Friday, July 19, 2013

Chicago: A Love Affair

af·fair [uh fair] noun anything done or to be done; anything requiring action or effort; business; concern

Three years ago I made somewhat of an impulsive move to come to Chicago.  This was after I had already purchased a house right after graduating St. Louis.  I actually spent my freshman year in Chicago at Loyola, and it was a hard decision then to transfer to Mizzou-though I always say it was the best one I've ever made.  Chicago has tugged on my heart strings for as long as I could remember.  I just could never shake it.  Moving there was something I had to do for myself.  

Recently though that pull just wasn't there anymore.  I cast my doubts about it aside, but eventually had to face facts that things just weren't the way they used to be.  My main objective these past few years was career success.  If I can give myself a momentary pat on the back, for someone of my age I achieved greater than I imagined.  I'm somewhat of a workaholic though in most facets of life, and when one goal is crossed off it's time to start a new one.  When career started to be less of a concern, the thing I kept coming back to was a home life.  Foreign ideas sprung to mind like dishes coming fresh out of the oven, picking out fabrics to upholster furniture in, and the always important dinner party.  Those are really the things I have been coveting these last few months, hard as I tried to deny it.  It just seemed so simple though.  How could I leave a city as cultured and wonderful as Chicago for...braised pork chops?  

I've been struggling with the word "commitment" for a long time now.  Perhaps since birth.  Most of the time, the first step to learning is to pick up a book.  So I picked up the dictionary and looked up this word "commitment."  It took all of one second to read, but about six months to understand:  
commitment: engagement; involvement.  Being involved, staying engaged.  I could not honestly say that I had a desire to be either of those to Chicago.  I just had a need three years back to be here.  Typically though there are some tell-tale signs that you or someone you know are having an affair.  Looking back on my time here I am not sure how I didn't know sooner.

Passions and interests:  You have to have the same passions and interests to hold anything of substance with someone or something.  As I alluded to before, my interests and passions were evolving.  Not necessarily changing, but taking new forms.  Ones that were more supported and aligned in St. Louis.

Faith: Perhaps my biggest fortune while here was realizing faith.  You have to have faith to keep going in whatever it is you are going through in life.  Shortly followed by that realization is knowledge.  It didn't take me long to know that I had lost faith in a lot of things here.  Including, but not limited to, the almighty number from the guy at the bar.

Sadness Confused As Doubt:  Some people are better at making decisions than others, but no one likes making hard ones.  We think we're doubting ourselves often times when we have to make a tough decision.  The reality is we're sad to see something end.  To admit we've grown apart and that we have to move on is quite simply, difficult.

Staying for the Wrong Reasons:  I love to shop.  Chicago has every major retailer and important designer within its city limits.  I love not having to drive.  Chicago allows me to take public transportation, and more importantly Uber cabs here.  I love to try new restaurants and foods.  Chicago is the #1 city for dining.  I have so much right at my fingertips in Chicago.  None of them are actual reasons to stay though.

You're Not Always Right:  I've never been good at admitting I'm wrong.  Don't expect this to be one of those times where I do either.  It's just I was never right to assume that this could be my city.  I have no other word but "gracious" to describe the time I have spent here.  The streets I've explored, the restaurants I've ate at, the friends I've made, and my incredible career experience are invaluable to the person that I will be in the years to come.  

Chicago will always be one of the great loves of my life.  A grand affair to say the least.  It's time though to become engaged again.  To involve myself not just in passing phases, but lasting commitments.

So until we meet again, long, farewell!

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