o, um...hey. It’s me. I know we haven’t seen each other much lately. I really have been meaning to write, and I know you probably think that I've just abandoned you, but the truth is...I miss you. So can we talk about it? Okay, you can just listen, I'll talk:(keep reading)
Two years ago, I quit my job of seven years – and my career, for that matter – and moved to one of my geographical soulmates, Chicago. I wasn't sure if I’d find a new career there, start a business of my own, or just enjoy the city for awhile until I moved on to a new chapter of my life. It turns out I did all three.
After I...what, I "found myself"? Ew, that sounds so ridiculous I can’t even believe I typed it, but I guess if you use Hollywood movies as a comparison (obviously a completely logical one), that’s what it would be called.
...So after I, y'know, found myself or whatever, I had a choice: I could stay in Chicago and continue living that particular dream, but it would probably delay or even defeat my entrepreneurial goals (and thus, all of my most important career goals). Or I could move back to Ohio, which so doesn't sound very "Eat, Pray, Love" – ish at all...but it is the place where I could see my Taller Half nearly every day (without singing along to the Skype ringtone), the place where I could see my family much more easily, and the place where I could buckle down and focus on my business (in addition to the fact that I’ve gained more business resources in Dayton than even in the mini-startup hub of Chicago).
For those of you who like to flip to the ending of the book...I chose to come back to Ohio. I loved where I lived every day when I was in Chicago. Unfortunately, the more I worked on my business, the less time I had to enjoy my new city (and the less money I could afford to spend – that shit’s expensive). Sure, Dayton is not my dream city. But, ironically, that might be exactly what I need in order to accomplish some more important goals – that maybe one day will give me the luxury of choosing the exact location of my next adventure. And in the end, people are more important than places...even places you love a lot.
At some point, when you can do it, you have to leave home. You can always come back, but you have to leave at least once. Your brain gets too comfortable in your everday surroundings . . . . Even if you set up a new home, you need to leave it now and then. And at some point, you might need to just move on. The good news is that nowadays, a lot of your peers are right where you left them - on the internet.(austin kleon)
Some people have drawn the conclusion from this choice that somehow my initial move to Chicago was a mistake or didn't work out. I don’t see it that way at all – I mean, if we all discounted experiences that didn't last forever, what does that say about friendships past, romantic relationships and marriages that didn't work out, jobs left behind? Renting my house allowed me to quit my job; quitting my job allowed me to move to Chicago; and moving to Chicago was one of the most important experiences I've ever had. It probably had less to do with Chicago than it did with me doing something completely different. Giving myself permission to wipe the slate clean and determine my own starting point.
I’m not going to claim that everyone has equal opportunity to do this for themselves. I’m not going to start spouting crackpot idealist empty sayings like, "Do what you love, and the money will follow." Because I’m not an idealist – and the fact is, I'm not going to claim that I've found my dream life and that if you just have the courage to live it, you can too! Nope. I still don't make any money. I don't know if this business will work at all. I wonder why I'm doing this every day. I still have a million things I want to do and no time to do them (like write the next great American novel! Join the circus! Shoot t-shirts into a crowd of drunk strangers!). But I do know that I was stuck, and now I am unstuck. I do know that the past two years has been more about making decisions and accepting the gray areas of life than "dreaming big." Dreaming big doesn't hurt...but taking dreams seriously is where adventures are made.
So what does this mean for you and me? Is the Petite Urbanite riding public transit off into the skyline? Or just changing her name to the Petite Minor Metropolitan Area-ite? I would like to keep writing, if anyone will still listen. I might be quiet for long periods of time, but remember: it doesn't mean I love you any less. It just means I don’t think anyone wants to hear about my new record streak for number of days wearing the same sweatpants.
Whew, I'm glad we had this talk. I wouldn't want it to get awkward around here.
In the interest of total honesty, I'll close with: I have the best intentions of keeping in touch in 2013.