by-minute plans nor the timelines. There’s no rule book on how to do things, and no penalty if you don’t accomplish those societal standard checklist items by a certain age or at all. Life is about the little things; the precious moments; the unexpected joys. It’s about follow your passions and acting spontaneously in the moment. It’s about choosing to go on a weekend roadtrip to your college town with friends. Or deciding to enroll in grad school to pursue the job that you know you’re meant to do. It’s about falling in love at first sight with a guy you never thought was ‘your type’ and enjoying those butterflies that you get when he’s around. It’s about running into an old friend in a big city and having a smile on your face the next day, realizing just how wonderful that unexpected moment truly was.
It may be a small world (after all), but it’s a life full of many opportunities.