We’re having some unseasonably warm weather here. I’m pretty sure that’s the case everywhere. Somehow it seeped into my brain and convinced me to walk home today. That wouldn’t be so ridiculous if I didn’t live about five miles from work. I didn’t have anywhere to be though, so I wasn’t in a rush to get there. The lakefront was crawling with people happy to be sprung from their winter captivity.
It was gorgeous and it was peaceful. Whenever I’m out in the city, I just feel so at home. I almost feel like anyone could come to Chicago and click with it – it’s just so wonderful. Not that I’m biased or anything. I’ve just loved everything about my time here is all. Spending some time alone with the city, pounding the pavement, gave me a long window of time with which to think.
I’m really beginning to think I shouldn’t be leaving. I know I go back and forth on everything. I’m a waffler at heart. Everything is a good decision until I make one, then immediately everything else makes so much sense. I don’t think it’s a case so much of the grass being greener as it is never joining a club that would have me. If I’m making the decision, it must be the wrong one. I mean look at me, I’m a neurotic mess most of the time. It’s surprising I can get up in the morning and choose a cereal and leave on time and only have one hissy fit over what to wear in my closet. Saying hello to someone I pass in the halls at work is a five-step process.
So I made the decision to leave my home and I’m back to doubting it. It’s not like Florida and I are entering some sort of contract. Almost any decision is reversible. If we like it, we’ll stay. If we don’t like it, we’ll move. In the meantime, we’ll live life. Just like everyone else. But I’m still chock full of self-doubt and self-loathing and regret. For something that hasn’t even happened yet. How can you regret the future? I feel with equal intensity that it will be wonderful and horrible. Ideal and deeply flawed. The best and worst thing I’ve ever done.
It’s hard to remember exactly what I was feeling when we moved to Chicago five years ago. For some reason 22 is soft around the edges for me. I have the memories. I remember punching a huge hole in our U-haul due to some misguided advice from some strangers who helped us back it directly into a dumpster. I know the sleeper couch we bought specifically for our studio apartment didn’t fit in the door of the building. I remember walking Kobe around our neighborhood for two hours that first day, just waiting and pleading and begging for him to just pee anywhere. I remember him peeing the minute we stepped inside the door. I can see the tears of frustration when I look back, but it’s hard to remember the internal. The feelings, the drive, the motivation. I remember my first day of grad school, but I don’t feel the anxiety.
I feel like I have more of a handle on what I was like at 17 even though it was further away. Senior year and it’s twists and turns are vivid. The emotions are easily recalled and gut-wrenching, at times. Is memory an inverted bell curve? In five years, will 22 sharpen into focus, only to smear out the details of 27? I like the recovery effect but not the loss in the meantime. I’d like to talk to 22, ask her if she was nervous. How she knew she was doing the right thing. If she had any doubts or fears about getting up and leaving almost everything she knows. If we have anything in common, if we can commiserate about all the ups and downs of new adventures.
I can’t ask her how she knew it would work out, if she even knew it would. I can’t get tips from her about how she kept it together. I can only trust she made the right decision the first time around, and I have no reason to doubt her now.