This is not easy.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I have been back in LA for one week and I feel so different. I think I've lost that spark that I had in Chicago. I am not miserable, but it just doesn't feel the same.

LA doesn't have that special something that Chicago has, and I am not the same girl I was just a few weeks ago. Those 5 weeks in Chicago opened my eyes to a whole new world. They allowed me to come into my own. To explore, and to just be myself.

Am I making any sense?

I have had several moments where I have tried to tell myself this move is too much for me to handle. I have thought about whether or not I can make it work in LA. I have even tried to talk myself out of moving. To be honest with you, I am not past that point yet. I stop to think of the millions of people that live here. Surely someone in this city is happy. It isn't all bad, but in the end it just isn't for me. I do know that. But -- I have my doubts. I have never had my own apartment in LA, and have wondered how that would be.

In the end, we all know that I am supposed to leave. If I was supposed to get a place in LA, I would have done that by now. That would have made more sense than moving 2k miles away, but that is what I ended up doing. I am not writing this to receive comments telling me that I have to go. I know that already. I {the girl that did not fly for 10+ years} picked up and move to Chicago for 5 weeks, and then put money down on an apartment. There is obviously a reason for that.

But even when all the green lights are on and all signs point to go, it is not easy.

When I have any doubts, I remember the happiness that I felt in Chicago. I remember how alive I felt when I walked the streets of that incredible city. I think about the wonderful people that I met. These new friends offered to help me with my apartment, discussed house warming parties, invited me to events, dinners, bars, to annual recipe exchange parties. How fun does that sound? I don't think we have recipe exchange parties in LA.

I think about the fact that all these wonderful things happened after just 5 short weeks and I wonder how amazing things will be after 5 months or 5 years. When you know someone for a few weeks, you cannot possibly have a real friendship. I think you can start one, but friendships take time to develop. Not having close friends in Chicago is one of the hardest parts about moving there. No family, no friends, no connection. Voluntarily putting myself in this situation is something I have struggled with.

Sorry I am so all over the place. I am exhausted right now but need to get this out.

I wanted to write this because many of you have been so supportive, and I need to share what I have been feeling. This is a daily struggle. For all of you who said I was so strong, I am not as strong as you think I am. This can be crippling. It is an emotional roller coaster.

Yes, I love Chicago. I was happier than I had ever been. I felt so liberated, and truly enjoyed my time there. But it was very scary. It was also very surreal. I had so many moments where I looked out the window or walked down the street and couldn't help but smile. There were also dozens of moments when I looked out the window and couldn't believe that I was in Chicago by myself with thoughts of moving there. I still cannot believe that this is happening.

This move is a lot more permanent and a lot more real. I will be packing up all my things. Last time I was in Chicago I brought a few boxes and a two large suitcases. This time, I am bringing everything. I am ordering furniture and signing a lease. It all feels very official.

I really need to figure out if I should take the smaller less expensive {and non-dog friendly} apartment, or the slightly larger dog friendly apartment. This is so hard. One day I am sure it will be best to leave him here, and the next day I am convinced that my pup needs me.

Like I said. I am all. over. the. place.

I have had so many sweet and well meaning people tell me that they know exactly what I am going through. That when they moved with their husbands or with ______ that it was so hard for them. While I am sure it was not easy, I am doing this alone. I do not mean to say that moving with a husband isn't hard, because I am sure it is. And this does not mean that I do not appreciate those comments, because I do. But moving 2000 miles away by yourself just isn't the same. I feel like so few people can relate to what I am going through. It is the hardest thing I have ever faced.

While I am fairly certain that this is the right thing to do, it is something I am really struggling with. Yes, I am excited for this adventure. I am looking forward to making my new apartment my home. But {and I think I may have mentioned this 7,304 times} I am very scared.

As scary as this is, it is an adventure of a lifetime and I want to take it all in. This will forever change my life. It will shape the person I become. I will meet friends I never would have met, and will do things I never would have done. This is unique. It is bold. It is terrifying. It is amazing.

I just hope I can relax a little bit soon and find some peace in all of this.

And that's enough rambling for now. Goodnight.

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17 comments

  1. I've mentioned before that my sister did the exact same thing you did when she was in her early 20's. She literally left her family and childhood friends all behind to move to Hawaii. She just felt that that place was to be her "home." Yes, she did have doubts in the beginning. I remember her being very homesick. My dad even offered to pay for her to move all her things back to California. But, she stuck it out. She even had some negative experiences too (with people, and also with her health). She had NO IDEA what was in store for her there, and even through all her doubts, she stayed (and is still there). This is all so new to you, and I can imagine that going back to CA might have made it more confusing. But, I suggest writing down all the confirmations you got for moving to Chicago, so next time you do feel doubtful, just read that list.

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  2. I don't want to tell you that I know what you're feeling, because I know it simply isn't the same, but I do want to tell you a little about my situation. I moved across my state to go to college, and the only friend from high school I have here lives across campus. I've found it harder than I expected, but I cannot imagine what it would be like to move halfway across the country without a single person that you knew in the same city to which you just moved.

    That said, I think there is a kind of strength in weakness. And I believe, from what you've said, that you're in the process of finding that. I think you'll start to find some peace once you've settled the major uncertainties and found a routine. And I want you to know that for someone for whom the idea of picking up and moving across the country had never occurred, you have demonstrated to me strength and courage, even if you don't feel like you have. I hope you know it's encouraging and motivating to read about the doubts you're having about this, but that you're pressing on in spite of those.

    I have rambled way too much and probably done a bad job of saying what I wanted to say, but I hope it helps you to know that. I will be praying that you find your niche in Chicago, and soon!

