Where have I been lately? Well, I was in North Carolina for a week, so my whole routine was tossed in the air a bit. That said, I am now catching up on things, including the blog. The past week has been interesting for several reasons. First, I flew home last Thursday, which was actually my mom’s birthday. She thought I was coming in on Friday, but I wanted to surprise her, so with the help of my dad and my good friend Stacy, I got into RDU under the radar and surprised my mom at her birthday lunch. She was so shocked that she kept repeating, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh,” haha. The whole plan was a success! Above all, it was nice to spend time with my mom since I’ve been away for the past few years on her birthday.
Aside from my mom’s birthday, the other purpose for my trip home was to attend Justin’s wedding. The ceremony and reception were lovely, but it was a little surreal to see such an old friend tie the knot! I know, I know…I should get used to people getting married, ha–but it hits home a little more since it was my first close friend to get married. (I am also still surprised that 10+ plus years have already passed between us! Weren’t we awkward middle schoolers just a few years ago??) I was incredibly happy for Justin and Mary Hannah, though, and everything sat in when I saw Justin walk out to the altar with all his groomsmen. And yes, I even teared up some. After the ceremony, I couldn’t help but wonder how I’ll feel when one of my close girlfriends gets married or better yet–if and when I get married. I really do believe I’ll be one of those excited, emotional brides who tears up saying her vows. I think I’ll be in disbelief that everything is really happening, haha. Oh well, no worries anytime soon. All this to say, I was so glad I could be home for the wedding. I told Justin a long time ago that I wouldn’t miss it for the world! So happy for him and his new wife. Yikes, one of my friends has a wife! Crazy times :)
The downtime at home was good because I also got to catch up with Stacy, who is at home before she moves to Florida for graduate school, and Anne, who lives in Raleigh. Given my job situation, I found myself driving around town and thinking more seriously about how it’ll be to live back around home. With no positive responses yet on the job front, my current plan is to move back home with my parents by the end of August (my lease in Evanston is up at the end of the month). If any job prospects open up and I need to be in NC sooner, I would definitely pack up and go. Right now, it looks like leaving in a month or so will be the best thing. It was a little sobering to realize that even though I graduated, the economy is hugely affecting this “transition period” of my life. A recent news article reported that 80% of college graduates around the nation are moving back home with their parents. 80%?? Tragic. And I realize that moving home was my Plan C or D…but it’s been a difficult reality to swallow. Nonetheless, moving home will allow me to save money and continue to job hunt more rigorously. Coupled with these feelings about moving back with my parents is this bittersweet feeling about leaving Chicago and saying goodbye to my friends here. I mean, I only have a handful of really close friends who are still around, but it will be a jolting reality to leave everything I have built and grown to love about Evanston/Chicago/Northwestern. On the other hand, I think that moving away is part of continuing on with the road in front of me, not behind me.
For many months, I struggled with “where I would be happy living” or “where I should live”…and then just as everything knotted together in confusion, I realized that moving to North Carolina (clarification: moving to NC and having my own place, though living at home will be a transition into that…) put me at ease. For once I realized that that scenario made me happiest, got me most excited. Anyone who knows me well was surprised to hear that I wanted to move to North Carolina, but it’s become increasingly important to me to be around family and friends who will help me grow and love and see that we can’t know where we’re going or what we’re going to do–but we can have relationships that remain constant throughout all that uncertainty. And I guess that realization helped me see that being in an environment where I can experience that with others is important to me right now. Perhaps that is what has become very frustrating about things at the moment. I finally decided that I want to be in North Carolina, but without a job, I can’t entirely plan for everything that I wanted (i.e. a new apartment, a new place of my own). And the job search has entered a new phase. Initially, the process was stressful, then I reached a slight lull after applying for so many positions. After hearing a few “no’s” already or not hearing anything at all, I am rather disappointed and disheartened by it all. I know that given the economy and job market, none of this is a surprise. However, thinking back to the time and energy I invested into internships, job experiences, and getting a stellar education–in the hopes of landing an awesome job right now–has made this process tedious and frustrating. I am trying my very, very best to stay patient. The waiting, though, is what gets to me the most. The not happening-ness of it all, you know?
Anyway, with my plan to move home, at least I know that these next weeks will be working towards “something.” More job hunting, of course, but I’ll also start preparing to pack and move. I’ll clean out old odds and ends, and before I know it, I’ll have to say goodbye to some of my favorite people. That will be the hardest part. To leave a “home” that has shown me a tough love that cannot be replaced or repeated. Four years changes you, and for that, this goodbye will feel strange. Isn’t that funny? The capacity for a place–a space–to take on such meaning and feeling? That when I imagine my life here, I feel everything and one thing all at once?
Well, friends, that’s the latest from here. I am going to continue applying for jobs, crossing my fingers for good news, and looking ahead.