I’m convinced there’s two ways that you can live your life.
You can either…
a. wait until you are forced to make a decision due to strain and stress, simply allowing the inevitable to happen to you, or
b. think about and anticipate the next step and then move forward towards it on your own initiative.
The second one is definitely a lot more difficult because sometimes it doesn’t make sense or have a path of perfect logic all wrapped up in a pretty package ready to present to everyone that asks.
So…I’m moving back to Chicago is normally how I announced this decision, just kind of dropped the bomb because being subtle is not exactly one of my natural attributes.
Typical response? What?! WHY!?! You can’t go!
We like you here.
You’re successful at your job.
You’ve made an impact on lives.
You’re having fun and you’re happy.
We need you.
We didn’t get to do everything we wanted to do with you yet.
This is a great city.
Greenville is one of the most awesome, inexpensive cities to live.
It’s COLD up there!
But seriously, it’s FREEZING up there! You can’t survive!!!
You have really good opportunities here you can pursue.
You love this city.
It won’t be the same without you.
Yes. Yes, I do agree with every single one of those. I honestly do.
But you know what I’ve had to learn over my whole life? Those descriptions shouldn’t be true in just one place or location or season of life. Maybe it should follow you everywhere you go.
Because every person, place and situation I’m in I have decided to pursue leaving it in a better place than when I started. And what I want to leave behind is not really my name, but virtues and values. Like love, happiness, joy, peace, kindness, hope, honesty, strength, trust, humility, generosity, and faith.
Because those things last forever.
My life isn’t just about the here and now. I live the realities of the kingdom of God, and he came up with those values in the first place. So I just want to nurture them wherever I go, knowing that those will generate success with or without me.
So if I remember that this life isn’t all about me and always being known as the best, the funniest, the best trainer/manager, or the greatest friend then I am free to come and go as I feel because I’m not defined by what others want for me or say about me. I know who I am, and that’s a chosen, valuable, worthy woman and daughter of God, so I’m free to make a decision about what I want to do right now.
Will I mess up? Oh yes. And I have before. But life is about learning, not getting to a place of comfort and being too afraid to move because I might get hurt at some point. If that’s your view then get ready because life will throw trials at you anyway. You pretty much can’t ever escape hurt, pain or mistakes. So it can catch you by surprise as you’re living a stoic life, or you can take it in stride as you’re constantly moving forward and ahead. I’m very imperfect and make a lot of mistakes, but I’ve learned to move forward instead of living in a reality of my past, making it my present which distorts and kills my future.
Does that mean you have to move out of state? No. That’s just what is going to work best for me right now. I have always had a love for cities. I also have a sick amount of school debt that I need to really focus on paying off, so I’m going to try to get a job where I can pay off debt like a boss, develop my love for marketing, steward my bachelor’s degree and MBA… and guess what? Chicago, one of the cities I really like, happens to be where my relatives and family live close to! So I kind of just put two and two together. See what I did there?
And by the way, I’m really going to miss Greenville and all my friends and experiences there. This wasn’t the easiest decision and it took about 9 months from beginning to end. But I knew it was time, and because I have so many amazing people in my life that made it that much harder. I’m blessed to have to many influences in my life and such good memories to look back on.
So why Chicago? …you may ask
The easy answer to that is my family lives there and I grew up in a suburb of Chicago. I am definitely glad to live closer to family and be more involved than I have since elementary.
But the whole story? I actually went all “researchy” and decided to make a list of all the things I was looking for in a city and what I thought I wanted to do in life and find a place that lined up.
So here was my line of thinking: First, I’ve had a heart for helping broken women, specifically through freeing those that have been involved in sex trafficking and human slavery. So I researched the top 10 cities in America where that’s prevalent as well as the cities with the highest crime, since those overlap. It may seem like an odd way to research where to live, but if you are a child of God then you have the power of the kingdom everywhere you go, so why not go somewhere that actually needs change instead of a place to just blend in? Maybe we can try to live life on purpose?
Second, I googled the top culturally diverse cities. I love being exposed to and surrounded by a wide variety of cultures. It keeps you thinking, changing, and humble and I personally enjoy diversity.
Third, I searched which cities have the best cost of living. I’m not at a financial advantage right now in my life, so that was a very practical consideration.
The top cities that came up after all that consideration were Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Tampa, Detroit, Phili, and Houston. After considering them, I crossed off ones that I legitimately couldn’t afford and ones that I did NOT want to live in (bad experiences in Detroit), and Chicago just made sense. I was familiar with it and had family there.
So thus the decision. Not sexy or glamorous or miraculous. Maybe God gave us a mind and resources so that we can use them to make decisions and maybe we get our panties way too much in a wad over the next steps in life because “I don’t know if it’s right or wrong.”
There’s no right or wrong. Just do something. Just start. That’s the hardest part because then you’re vulnerable. It’s much easier to stay put and be easily understood. Sometimes we care way too much about what other people think and want for our lives than what we want out of life and who we were made to be and do.
Leonardo da Vinci said something pretty insightful and I’ll leave with this:
It has long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.