I gave notice in January at my full-time job (program assistant at a library), and I gave notice in February at my part-time job (receptionist at a church). I packed up my things last week and left Chicago, for good. I’m now typing this in California, from the second bedroom in my family’s home as I, at 27 years of age, have moved back in with my parents. Again.
(An aside: I personally think multi-generational homes can be good for the individual and the family, both financially and emotionally, but I will acknowledge that in my case, it raises questions as to my self-sufficiency, mental and emotional health, development, etc.)
The act of leaving Chicago, while perhaps swimming in brackish waters of unemployment and debt, is not as unpleasant as it seems from the surface. I didn’t flee in a spontaneous moment of fear. Indeed, I gave Chicago a respectable two years. It was only this past December that I began to seriously consider leaving the city. Slowly and steadily, often on my way to the train as I crossed the overpass above the highway (which offers as broad a view as any of the city at sunrise), it dawned on me that Chicago wasn’t working. I had finally grown tired of being alone. I had grown tired of being bored. I had grown tired of my depression and anxiety. Of having nothing to show. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t want to start over; I just wanted to get better. And I need help to do so.
Which brings me to California. I’m currently watching Harry Potter and checking my email incessantly, waiting to hear from the local public library as to whether they’ve selected me for the position of “Library Specialist.” It’s a job that my parents will undoubtedly think is beneath me, and perhaps a part of me agrees, but it pays nearly twice what my previous job paid and I would be delighted to have such income.
Admittedly, I haven’t left the house in the first 6 days since being home. I realize this isn’t a strong start to a new chapter but I have neither car, nor money and I live in the countryside. That being said, my friend has offered to drive out here, spend the day with me, and drive me back into San Francisco to stay at her house. I could have, and perhaps should have, taken her up on the offer. Indeed, I hope that I will in the coming weeks. But these social calls still smell faintly of pointlessness to me– that is to say, when I have no job, no partner, no graduate degree, no children, no wild adventures…well, I wonder what there is to speak of. Then again, the dearth of topics will remain if I don’t ever leave the house.
I know life doesn’t wait for you to find employment, for you to lose that 10 pounds, for your skin to clear up, for you to finally get an agent, a manger, a promotion, or a break.
I know this.
I shall give myself a pass because my friend extended the offer not 48 hours after I’d landed, and I left Chicago in a frantic, chaotic whirlwind of visits with Got-Junk and Goodwill and USPS, punctuated by shredded bills and broken appliances and anti-climactic goodbyes.
But next weekend, I will see my friend. And today, I’ll take my medicine.