It’s been a year since I uprooted my life and moved half way across the country to a place I barely knew filled with people I’ve never met. People still ask me why I did it.
I still ask myself the same question.
I spent my entire life in the Chicago area, save for college and a brief stint in my late 20s living in Florence, Italy (another urge to uproot and relocate). But something was pulling me to California, to this little town that most Midwesterners had never heard of. I’ve never been more sure of something in my life than I was about moving to San Luis Obispo. It just had to be done.
Living in a small town has been an adjustment. I still get annoyed when I have to drive a mile to the nearest grocery store just to get an avocado. I curse every time I pull in to another fucking strip mall and proceed to get lost. And when U2 went on their Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary Tour, I missed it because huge musical acts usually don’t come to the Central Coast.
But I'm still liking it here.
I’ve found some friends that enjoy partaking in Happy Hour as much as I do. I tried new experiences like rock climbing and golf. I’ve rekindled my relationship with yoga. I hiked miles of rustic trails and climbed mountains. There are endless beaches so I'm going to start hunting for beach glass so I can, I don’t know, make a stained glass window? And I’m contemplating taking guitar lessons. People ask me what dating is like here in SLO. I tell them it’s the same as Chicago except the guys are in better shape.
Recently I went back to Chicago for a few days before meeting my parents in Italy. I met up with my girlfriends for a night out at one of Chicago’s new rooftop bars. The next morning, I rolled out of bed and met a friend for brunch. It was just like the good old days. But while I loved hanging with my old friends, it felt different this time. It’s not that Chicago has changed; it hasn’t, and neither have I. It’s just a chapter in my life that is now closed, and it made me a little sad.
It got me thinking about other chapters of my life, the times I had that were so full of fun and excitement that I was always bursting with happiness and walking around with a persistent glow about me. College was like that for me. So were a few years around the new Millennium. And so were my last five or so years in Chicago before I decided to move.
Every chapter must come to a close, no matter how much we’re enjoying it. That’s just how life is. One of the reasons I decided to move to SLO was because I wanted to experience a different lifestyle than the one I was living. I didn’t want to just move from one major city to another. But I am a big city girl, so my stay in SLO will be temporary. How temporary, I’m not sure. I recently spoke to a friend about moving to San Francisco together in a couple years. I also spoke to another friend about moving to Europe together as soon as she gets her EU citizenship. So who knows what my next chapter will be about.
But I’m not done with this chapter yet. I still have some mountains to climb.