A lot can happen in a year. To celebrate my first Chicago milestone, I set out to do all of my favorite things yesterday. I ate my breakfast in bed, went for a run along the lakefront, did some writing, took an afternoon nap, went to yoga, and then capped the day off with beer and pizza on the patio at a little spot around the corner from my new place.
There’s a whole lot to be said about the last year of my life here. Chicago has been invigorating, challenging, eye-opening, and inspiring.
I’ve laughed until my cheeks couldn’t take another second, bawled my eyes out on the icy sidewalks, spent entire weekends hanging with myself, stayed out until the wee hours of the morning with friends, self-medicated with sweat, over-served myself a time or two, dipped my toes in Lake Michigan, had trouble peeling myself out of bed some mornings, and I’ve felt more alive than I ever have before.
I’m thankful for every emotion, every feeling. Each one of them has shaped me into the woman I am today – allowing me to feel like the fullest version of myself.
My first few months in the city were one big blur of friends visiting, a handful of trips, and an attempt to find a new routine.
November was pivotal for so many, and my actions (and reactions) to the way the election went drastically changed several relationships in my life. I wish I could delve further into this, but it’s the one thing I’ve deemed inappropriate for this blog, even for this over-sharer.
Shortly after that, I ended a 6 year relationship and engagement (I think it’s important to note this was not one of those relationships mentioned above). My girlfriends back in Kansas City, being the best humans in the entire world, hopped in the car to spend New Years with me. We drank our weight in champagne on the rooftop of my apartment, told ridiculous stories that made us laugh so hard we cried, shared confessions (some of which also made us laugh so hard we cried), and then we put our hopes and dreams out into the Universe in an effort to manifest those things for ourselves in the new year, and it really set the tone for me moving forward.
I said “yes” a lot, and hosted my first event in the city! On the other hand, I made a solid case for cancelling when I felt stretched to my limits.
I got a little “C” tattoo to remind me that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
I finally broke 2 hours in my first Chicago half marathon. I ran the Chicago Spring Half on a whim (read: signed up the night before which is not recommended 🙃) and thankfully the interval training I’d been doing paid off, but I still walked (more like hobbled) away with an achilles injury. Not ideal.
I jumped out of a plane and have never felt so…light. Nothing mattered in those moments. Every care, every worry, gone. I wish I could bottle up that feeling. (I actually partnered with Chicagoland Skydiving Center to make this happen after putting together my summer bucket list and couldn’t recommend them more. It was the most incredible experience. If you have any questions for me, I’d love to answer them!)
I let it allll go in Hallie’s SoulCycle classes. Like, full on ugly cried. Twice. Okay, maybe three times.
I watched countless sunsets from my shoebox in the sky, ate and drank my way through the city with friends and family who visited all while walking more than I’ve ever walked before.
I successfully directed a tourist to the red line, took myself on dates, and I made it a point to practice self-care.
I made mistake after mistake. I put myself out there. I got turned down. I turned people down.
I celebrated 30 with some of my closest friends on a boat out on the lake and made memories that I will cherish for a lifetime. (We documented our weekend on my Polaroid instax camera which is honestly one of the best purchases I’ve ever made!)
I toasted to 4 years of this blog and everything it means to me!
I grew closer to Sarah. Two summers ago I booked a flight to Chicago to stay with a girl I’d only met online and inadvertently made a friend for life. She’s someone I can unapologetically be myself around and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.
And finally, I learned that you can’t heal in the same place you got sick. I can’t even begin to explain how good it feels to be in my new apartment. A weight I didn’t know was there has been lifted off my shoulders. If only I knew then what I know now, I would have made this happen for myself months ago, but c’est la vie.
This has been the most transformative year of my life, to say the least. Alea Lovely wrote, “When I moved here, I didn’t know the woman I would become, but it’s nice to finally meet her.”
I’ve lived. And I’ve lived whole-heartedly. Chicago is my oyster and I can’t wait to see how the next year of life unfolds in this city I get to call home.