From time to time, I like to look back on my life transitions. This last transition was particularly rough. I think when I moved to Saint Paul, Minnesota I was naive and starry-eyed, which made things easier. I seemed to think moving once a year, even across states, was feasible, as long as I was pursuing a vision. At 23 that vision entailed finding my own city, a new job, new friends, and leaving Chicago behind for good. A couple years of that, and off to Europe, was the game plan.
I always envy people who blog about living in a different country per year-Australia, Thailand, Japan, France. What kind of money do they have? Are they debt free? I think yes, I can do that. I can totally sell my car and do TEFL and uproot myself to another country. But somehow, I keep not feeling ready. I don’t think there ever is a point where you feel “ready,” but I know myself well enough to do know that if there is a leap to take, I will take it.
I take comfort in the talk I had with my spiritual guide Teal Swan at the Chicago workshop, in her reassuring me of the burning questions I had for her, and her telling me I don’t have to jump the Grand Canyon. What a relief it was to hear her say she wouldn’t ditch everything for an unpaid gig in Guatemala on a four month trial period either. I felt like I was betraying myself when the Tarot and the angel workshop seemed to be indicating that was my chance, and I had blown it. Anything that stresses me out so bad my head hurts can’t be good.
So, far from achieving my game plan, I went to Ohio to live with my parents for a couple months until I could find a job. I was hoping to leave the bulk of my things with them and save enough money to go abroad. As nice as it sounded on paper, it did not last long. There was no job, interviewing and hiring was slow, the house was cold, and I felt lost in the middle of nowhere with no social life. I was glad to have my parents, my cat, and my writing, but I felt even more displaced than when I lived in the suburbs of Chicago. I ended up using the same strategy that landed me in Minnesota–applying nationwide. Luckily this time I had 2 years experience of a full time job under my belt, and garnered a lot more interest. While earning my TEFL (my backup plan) and finishing Nanowrimo (50k words in a month challenge), I found myself drawn back to Chicago. Initially I was dismayed at failing “the plan.” That’s not to say I’ve given up entirely on going abroad again at some point, but I think sometimes I have to just forgive where I am in my life and make the best out of the journey. As it turns out, people were not just telling me it’s cooler to live in the city than the suburbs to make me feel better. It truly is an event-packed city with lots going on and lots of cool people to network with. I pulled a classic me by telling my new company I could move within a week, and ended up being “homeless” for nine days; ie couch-surfing while I apartment hunted. With little more than a recommendation on the neighborhood and a newspaper listing as one of the best neighborhoods, I ended up moving to Logan Square in December 2014 and even accidentally moved 5 minutes walking distance from a high school friend!