A year ago, I set out to fall in love with a city. I laid out a plan to immerse myself in Chicago. To really find out if I and it had what it takes to make a life together. Goals to visit parts of the city I’d never been to, intentions to drink less and see old friends more. Turns out that plan didn’t really work for me, and things ended up getting a lot worse before they got better.
I moved to Chicago because I had exhausted all my options everywhere else I’d lived. I grew up in Ohio, then followed my mom to Kenosha, Wisconsin after I failed out of college in my second year. You actually have to go to class when you’re in college I guess. I moved in with a roommate for a year and then moved up to Milwaukee once she realized I was a terrible roommate. I moved into a place of my own three months later after realizing that the girls I was living with then were the terrible roommates. I lost a bit of my soul to retail. I gained a little of it back by working at a non-profit. I moved to Chicago because my friends were here. I toiled away in shitty salon job after shitty salon job before finally deciding to go back to school and get my degree in graphic design. My friends moved away. I was left here. I’m still here.
I laid out the plan to embrace my life. But I was really laying out a plan to embrace a life; any life. I’d shuffled along for so long and I was finally starting to admit to myself that I didn’t see anything better. That I felt completely lost. Lost and living in a city that doesn’t exactly help you when you’re feeling lost.
It turns out what I really needed to do to start the process was start letting go of a bunch of bullshit. It’s a strange feeling when you wake up one morning and you’re in the thirties and you’re wondering what the hell happened to put you where you are. It’s an even stranger feeling to wake up like that year after year. And even stranger yet when you really take the time to examine exactly what your role was in bringing you to that point. I thought that trying to fall in love with my city would be the answer. I thought that once I really loved where I lived and got that feeling that so many other Chicagoans have that everything would finally fall into place and I’d be a shiny, happy person that everyone wanted to be around and would call to go to fucking brunch on Sunday mornings and we’d gab about our great weekends and just generally be awesome. I thought I’d be awesome. Instead, I was just a drunk. And all those years of inaction had actually lead me to where I was.
I started going to therapy. I realized that it wasn’t going to matter where I lived as long as I was still carrying around all the crap that I’d been carrying around. I started making actual goals. I started getting over my feelings of abandonment and betrayal. I started finding things that I liked to do and places I liked to go.
I started to feel less lost.
Which brings us back here a year later. Laying out a new plan for this endeavor. No bullet-pointed blueprints. No numbered quick-fixes. Just life and a greater attempt to live it.