I moved home to Chicago this past fall, after 20 years in other places (mostly Florida). I can hear “why?” in various tones of voice depending on how you feel about snow; just trust me that it was the right choice both because of, and in spite of, the upheaval that created the need and resulted from the choice. This one’s personal, but maybe my story will remind you of you, or of someone you care about.
Sometimes you go out into the world with big dreams and a taste for adventure. You realize you can do anything, go anywhere, be whatever you want to be, and so you take the leap. You have amazing experiences that you never would have had. You meet people who change your life. Maybe you even start your own business. And all of that incredible stuff fills you up and makes you glad you decided to get out of your comfort zone and try all those things.
If you’re lucky, all your dreams come true. You never fail hard enough, or get hurt enough, that you have to look back or make really hard choices. Believe me, I’m rooting for you! AND, it’s pretty rare that anyone is that lucky. So you fail hard, or you get hurt, or just make a choice that leads you down a road that you later decide you don’t care to travel. When that happens, something big has to change to get you to a place where you can be OK again.
My story is something like that, and what I needed to do to be OK again was to come home. I want you to notice something subtle but important about the words I’m choosing here. At no point have I said “I came back.” I have come home, but there is nothing about this move that is “back.” You can never step into the same river twice, and neither can you ever step into the same city. Chicago is a completely different place now from the city I lived in 20 years ago. I am also a completely different me from the person I was 20 years ago. This move home is a move forward, no less than my original move away. Everything about this place and time and experience is new, and at the same time, is giving me the cloud-soft landing into a comforting, familiar place, close to family and friends, where I can heal from the hurts of the last few years and start the next chapter of my story on a fresh clean page.
So what’s your story? Are you on the right road right now? Are your surroundings and relationships and career feeding your soul in the way you want them to? If not, what needs to change? When’s the last time you went home, and what was it like?
Think of those questions as journal prompts. Maybe once you’ve written about that, you’ll be inspired to write whatever else needs to be written. If you get stuck, give me a call.