I used to love going to Chicago. It was kinda my "home away from home" so to speak. I have friends up there, I can get around the town pretty well, and I loved the go go go lifestyle. I enjoyed all the stores downtown and uptown. I enjoyed the bars and night life. I loved most all of it all the time!
This weekend was different though. I was excited to go but it was funny... I was even MORE excited to come home this time. I feel like I have changed a little bit, on the inside and the outside. I feel like my mind has matured and this little trip reflected many of the ways I used to think versus how I've learned to think now. How did I get to this conclusion?
*Money+beer. It boggles me how I ever used to go to Chicago and spend 3 nights out on the town... and after each night, go and have "I need to sober up so I need to eat" breakfast. Wow was I an idiot. Now I about pass out everytime I order 2 shots and a beer and it's 24 bucks!! (and that's not even a nightclub price, that's just the Metro price!) Maybe I'm spoiled by "midwest prices", or maybe I just finally am honestly and truely understanding the value of a dollar these days... I couldn't even bring myself to try some new clubs in the area.... See, if I don't like the feel, atmosphere, people, or music in a place, I'll leave. In and out, done. Therefore I couldn't pay the $20 cover to try a new club... it just didn't make sense in my head...
*Money+shopping. I'm bored with downtown Chicago. Really. We have most of the same stores here in my town. And the ones we don't have I know why.... Because you can't AFFORD them. Sure, I like Urban Outfitters but I can't bring myself to pay $48 for a tank top. Sorry. I still like some of the uptown stores but tend to stay away from the little boutiques cause their prices are usually higher then normal. I love clearance though. I will admit, I did find an awesome dress at one store and it was over $50 normally but clearanced to $7 bucks! Now that's my kind of store! (Oh yeah, but we have the same store here.... it's just bigger there)
*Art. We went to the SOFA show (Sculpture Objects & Functional Art). It was very interesting, some of the pieces were brilliant. I would like to think I'm not too shabby of an artist myself. And yet, some of the pieces I was amazed that we would call it art, and charge for what we do call art. I'm not a critic though. I don't have a masters degree in functional art. Just my opinion. I guess my life is simple enough to not need a $120,000 piece of glass in my living room for discussion purposes :-)
*People. I'm not trendy, I'm comfortable. I wear ugly hats. I dress warm when it's cold. I don't care about having the high heel boots anymore, worn with tights. (News flash: It's 30 degrees out!). I smile at people. I say please and thank you. I hold doors for people. I will move out of the way when a mom with a stroller needs by. Somewhere along the way, some have forgotten these simple rules of life. Not all people. I've had SOME pleasant experiences in the big city (once I took the el with Zak and a stroller, and I was offered seats at every stop.... but I'll admit, I was pretty surprised.) I'm just not used to getting yelled at by the doorman at the hotel I'm paying out the ass for, for smoking in the "wrong spot".... really pissed me off....
*Validation. The above leads into this. I used to care ever so much about what I looked like when I went to Chicago. I USED to shop at the trendy stores. I USED to wear very classy outfits and high heels. I USED to care if I looked like I "fit in". I used to feel validated everytime I would go out and a gentlemen would compliment me (some were not so much gentlemen though...). I fit into the tight pants, shirts, and shoes so I "looked good". But I've learned that the only person I need validation from is myself. That feels amazing. Sure, I still like to look pretty but it's my own style of pretty now, not what I feel is expected of me.
*Zakari, Izeah, and Zane. I missed you more then you know this weekend. I don't know why it hit me this hard this time. I called everyday to talk to you. I loved hearing your voices and I wish I could have gone to the indian pow-wow with you. I had more fun Monday night, sitting at home in front of the fire, knitting and watching you play then I did all weekend I think. Sure, I still believe in taking a break, a vacation, "time to ourselves" if you will.... however, I think one night can do it now.... not "weekend trips" anymore.
*Last but not least.... Love. This has many aspects to it. I knew this before but it was reinforced recently... In relationships, things change. Especially after a certain point of being together. It's not caused by anything but our own human nature. It's about being comfortable with someone and knowing they will love you unconditionally. I've always believed that the first year of being together is like the honeymoon... you go out of your way to impress, swoon, seduce, love someone. Then life happens and things start to get real. You lose sight of making that someone feel special. We forget to do the small things and each feels it's just a reflection of the other.... maybe this works for some but it doesn't work for me... or us... I learned it's time to be comfortable, but to still go out of the way to make the other feel loved. It's time to stop intentionally trying to hurt someone/ push someone to see how far they will go. It won't happen again from my side of this relationship.... (and yes John, I still love you.)
SOOOOO..... in hind sight, I don't look at this trip as a bad thing... it may sound like it from above, but really it wasn't. It was more like a time I needed to realize all the ways I've changed.... to look back at the last year and feel like I've done a good job with learning and maturing, for putting my family first, for feeling comfortable and understanding why I have done all these things with my life. I'm thinking the next little weekend trip to Chicago will be a family trip.... nice little bed and breakfast... with ALL of us having fun :-)
(One more thing I learned... looking at this picture at ChiTown Girl's Bar.... my liver and I have made a deal after this weekend as well... Dana is officially on "detox" after the weekend in Chi town... my liver will thank me :-)