    Annie

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  3. So...moving is hard.
    And moving alone is harder.
    And moving far away from friends and family is one of the hardest things that you could do.
    Trust me, I've done it...only I moved countries!

    It's scary and can be lonely at times.
    Although (for me anyway) the pro's far outweighed the cons!

    Have you thought about keeping the dog friendly apartment and taking your dog with you...
    If he doesn't settle, he can go back to your mums. At least then you will know that you tried to move with him.

    You are brave.
    You can do this.

    A motto that we should all try and live by:
    "It's better to regret the things I have done, rather than the things i did not do"

    :)
    Sass

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  4. I'm not going to say that I have been there (although I have) because quite honestly that really does not help you, because this is your experience, not mine, and it is going to be scary no matter how many people reassure you that you'll be fine.

    What I will say is that you are miles ahead of where I was after living in a new city alone for 5 weeks. You have already started to make friends, and you know deep down that you are making the right decision. Sure those friendships aren't going to develop overnight, but you're on your way.

    Of course it's scary - but scarier yet is regret and staying somewhere that you are not 100% happy with because it's comfortable. You will be such a stronger person through this experience, you just have to trust yourself. It's ok that it is a daily struggle. If it weren't, I think you'd be lying to yourself. It will be a daily struggle for awhile, but one day, probably soon, that will go away. I promise.

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  5. I know how hard it is to be back in LA...everything is so familiar...it is like when I used to come home to CA to visit my family and would want to move back, and then reality set it that there was a reason I left in the first place. I think amazing things are in store for you in Chicago...stepping out of your comfort zone is HUGE, but the rewards will be greater! I think you should keep the dog friendly apt, just in case in a few months, you "happen" to see an animal shelter and stop in :)
    Thinking of you! xoxo You can do this!! AND you are getting a FABULOUS sofa right??? AND I need to bring Lucy to American Girl Chicago one day and need someone to show us the city! :)

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  6. As Mrs. Bee said,

    "It's better to regret the things I have done, rather than the things i did not do"

    When I was living in Chicago I made arrangements to move to Miami for 2 months to get certified to be a personal trainer. My tuition was paid for and living arrangements were made. For whatever reason I got scared at the last minute and backed out.

    Not going to Miami is the biggest regret that I have in my entire life. I will NEVER have that opportunity again. I'm married with two kids now, so it's not like I can just pick up and move to another state for a few months.

    Moving across the country to Chicago may be frightening at first, but think of all of the cool things you will do and learn. And think of how much easier it will make it to pick up and move on to another adventure if you so choose. :) Enjoy your youth and ability to take adventures!

    As for your pup. I think you should bring him with you. He will offer companionship when you have down times and feel lonely.

    If I was still single and living in the city, I would SO come hang out with you and keep you company! :)

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  7. You know since you have loved it so much so far, when it is new and the scariest time-since it is new, I am sure it is the right thing for you.

    Some of that charm and excitement might wear off though once you have been there for a while though.. but I think Chicago will still be the right place for you.

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  8. my first job out of grad school, I moved from Connecticut to South Carolina, I had no idea what I was getting into. That first year tested me and shaped me. No, it wasn't easy, but not a day goes by that I am not proud I made the move. After I year I took a new position in Virginia and have now been here for 7 years. Slowly but surely I made friends. I volunteered and even took a part time position in a clothing store to meet other ladies-I work in a mail dominated field, and joined the junior league.

    As for the apt, if you can do the dog friendly one, go for it. your pup will give you comfort and you can bring on walks or to the dog park. Cute pups are great convo starters! good luck!

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  9. You are right. It is not the same moving with husband/boyfriend/friends. It is so irritating when people think it is the same. As you know, I have done it ON MY OWN and it is hard. Sounds like you have it easy though, with lots of new potential friends already, and you are not moving too far away... you can (and I think you said you plan to) visit your family here in L.A every few months. There are other people in the world, including me, who have done much tougher moves.. think of that and know that the only thing stopping you is you - you just have to DO it.

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  10. “Promise me you will always remember – You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think”

    Christopher Robin to Pooh


    You have already made your decision. You know it's right. Now you just have to kick doubt's butt. ;)


    XO*Tricia

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  11. I'm not gonna say that I know what you are feeling, but I am going to tell you that I am praying for peace for you like I did for my OWN little sister just a few years ago. I went through this same emotional roller coaster with her a few years ago when she moved across the country to be in LA alone.

    You are brave, and you are strong, and your are wise. This IS scary, but you can do it. You HAVE to do it. And we are here. We love you and we won't let you give up on your dream. No regrets.

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  12. I think all change is scary. No one knows exactly what you are going through but in some form or another most of us can relate to you. I think it was not brave but admirable of you to try a new life in Chicago. I do hope you go back which seems to be what you are going to do. You are going to have ups and downs but I hope the ups keep out weighing the downs.

    xoxo

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  13. you can do this! you want to do this! just remember, NOTHING is permanent unless you want it to be. If you move everything and hate it after 6 months or a year you can move it all back and start again. If you move everything and love it, you can sign a longer lease.

    I can relate to so many of your feelings as you described them regarding the adoption. Most of the time I am so excited, buying and preparing for her arrival. But then sometimes I just think...omg! what am i doing??? I can't do this. So your fears and doubts are totally normal. When we put ourselves into major life change and big decisions it's only natural to question it to the end. You will be fine!

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  14. Thank you all so much for your support. I really needed to vent last night, and it's so wonderful having each and every one of you by my side for this journey.

    I really do love all of you! You're amazing!

    xoxo

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