Well, it’s official: we’re moving to Chicago! YAY!
It’s interesting, because whenever Sam and I have discussed places we might want to live, we always made a point to say, “Chicago is great to visit, but I’d never want to live there.” And yet, here we are, packing our things (but selling most of them on Craigslist), re-homing the chickens, frantically preparing our house to sell…and moving to Chicago.
The more research I do about truly living in Chicago, the more I realize that it’s actually a really good place for us right now. For one, Sam’s landed his dream job–or at least something that could potentially lead to his dream job–and the odds for me to find an equally exciting and interesting career are far greater in Chicago than they are in Traverse City. The places I love to visit when we make it into the Windy City are potential employers, and if nothing else it just means I can visit them all the time.
There’s also the public transportation, which I realize isn’t perfect in any city, but it’s pretty inconvenient in a place like Traverse City because it’s so easy to drive everywhere. We do a lot of biking (and Chicago has a lot of bike lanes, though I’m a little worried about navigating them as a newbie) but in the winter it’ll be nice to have another option that allows us to get places without using a car. I’m also excited to walk everywhere: it was my favorite perk at college because Ann Arbor is incredibly walkable, but we live too far outside the city now to run many errands on foot. I’m a bit of a workaholic, so I’m pretty pumped about that.
Really, though, the greatest thing about all this is change. Sam and I both grew up in Traverse City and we moved here as soon as we graduated college. For the last four years, we’ve explored this town as true residents of the community and it’s been a great adventure. We’ve learned to be homeowners, chicken parents, landscapers, somewhat-home-repairers, and how to do things that normal human adults learn when they’re our age. Thankfully, we’ve also had our family members close by to help us when one car needs to go to the shop or we lock ourselves out of the house (ok, I’m the only one who does that), and we’ve spent every holiday surrounded by those we love the most. I couldn’t be more grateful about that.
But for the last year or so, we’ve started to look at our lives and wonder if we grew up too quickly. Are we really going to spend our whole lives in this same town with the same people doing the same things? It was fun for a while, but the thought of only truly knowing one place began to suffocate us and make us want to escape. We did a lot of traveling, but it wasn’t the same. The change in scenery was only temporary; we’d have to return home eventually, and while it’s always nice to snuggle my chickens and fall asleep in our house, the thrill of traveling quickly wore off when we returned and we’d be back in the same rut of familiarity.
So we started plotting a move. We were going to get out, for real this time. At first we planned a cross-country bike trip that would take nearly a year to complete, but the timeline and route just couldn’t align with other responsibilities we had to hold. Then we thought we’d just move somewhere really far away–Washington, Oregon, northern California–and figure it out when we got there, simply to get away and explore uncharted land with no one else around. But reality was hard to swallow: that’s fucking scary. That’s way too scary for us. The risks were too huge for an unknown return on our investment.
Eventually, we did what was right for us: Sam quit his job after five years at the same place and we traveled overseas for two weeks. Though it wasn’t safe, we put all our eggs in one basket and prayed to our karma gods that things would work out and Sam would land this job in northern Chicago. We returned from our trip (and I returned to my job) while Sam worked on the house and waited for the news about the job. About two weeks after we were back in the USA, it was official: he had the job, and we were on the move.
There are some parts of me that are sad to leave. We have good friends in TC and are pretty invested in the community (volunteering, social and networking groups, business relationships, fantastic neighbors, a house and property that we love). As the time draws closer it feels more permanent, the notion that we’re leaving…and I think it’s because we don’t plan on being back for a while. We’re too hungry for somewhere new. We’ve done and see what we’ve wanted to in this area and it’s been great, and we’ll be able to appreciate this beautiful part of the country even more when we come back to visit. For now, though, the vastness of new opportunities is swallowing me whole and I’m yearning to turn a new page in our book.