Today is the beginning of my third day here in Chicago. Over the past few days, three things have left a big impression on me.
First, I have to learn to stop worrying about the things I cannot control and turn those things over to God. Hiccups repeatedly happened in the days leading up to and the days after my move that were out of my control, the biggest of which was the weather on Sunday when I was supposed to fly to Chicago. As I sat at the gate, I heard all of my fellow passengers speculating about the likelihood of our flight being cancelled. Another airline had already cancelled all of their flights to Chicago. Then all of the US Airways flights AFTER mine were cancelled. I was trying not to panic, but thinking about where I would stay and what I would do if I couldn’t get to Chicago for a couple of days, especially since my cat was supposed to be delivered by the pet transport company to my Chicago apartment that evening. However, in between deep breaths, I reminded myself that I had no control over the weather or whether they were going to cancel my flight or not. I also reminded myself that although it was possible (and maybe even probable) that my flight would be cancelled, as of then it was just delayed, so worrying in advance about something that might not happen wasn’t worth the energy. Every time I started to feel the anxiety rising, I just prayed that regardless of what happened, I trusted that God would help me sort things out. Thankfully, my flight was not cancelled, and I made it safely to Chicago on Sunday afternoon. Each and every hiccup was resolved and worked out, but not before I had a period of time where I was tempted to panic. In all honesty, I feel as though I experienced those stressors so that I could learn to trust and have faith in any circumstance that God will take care of me. He came through each and every time.
Second, I am struck by how good it feels to have so little. Right now, all I have in my apartment is what came with me on the airplane – so a few pairs of boots, some clothes, my laptop, Kindle, and toiletries. My furniture and all other creature comforts are being shipped by U-Haul and will hopefully arrive by the end of this week. The past two nights I have slept on the floor with just a pillow and a blanket. I have no TV. I have nothing to sit on but the floor. My studio apartment is significantly smaller than what I am accustomed to, but is a pretty roomy 600 sq feet by downtown Chicago standards. I thought I would get bored. I thought I would get lonely. Neither has happened yet though. There is something liberating about not being surrounded by a mountain of stuff and being content with so little. I’ve spent my time working from home, walking around the neighborhood I live in (despite the negative temperatures and insane wind chill yesterday), reading, catching up on the past couple of sermons from Elevation Church, and watching Ted talks and FaithIt videos online. And I am content. I was apprehensive at first about choosing not to get cable when I moved, but now I feel like it was the right decision.
Finally, I have interacted with a lot of people over the last week, and when I explained to them that I was moving to Chicago, inevitably I would be asked if I was moving here with someone (presumably significant other of some sort). When I would respond that I was moving by myself, there was always a reaction of surprise and respect. I do think every person should experience living in a place significantly different from where they were born and raised at some point in their life, and that the experience is made that much more valuable by doing it on your own. The reason it is valuable is because it can be scary and difficult, but also incredibly empowering and enlightening. I have a sense of pride that I have done this not just once, but twice now. In fact, I am still actually stunned that I am here in Chicago. I used to be so risk-averse and conservative about making big changes that I sometimes find myself in disbelief over the fact that I have become a person who actually does things like move across the country on her own.
I do still need to establish some kind of routine. I worked from home yesterday and today because of the inclement weather, and have mostly been eating frozen entrees since I don’t have any kitchen/cooking stuff yet. I still need to put my transition plan into action. However, one thing I learned from my last move was to be patient. Making friends, finding favorite places, establishing a routine, and becoming familiar with your surroundings take time. It was almost a year in Charlotte before I truly felt settled and comfortable. For being three days into my Chicago adventure, I think I am doing pretty well!