I arrived in Chicago four years ago today. It's hard to believe the time has gone by so quickly. There are times when I wonder what it is Chicago was supposed to teach me; sometimes I think it has to do with a life here, sometimes I wonder whether it has to do with learning a lesson that I had to learn by coming out here on my own, so that I can one day go back East a different person. Certainly, now that I've lost my job, it occurs to me that there is a possibility I may have to return to Boston one day, but I'm not sure that's the case; it's cheaper to be jobless here.
Although lately I've begun to feel a bit homesick for my East Coast friends, and I'm not sure what that means. I mean, I've always missed my EC friends, but lately the feeling has become more acute, so I have to wonder what I'm processing and projecting. I'm a lot less lonely here than I was in Boston; perhaps it's because I have no long-time friends here who have moved on to long-term boyfriends or family or moved far from the city, which is 99% of the people I know Back Home. Feeling less integral to people's lives here doesn't feel quite so bad; isn't as much of a stigma when you have entered people's lives well into the Second Act, rather than going from a main character to a supporting role.
Yet most of the time I spend on the phone is with friends Back East (and my Very Best Friend, who is Way Back East, in London). Chicago has delivered on its promise: I can't change that I'm single (or, rather, I have no interest in dating), which generally means spending a lot of time alone. This doesn't bother me, but in Boston I felt easily bored, since the city is the size of a postage stamp and most people out on the town are about 19 years old. Here, there is a lot for me to do, so I'm able to keep occupied and feel connected thanks to the ease with which people talk to strangers here.
This summer, E and I plan to have a 100th birthday party for our Dorchester house; perhaps what I need is just a visit back home; it's been a couple of years, after all.
In the meantime, spring is coming, the air smells delicious, and my artichoke and okra seedlings are germinating (yowza!)