I’ve recently undergone a lot of changes in my life, starting with this past November when I turned 25. That birthday came with a lot of realizations, first and foremost being that I am now an official adult. At 22, 23 & 24 you’re still considered a college grad. 25 though, that shit hits ya.
Along with the frighting panic attack that came with me trying to comprehend my actual age, I started to really look at the world around me. I’d been living in this Chicago college-lifestyle bubble where no one attempts to settle down until at least 30 and the idea of buying a house doesn’t cross anyones mind until 38-40. The cost of living is too high and the promise of free tables awaiting you at night clubs too thrilling to think of ever giving it up.
This beautiful city of constant dinners, drinks, blackouts, brunches, unending friends to do everything with had almost blinded me to the fact that years were passing by. Showing up hungover to work was the norm. My co-workers who were 29 and 30 were still going out on Tuesday nights. Others who were pushing 45 were buying bottle service at Paris nightclub. I had been in the city for so long that this seemed normal to me. But when I suddenly turned the age that my mom got pregnant at, my sister got married at, and my other sister bought her first house at, it really hit me. Am I wasting my years away acting like I’m still 21, while simultaneously creating mounds and mounds of credit card debt? When does it end?
Needless to say, I freaked out and did some drastic things. Not just dye your hair / re-arrange your apartment things. I full on uprooted my life and changed it on the spot. Quit the job, moved cities, lived on and off with family for months. Has it paid off? I think yes. Has it been the most stressful upheaval of my life? Also yes. But in this transition I’ve experienced some beautiful things. I’ve been able to spend way more time with family, watching my nephews grow and attending sporting events with my aging father. I’ve had the ability to have week night dinners with my mom again and meet my sister out for lunch. I had traded time spent with loved ones for the Chicago night life one too many times.
One of the most exciting aspects since leaving Chicago has been my newfound ability to travel. Having a remote job and no longer anticipating the $1,500 rent check deducting from my checking account each month has lead me to places like Park City, Utah, San Diego, California, Joshua Tree State Park and more. I’m actually spending the rest of the winter on the west coast, renting little shacks by the beach and working from cafes.
Life sometimes takes crazy turns, but if you follow your gut and step outside your comfort zones, things can turn out pretty amazing.