A Lot Can Happen In a Year

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.Summertime in Chicago

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.floral silk topwhite dress and black heels

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.striped shirt and black skinny jeans

I made a winter bucket list to get me through the toughest of months and subsequently, fell in love….with yoga.

say yes

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.

Chicago tattoo

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.

skydiving for the first timeskydiving for the first timefirst time skydiving

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.

ruffle dress and block heels

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.
the best polaroid camera

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.living room trimfrench doors

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.


Join The Discussion

  1. Sarah Lagen

    I’m tearing up (at work) as I’m reading this! I’m so happy and so thankful that we’ve become friends, that you moved here and all the memories we have together!! It’s wild to think we’ve only lived in the city together for a year because it feels so much longer then that!! So happy you moved into your new place and I can’t wait to come over and sip rose and gossip! 🙂 I hope you have a great Monday and I love this post so much!!

    xo, Sarah

  2. Alissa

    BRB UGLY CRYING READING THIS! Jess, I am so, so, so proud of you and also that last note struck such a chord with me! I am so proud of you and what this move means!

    1. Jess Post author

      AH, thank you for sharing that with me!! The move to my first place that’s all MINE feels INCREDIBLE. Hopefully you can see it when you’re up in August. 😊

  3. Amanda @ Anchored to Sunshine

    Such a powerful and moving post! Congrats on your confidence and determination! It can be hard sometimes staying positive, but this was such a motivating post that you can do anything you set your mind to. You just have to know your limits. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Addie Martanovic

    I absolutely loved reading this post, Jess! Hopefully we can meet one day over coffee or yoga since there are so many gems in this city. So happy you can call this place your home + love it. I completely agree with you on so many of these statements above! xo

    1. Jess Post author

      Hi Addie! Thank you so much. I’m so happy it resonated with you! I would love to take yoga with you! You always seem to find the best studios. Let’s get something in the works. ☺️

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  7. Alyssa

    It sounds like Chicago has been good to you! I wish more women would be able to recognize that the life they are living isn’t the life they want and make some of the (really hard) changes you made. xo

    1. Jess Post author

      It really has and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. 🤗 I really appreciate you saying that! It’s hard for people to understand others and their decisions sometimes, but at the end of the day, I know what’s best for me (most of the time). xx

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