How Italy is like Illinois

They both start with I and that’s about it

This time last year I was settled into my apartment downtown Chicago. It was an incredible summer transitioning into fall- living a block away from pretty much anything I could ever ask for (which was mostly Spanglish & Wingstop.) I had a job I enjoyed, a girl I enjoyed more, and what seemed like an evergreen funnel of cash that let me do whatever the heck I wanted. Life felt like it was moving as quick as the doors opened and closed on the metro, and I was all aboard for the ride.

Pipe dream? Not at all. In fact, I believe we are moved to whatever we are focused on. I knew that life in Chicago was sustainable so long as I wanted it to be.. but that was the problem.

I needed to get out .

My heart wasn’t in sacrificing the time and energy for the rat race. I’m a very visual person, and Chicago was aesthetically pleasing for me. Kinesthetically though- it just didn’t feel right.

If you could imagine the push and pull of those two. I was in a place where I could hop on my longboard, smoke a blunt and peace out to the beach, planetarium, high rises, monuments, parks, plazas- you name it. Chicago had it. The drive along Lake Shore Drive, to this day, is one of the most beautiful trips I’ve ever made. This city captivated me and convinced me to stay even after it started killing me.

Looks right, feels wrong

I think that often times we fall for the trap of the appeal from our leading sensory output, and being a visual person Chicago made me think that I was on top. It made me ignore the underbelly of the beast that was the pitfall. Have you ever woke up feeling like you haven’t experienced what you needed to? That was me, all too often. This had nothing to do with being unhappy, because Chicago was one of the best times of my life. It just didn’t feel like I was where I needed to be, and I was worried that I would never get to see it if I didn’t make a move.

Everyday my health was getting worse, the pain from work mixing with scoliosis did not serve my back well- and in turned stopped serving everyday activities well. I would begin to spend my Sundays in, without wanting to move. My life force was being taken from me. So that’s when I pulled the trigger and decided to do something about it.

A long life is far from a guarantee

I always had this plan to, in essence, run away. Not from anything in particular, I have an amazing family and support system to do whatever the hell I want. I now realized that I had it backwards. I was running towards something. The opportunity of the good life.

I wanted to live and operate in a world where I made my own rules for how I spent my day. I wanted out of the rat race and into the business of serving others. I wanted to create a life of growth and solidarity for my family. I wanted to be able to work on only what would align with my beliefs, and not be bottlenecked by anyone.

I was running straight first towards exactly what I was focusing on. It took me years and years to make the leap, I had no idea when it would come. One day I woke up and had an epiphany.

If I want it, why don’t I just take it?

Those words made me laugh at the thought. Is that how easy it is? Does our subconscious really work out the details for us if we just continually put a laser focus on what we want? I believe so. I had no idea how the logistics would turn out, in fact I still don’t completely. Here I sit however, in a comfortable bed in rural Italy thinking about how all this has come full circle.

Does it feel completely right? Not yet, still. Patience is the name of the game, I’m in this for the long haul. The places we visit are never the goal, but part of the journey. Although today looks, hears, and feels completely different than it did last year- I noticed a commonality.

Other than Italy and Illinois both starting with the letter “I,” I also know this to be true; gratitude is what makes every experience worth it. Our lives are not defined by what events we experience, because the reality is nobody else gives a shit. Not a bad thing!!! Our lives are defined by the meaning we put behind the events. It’s up to us, every moment, to make the decision to choose why the meaning of why life happens for us.

I was happy last year waste deep in the rat race. I am happy today doing absolutely nothing. So why change? Why ever do anything different?

I believe your story needs another chapter. There’s a 1 in x-trillion chances of being born in the first place. If you’re reading this that means you were given another opportunity today to live. So go do exactly that. The meaning of life will change over and over as we grow (or die,) so remember to choose wisely. You are important. Your life matters.

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