A recent post from my friend Vanessa has opened up a few feelings that I’ve shut away for quite a while. Like myself, Vanessa recently enjoyed an extended visit to her hometown. We’ve also shared similar feelings of being split between two cities and two lives. Since I came to Chicago last August for my internship, this feeling of not quite belonging has constantly pulled at me. I was not only split between two cities; I was split between three, since I have really been residing in the far west suburbs of Chicago, far from the neighborhoods of my new acquaintances and favorite city hotspots. In addition to locale, I also felt split in possible life directions (I still do; I don’t think there will ever be a solution to that). It might be a stretch, but all of this soul-splitting conjures the idea of horcruxes (thank you, J.K. Rowling) and the resulting emptiness experienced from drifting in some sort of limbo.
Being spread thin in this manner is not a good feeling. It gets depressing fast, especially when the bulk of your support network is 300 miles away. I am so grateful for my Goodman friends and expanding social network here, many of which are recent Youngstown transplants. Still, nothing compares with the experience of being home, where you can just be.
I deeply enjoyed my visit to Youngstown last week. It made me think about a few things and consider the many “what-if” scenarios of staying in my hometown or taking the plunge into Chicago. And while I feel comfortable in Youngstown, my long-term goals require me to gain networking and experience in a larger city. So, it looks like Chicago is the place to be.
I’m looking forward to definitively establishing myself in this city. Some sort-term goals:
- Secure apartment within two months’ time. Thinking of Edgewater, Rogers Park, Lakeview neighborhoods…?
- Spend more time with Chicago friends
- Explore more nightlife and theater
- Explore the city in general, now that winter is over (It IS over, right?)
- Deepen relationships with different organizations
- Embrace a new level of independence and sense of self
All of which ultimately lead to…
Wish me luck.