I’ve lived in the suburbs about half an hour from Chicago for almost seventeen years now. Ever since the first time I visited California, I promised myself I will live there someday. A little over a decade later, I’m still here. Life just got in the way, I guess, for lack of a better excuse. But the ultimate goal still stands; in fact, it’s a lot more realistic now than it has ever been.
My intention for this post is to express a few thoughts that have been brewing in me for about a year now, and it’s been a process attempting to straighten them all out.
I didn’t know this before, but there will come a time when you grow out of the only place you’ve ever called home. You realize you’ve squeezed everything you can out of what this town offers, and there’s nothing else for you here. Then you feel trapped. It’s difficult to understand, but when you feel it, you’ll just know. And once you do, there’s no going back.
It’s a feeling that is all-consuming and forms that painful lump in your throat whenever you contemplate why you are feeling this way. It happens to me every time I’m in Chicago for whatever reason. It’s been this way since last year. The moment it hit me the hardest, however, was when I went ice skating with my boyfriend at Maggie Daley Park. I took a short break and sat on a bench by myself. Rather than staring down at my phone, I looked up at the city lights from all the buildings surrounding me, and I just could not control the tears that streamed down my face. I felt stuck. I saw Chicago, and I felt anger, anxiety, and suffocation.
That is when I realized I need a change of scenery.
“Chicago is a great city; how can you hate it so much??” “I feel like you’re just forcing yourself to hate it because you want to be in California so badly.” “You’ve probably never experienced the good parts of Chicago.” Let me clarify: I never used to hate Chicago. In fact, though I never wanted to live in a big city, I loved visiting. I always saw it as a new adventure. But not anymore; this mindset is recent.
By change of scenery, I don’t mean only in the visual aspect, contrary to how many people may interpret that phrase. To me, wanting a change of scenery is a metaphor; it’s an emotion that yearns for satisfaction in where I stand in life in comparison to where I would like to be, even if my current situation is not my end goal yet. It’s more of a need, rather than a want, and you will feel it in the depths of you. You’d be itching to feel differently, and you’d know that the only solution is change in location. You may not know what exactly you’re looking for, but you know it’s anywhere but here.
Of course I know life is what you make of it, and being elsewhere doesn’t automatically give you the life you’ve always wanted, but it’s one huge step. I absolutely despise not feeling like I’m moving forward. I get frustrated with myself and angry at the world if I can’t do anything about it, especially when I know what I need, and what I need are baby steps to know I’m doing something right. I refuse be stagnant. I don’t wish how I’m feeling right now on anyone, but if you’ve ever felt this way and you feel like no one supports you, know that I fully understand how disheartening it is.
All I ask is for people to stop telling me how to feel and that I’m downright wrong for feeling this way.
A change of scenery is not all about different buildings, new people, and drastic weather changes. There’s no growth for me here anymore, and I hope the people I love the most understand that.
One of these days I’ll be surrounded by palm trees on a daily basis, but for now, moving into my own apartment one state over to finish my last two years of college will suffice.
Home will always be there waiting for you, but you have to know when you need to leave. If every inch of your body tells you this is not where you belong anymore, it’s time.
“She’s got dreams too big for this town, and she needs to give them a shot, whatever they are” -Billy Ray Cyrus