Monday, April 12, 2010

Shifting Priorities

As Adam and I freewheel in our second year of marriage, our priorities are changing and shifting. I suppose it's only natural. I remember when I was so bored and frustrated in Columbus, but I am wondering how much of that was a "home is where the heart is" type of situation. Adam wasn't there, so I was unhappy. But now, I'm finding myself missing it very much.

Over the past several months, we've dealt with a few low blows, but they were more than counteracted with highs. We've met new friends. Adam's book I Kissed A Zombie and I Liked It is getting rave reviews and he's selling foreign rights like crazy! Things work out just the way they're supposed to.

Even thought I grew up in Cleveland OH, a big city, I am not used to the intensity of a big city. I'd spent 13 years in Columbus, which is a mid-sized city in central OH. I miss Columbus, even with all its Ohio State insanity. I miss not having to pay sales tax on groceries. I miss cheaper groceries (oh Marc's) and not being scared to drive without being honked at. I miss my friends and I really miss being close to Aidan. I'm pretty homesick. And for the love of God, I need to see lots of green grass and trees and flowers and stars at night.

We've been weighing our options. I went on Craigslist yesterday and compared housing prices there with housing prices here. The difference is astounding. Book checks would stretch SO MUCH farther there. And there is Aidan. He's there. I should be. And again, the fees and prices and nickel and diming here is outrageous. 10.25% sales tax. 13.25% for pop (which is part of the reason I stopped drinking it). Parking tickets. Parking in general. The fact that they make it SO inconvenient to own a car, yet threaten to shut down the CTA every six months. The competitiveness in the job market. Hoops, hoops, hoops. Having to jump through so many hoops for and during interviews. Taking 25 minutes to go three miles because there are so many traffic lights, cars, cyclists, and pedestrians on the road. People on top of people because dwellings are so close together. Schools aren't great. Crime's not great (I really am tired of people breaking out my car windows). Rush hour happens at any given time. You just never know around here.

And yet, I know that if I leave Chicago, I'll miss it. I like knowing I can hop on the Blue Line and go shopping on State Street. I like having the American Girl store be a 15 minute bus ride from the apartment. I can walk to the bank, to the CVS, to Subway, to the Italian grocer on the corner for a good sandwich (provided the line's not out the door, as it tends to get at lunchtime). I would miss the friends I've made here, and the opportunities for networking as an author are amazing. The downtown is beautiful, especially in the spring. There's the lake. I can walk to the yoga studio. It's not unusual to randomly see a celebrity walking down the street (this is more Adam's thing than mine, with his early morning walks and all). That kind of stuff is really, really cool. And I'd miss that.

So I'm really torn. I am scared that I'll go back to Columbus and get bored and frustrated again, but I am frustrated here as well. Adam and I weigh the pros and cons all the time. Of course, the family wants us in Ohio. It'd make sense financially. It's familiar (to me). Well, it used to be. I read old journal entries and I get sad because well, I don't remember those streets anymore although I used to travel them all the time. Finding freelance proofreading work there would be quite a challenge, as the market's already pretty saturated.

Once upon a time, Adam used to say he'd ALWAYS want to live in the city. But now, he's changing. And I change all the time. I think the best thing to do is to be open at what the Universe has in store for us. No matter what, it'll be what's meant to happen.

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