Leaving Chicago, if only I knew how…

23 April 2014

Despite some last bit of snow that came through last week, Spring’s finally arrived in Chicago. Robins are hopping around in puddles, bunnies are running around, and people are coming out finally ready to ditch their cabin fever. Baseball season has started, and soon they’re be block parties and concerts in the park… It’s Chicago at it’s best.

Yet, as much as I love all of these things, my heart’s just not in it. I hate admitting it, but I think I’d ready to leave Chicago. At least for a bit.

Paige wrote about this recently, and she sort of sums up my own thoughts much more eloquently than I could. I love Chicago. This is exactly where I thought I’d plant my roots and settle down. And if you would have asked me last year, I would have told you with confidence that Chicago is my home and will always be my home.

On some levels, I think Chicago really does appeal to my Finnish side. It’s got sisu. It’s a Finnish term that generally gets translated as pride. But it’s more than pride; it’s a deep love and respect. There are times when this city makes me feel so alive. When I can’t imagine living anywhere else. When I feel so grateful to be a part of it. But when I start thinking about what I want to wake up to every morning and where I want to be… I don’t know if Chicago’s it any more. My heart is miles and miles away.

Mucca Tour - 2012 out west

It started slowly. Every time we’d drive out west for tour. There’s that stretch between eastern California through New Mexico and Colorado. It has always been my favorite part of the trip. It was absolutely beautiful. And the images and the escalation I felt kept lingering in me. So when I see friends out west posting all these amazing pictures, it almost hits like a homesickness for a place that I’ve never lived.

I want to go hiking. I want an easy escape from all the buildings and concrete and noise. I want nature. I want that blend of desert and mountains. And I have absolutely no idea how to get there. (Metaphorically of course.) It’s hard to get a job in another state when you have no connections — even hard to just up and move when you have no savings.

But this is something I really want to do, and I don’t want to look back and regret not giving it a chance. Now is sort of the perfect time too. I’m single and I have no established career. I’m also adult enough to be able to manage on my own far, far away from my family. I know I’ll miss them. I know I’ll grumble about having to get and deal with a car again. I know I’ll miss Chicago. But… It’s just not enough for me any more.

Now if only I could figure out the how in all of this…

AND THEN… in a wonder play in timing from the universe, I read this post from Abby. (Yes, I wrote this post over the weekend and then scheduled it for today.) She didn’t plan and plot and toil away for months or years wondering how to make something like this happen. She just up and did it. She put herself out there, got a job, and is busy packing up. This is exactly the sort of inspirational kick in the butt I needed. So if you don’t mind, I’m going take a closer look at my goals and begin researching possibilities in the area I want to soon call home.

  • Got this as a pingback, lady — obviously I know the feeling all too well.
    But if you CAN? Picking up and just getting the hell out is the best way to move along. I cemented my proud position as the life-decision black sheep of my family by making a lot of moves that seemed impetuous and ill-thought-out. But the moves I’ve made through my life have all turned out for the best, and just as hair grows back if you get a whackadoo haircut, you can always come back if it doesn’t work out. Come back to friends with open arms and a city still filled with sisu (but with an AdorkableMe-shaped hole).

    • Erini


      My decision to come to Chicago was ill-thought-out and it has worked out amazingly the last 7 years. And it'll be insanely hard to leave the people here. But yeah, just got to give it a try! And I am definitely the queen of "it'll just grow back." :)

  • B

    Go for it! A move never has be to be “forever.” I can’t wait to see where this goes.

    • Erini

      Me too! I really hope this happens because I want to see what happens with this. So many opportunities!

  • I *so* get this (only sub New York for Chicago). When I first moved to New York, I never though I’d stay more than a year or two… I just felt like city living was something I needed to experience having grown up in a completely rural area. Then, after I’d been here for a year I thought maybe this would be the place that I’d settle for good because I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else after I got used to all of the conveniences of the city…. but in the past year or so, I’ve found myself fantasizing about leaving the city. I miss trees. I miss being able to just jump in a car and drive anywhere I want without having to do some massive planning.

    • Erini

      Yeah, as easy as it can be to get around a city (especially if you’re ok with long commutes on transit), it’s not so easy to leave said city for just an afternoon or so without ALL THE PLANNING. I can’t even just go visit my mom when I want to. While I’m not necessarily looking forward to the cost of a car, the freedom with it will be nice.

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