Six days ago, I loaded everything I own into a Penske truck and said goodbye to Chicago, my home for the past three years. That morning, I practically jumped out of bed singing, “It’s MOVING DAYYYY!” I had been counting down for weeks. My boyfriend and I started our four day long journey to our new home in Sacramento, California.
I’ve felt a twinge of guilt every time someone asked, “Aren’t you going to miss Chicago?” Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change a thing about my three years there. I know, from the bottom of my heart, that it was where I belonged at the time. The girl that arrived in Chicago is almost unrecognizable to the woman leaving, and I honestly believe Chicago gave me some necessary tough love. It’s simply time to start a new chapter.
With that being said… there are so many aspects of Chicago that I will miss, and many things for which I am so incredibly grateful.
The Second City Training Center
When I graduated from college, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I needed a job, but I had no idea what sort of career I wanted to pursue. I did know, however, that I really wanted to make people laugh. I signed up for an introductory comedy writing course and an introductory improv course. To sum it up: I suck at improv, I loved and will always love writing, and it was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I am eternally grateful for all of the late night laughs, the gift of being around so much raw talent, and the strength that I gained from regularly embarrassing myself.
Lakefront running trail
This is where I slowly undid four years of college overindulgence. More importantly, this is where I started feeling capable again. Thank you, Chicago running trails, for letting me come to you with all my anger, sadness, frustration, and insecurity, and taking them all from me. Running was my preferred form of exercise, but it was also my necessary form of therapy.
The wonderful people
Chicago only felt like home because of the people I had there. My transition from college to “adulting” was rocky, to say the very least. Despite my rough patches, despite being completely undeserving at times, I had friends that stood by me, picked me up, and loved me like family. There aren’t enough words to express my gratitude for that small circle, but I certainly hope they know I will be there to pick them up, too.
The not-so-wonderful people
Yes, I’m actually grateful for you. And no, I don’t think you’re really “not-so-wonderful.” But I do think that we’re at an age where we all occasionally act not-so-wonderful, and that’s OK. Thank you for helping me find resilience and independence. Thank you for helping me recognize authenticity and loyalty, and to hold on tight when I find it.
My little studio apartment
I’m pretty certain my oven was older than me, and it only worked about 50% of the time. I had to keep a wedge of wood under my fridge to keep it from tipping over to one side, there was no door to the bathroom, and paint would randomly chip off the walls. I decorated you in every shade of pink, I hung up twinkly lights, I covered the walls with pictures of my friends, and you were my happy little corner of Lincoln Park. You were old and charming and you were my perfect home.
Once upon a time, I had to take a month off of working for personal reasons. When I was able to go back to work, I was desperate. I had rent to pay and groceries to buy. I signed up for a temp agency on a whim, and they placed me in a small law firm.* Fast forward two years, and my co-workers were suddenly my closest confidantes and a second family. They hired me at a time when I needed security and stability, and I also found love, encouragement, and a lot of laughter.
*It turns out, it wasn’t a law firm. The temp agency had no idea what they were talking about.
Sun lamps & North Face parkas
I’m actually not going to miss either of these things. At all. However, I am grateful for them. Chicago winters are not for the weak, and my trusty sun lamp and parka got me through. I will not miss the snow, the sharp winds, the bone-chilling cold temperatures, or the icy sidewalks… but I guess these things will make me appreciate the California sunshine all the more!
Thank you for hiring a brilliant Canadian and bringing him to Chicago. That’s all.
Chicago, thank you for everything. You will always have a special place in my heart.
You get a strange feeling when you leave a place. Like you’ll not only miss the people you love, but you’ll miss the person you are at this time and place because you’ll never be this way ever again.