I was in the city this week, picking up new eyeglasses. My choice in doctors, hairdressers, and art/dance/yoga studios are all over Chicago-proper and burbs. Lately, I had considered moving back to the city - it always feels righteous when I am there. As a true grit-lover (I like the plural grits, too), I enjoy the worn textures found around old buildings and cityscapes. Maybe I need more of that in my day-to-day routine...maybe it's a good investment to live in an up-and-coming neighborhood. Maybe this is crazy-talk because Mercury is in retrograde and I have to Weigh. Everything. Against. Everything Else. Compare & Contrast.
Back to the eyeglasses trip...
My viewpoint on this lunchtime-in-the-city errand...driving up through Bridgeport & Pilsen...was now seen through a prospecting resident's eyes. It was not a problem to park the car, pay the meter, jaywalk, and talk to strangers - all while checking my phone about 15 times. I've got to be ready for a post of someone's #authentic lunch, #blessed lifestyle, or more validation that my bedroom paint color has been repinned for the 40th time. (It really has. It's a great sepia-grey...) For all the wrong reasons, I stay on top of that to distract me from the work e-mails about Rev. G of a business case document. Different problem for another blog. Walking back to the car on Halsted (in my usual spacing-out, looking-at-everything-and-nothing mode), I noticed an art-deco grate revealed through melting snow. I was defeated: "I just don't have the hustle in me anymore." With an armful of stuff, including my phone, I wanted to chuckle and cry all at once. Instead, I took a picture of the grate, enjoying how it felt under my shoes and reminded myself that I should go underwear shopping. City folk do not have time for this dilly-dally. I'm like a tourist in my former city. What was I thinking? I have this large-ish hunting dog from Kentucky, we are fitting into Bridgeport, or even a more residential neighborhood like Dunning, how...? I imagined myself running near underpasses and squatting in gangways, guessing if the dog or disaster would find me first. That kind of behavior is somewhat tolerated where we live now, where the neighbors are more willing to join in the adventure. But I loooove the city, and don't other people (like me) make it work? At that moment, I saw myself through the eyes of my former city-dweller self, and vice versa. We ain't the same.
Noooooo, but are we suuuuure? Sure, I can save on property tax in the city compared to Oak Park. But, I'll get nickeled and dimed as a result of other city scenarios. It's likely the same cost of living - I just have to pick my poison. Realistically, neither area will work...why does there have to be a poison, anyway? I planned to think it over some more in the car ride back.
"You're just being dramatic..." I thought to myself as I savored the butter-ish flavor of my Popeye's biscuit. This was the only time to eat (in the car) before I had to do the next thing. Hard to hear my thoughts over the rattling in the car - from the ironing board in the backseat, naturally. I was using it for holiday craft shows. The season is over, so it's time I remove this counter-height, redneck-hack-style jewelry display solution...and make some room in the car again. It looked ok since I had ethnic textiles draped over it...at least, I think it did. No, no - that is not what I am supposed to be thinking about right now. But it's another reminder of the constant hustle, in the name of un-stifled creativity.
Through this seemingly nonsensical analysis, I have been trying to prioritize and to locate myself in a radius of what I want to do, where I want to do it. A years-long project, in an effort to strip away the layers of self-actualized motives, weak agendas (I told you I am bad at self-promo), and foolish dreams. This city vs. non-city thing was just a new way to ask myself more questions.
Here's one of the recurring questions:
If I did less 'optional stuff' all over the place, I might save time and money. To do what? Cuz I *am* doing what I want to do. Lather. Rinse. Repeat vicious cycle. Sometimes it helps to be driving everywhere, mulling this over, so there is no time to transcribe my mother's inspirational video series, now available in a box on top of my radiator. I should watch some of them, it's rude not to...
But, really...it's not ok to be driving everywhere all the time. When I moved back to Chicago-ish in 2007, I said I wouldn't do it. I'm totally still doing it. Granted, all the reasons are different and perhaps more worthwhile...but must constantly re-prioritize where and when I hustle. The efforts to unplug once a week are sometimes successful, and I am maintaining some 'creative radius rules'. I used to ask the Universe to help me find my own place - not in terms of a building or a house, but rather a community. Perhaps it will find me, instead...tugging on my shoelace because I am not paying enough attention. (I really have to stop checking my phone so much.) Sepia simplicity will fall into place, and I need to stop worrying about what its zip code is.