Something changed. Somewhere between dying to grow up and refusing to be a grown up, I fell into a groove. I’ve been in Chicago for 3 years. A roller coaster 3 years, as far as my existential views are concerned. One minute I want to settle down, work a stable 9 to 5, start a family and then there’s other minutes… minutes where I look for the quickest way out. Like scoping the exit at a friend of a friend of a friend’s birthday celebration, where no one showed up except for his friend and their two friends.
Last year, we all know, was crazy for different reasons. My dad died, I got my heart broken and then I got fired… all within 8 months of each other. During my time on unemployment I thought a lot about where I was and what I was doing and made the conscious choice to stick it out in Chicago. Now, I’m swimming in employment. And I can’t wait to get out of Chicago. When I added the full time hotel gig to my domestic repertoire, I was excited to be “stable” again. My mistake, you see, because I mistook a stable paycheck with happiness. I know better.
The first two weeks at the new hotel job were beyond tough and stressful. I felt bullied, alienated and too professional for the antics of what seemed like elementary school kids behind the front desk at a 3 star property. So I racked my brain. Thought long and hard to weigh the pros and cons… quitting won.
I applied for a job working at a hostel in Cape Cod for the summer, and got it. The action that pushed the pebble down the mountain may have been panic, at what seemed like me being trapped into a job, an apartment, a lifestyle I didn’t really like. However, the momentum picked up when I realized that for me to pick up and move across the country for 4 months, made me happy, made my soul smile – made me feel free.
With the fourth and balancing axis of my immediate family broken off, the dynamic has changed. Nothing is like it ever was before, and will never be again. What do I want out of this life? I can’t answer that for you, now. I CAN tell you what I don’t want out of my life right now – and that’s to feel stuck. To lose the sense of wander I’ve proudly held close to my heart. I wouldn’t change one life decision I’ve made to date, each move I’ve made -> LA -> NY -> EUROPE -> CHICAGO, has been a wonderful chapter in my life. All done with little to no money and all with the same knot of fear, terror, nerves and excitement that I feel right now about my upcoming summer in Cape Cod.
One thing that I’m learning about myself is that I’m not afraid to make mistakes. I feel that whatever decisions I make today I will absolutely look back 40 years from now and think I should have done it differently. I just don’t want to be looking back to now and think there are different things I should have done. If I live the rest of my life at the same level of income, then so be it. It provides me with enough to get by in the physical, material world. But, if I live the rest of my life at the same emotional, mental or spiritual level then I will have some serious regrets. My soul needs to grow and to do so I need to constantly check things out, try things first hand, keep me out of my comfort zone.
I couldn’t tell you what one person on this Earth desires on a level that is deeper than anything we can realize. I don’t even know if one person can honestly tell you what they truly want out of their time here. It goes beyond hope for a bright future. Personally, I’ve always hoped that people are just stuck in a bubble when they think that getting that promotion, or buying that car, or popping out babies is the answer to their lives quest for meaning and that bubble will one day pop and they’ll be set free to live from that dark, vast hole inside yearning to be filled with amazement.
I realize not all people are like me. But I have to believe that some are. Even if, for some, the unrelenting crusade for whatever it is that keeps me up at night is answered in different ways. I have to stop thinking every one is miserable. Everyone has the opportunity to change what they don’t like about themselves – I have a long list on mine and number one on it is location. So, here we go again…
3 thoughts on “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”
Go go duff girl!
What an insightful post. I think it is wonderful that you have courage to follow your heart and seek new adventures. And that you realize that everyone is different in the adventures they seek. For some it is “settling down” and popping out babies, and if that makes them happy and fulfilled, great. When i think of people being miserable, I think of people who have not defined what happiness/success means to them and so they are constatnly chasing the “shoulds” that we are all indocrinated to want until we come to our senses…promotions, getting married, having the next “big thing”, bigger house, fancier car, etc, etc. People chase things that are not meaningful to them without realizing it and then they wonder why they are not happy when they achieve it.
What I admire about you is that you are glorifying in the process of defining what it is that makes you happy and what is “just enough” for you. From your post I can tell that you are forming and experiementing with who you are and what you want. That is so much harder than just following the “prescribed route”. The fact that you know a steady paycheck does not bring happiness puts you ahead of most folks.
One caution…the one thing we take with us no matter where we go is ourselves. So if what is making you “itchy” to move on begins to look the same no matter where you go, it may not be where you are but an aspect of yourself that rises to the surface whenever you start feeling a certain way about a place. for example: What would it mean if you put down roots somewhere?
But I digress. I loved the post. You are not only insightful but a talented writer as well and those are things that you will take with you wherever you go.
Jeri, it’s true about your caution. I’ve been cautioned before. My mother especially always reminds me “wherever you go, there you are.” I mean, I’ve dealt with that before. Europe was a big reminder. I was so “free” but didn’t always feel like that during my travels. Life, like my trip, is comprised of joyous moments and I think to live happily and at peace one must notice those moments and enjoy them fully for they are a fleeting force.
My idea for Chicago was to set up roots, but it’s hard to describe more specifically than just saying it just doesn’t feel right anymore. I look at it like I’m not missing out by leaving but I do feel like I’m missing out on something by staying.
I do hope to put down roots some day. I just imagine there being a reason for me to do so and not just because I’m here. Or there.