In just three days I board a one-way flight to Chicago, a place I only just visited for the first time last week. Am I excited? Sure. Nervous? Hell yes.
I can’t stand cold weather. Three years ago I packed up and move to sunny Phoenix from dreary Seattle by myself, but it was different. I was halfway through my undergraduate degree and knew I would meet people on campus, and at least we would all be burdened with mountains of schoolwork on our way into infinite debt together. Now I’m leaving all the sunshine behind to move 1800 miles away to a place I know hardly a thing about (aside what I’ve seen from watching Showtime’s Shameless).
I graduated in May 2016, much to the surprise of my entire family (needless to say, college wasn’t exactly an easy ride for me). Exactly one year later, my father met my boss-to-be on an airplane and I was flown to Miami that same week for an interview. I was offered a regional sales position on the spot, and thus began my new career in hospitality design. Overnight I became in charge of managing accounts and projects in 12 states surrounding the West coast (including Hawaii–what?!). In my first 7 weeks I visited 7 different cities, most places I had never been. I got my first rental car and was pleasantly surprised with a yellow Volkswagen convertible which I foolishly sped around Honolulu with the top down in the rain. Not only was the travel a blessing, but the pay was fantastic. For once I didn’t have to worry about my bank account being overdrawn and having to pay for gas with spare change (this happened much more often than I care to admit).
At our team sales meeting in Miami a few weeks ago, I confessed to my boss that my lease was up in Arizona and my plans to move in with a friend had fallen through. “What?! Wait, hold that thought…” she said before hustling to the opposite end of the dinner table to plot with my manager. Shortly after, I was summoned over with another glass of wine and proposed with:
“What do you think about moving to Chicago?”
Less than 24 hours later, I committed to move to Chicago within the month. I had the exciting conversations with my friends about the wild opportunity, the overwhelming conversations with my parents about the prospect of moving to a new place alone, the sad conversations with my Arizona friends about how much I’ll miss them, and the hard conversation with the incredible man I had started dating about how we both know long-distance doesn’t work.
But of all the conversations, the one I had with myself was the hardest. I knew my gut would tell me if I was making the wrong decision. I also know that as much as I am grateful for this career opportunity, it’s not what I want to ultimately do with my life. Writing is my dream, and moving to Chicago away from everything I know for a job that I don’t feel wholeheartedly passionate about feels like a betrayal to myself, especially when I preach daily about the importance of finding passion in your career. But in my dad’s words, “it’s a good gig,” and I know that this is what I am meant to do until I can make writing my life. It’s temporary, and as long as I don’t lose sight of my end goal, trekking through snowbanks on Michigan Ave shouldn’t be so bad.