It’s been a year now, that I packed up the last of my belongings, loaded up the cats, and made the 4-4½ hour drive from Chicago to Muncie, Indiana — after maybe less than 2 hours of sleep, no less. Even though I grew up in this area, and have been here for 12 months now, I haven’t really let this place feel like home.
A lot of that was because Indiana was not my first pick. And honestly, I don’t think I ever really thought I’d be coming back for more than just visiting. I thought that maybe it’d be Montana, or at the very least I’d stay in Chicago indefinitely. But neither of those really worked out. I mean, I could have stayed in Chicago and just taken any job I could find just to stay in that city… but I’d bounced around from job to job there, and is it worth staying somewhere if you’re going to constantly feel like you’re missing something, that you’re unfulfilled. I didn’t want to harbor ill feelings towards the city I loved, or not be able to enjoy it because I sacrificed everything else just to afford it. So Muncie really because the solution. It’s affordable, close to family, and there’s a university here with a good program.
But in all of this, Indiana was just supposed to be a layover. Something short term while I’m in school before I start this whole career change for real. I let Muncie become temporary. And while I had a pretty good year here, I guess it just doesn’t feel all that exciting, looking back on it. Yes, I needed to reconnect with family, and I absolutely love my program at school. But that’s about it when it comes to my Indiana life.
It didn’t help, this feeling of meh, that I broke the cardinal rule and started comparing my life to someone else’s. I’ve loved reading Kate’s blog for a long while now. But this year, she too moved back to the Midwest. She has completely embraced her life here and met her goal of becoming a Clevelander. Rather than feel immensely jealous, however, it’s really just inspired me. While I might not have any aspirations of staying in Muncie long term, I shouldn’t discount this town just because I plan to move on. I’ve been so busy thinking about what’s next, I’ve been ignoring all that there is to offer here.
Since I’ve decided to do my Masters here, that means another 2-3 years in Muncie. To make that time feel special, to make it more than just about my studies, I need to start seeing all the good things and opportunities here. So I want to start exploring, and of course sharing, the restaurants, shops, parks and everything else there could possibly be (within my budget, of course). A lot has changed since I last lived here; it’ll be nice to get to know this city again.
I guess all this is to say, finally, now that I’m allowing this to be home… Greetings from Muncie.