So my life has changed tremendously in many ways since I last posted just over a year ago. Some of this change has been tremendously good. Some of it has been profoundly painful and difficult to endure. But here I am, in one piece and enjoying some degree of a normal existence, at last. Life in Chicago had become very unsatisfying for me - on a lot of levels. It was clear to me about two years ago that some large-scale personal and professional adjustments needed to be made if I was going to keep from finding myself in a very sad and dangerous place.
It's strange to wake up one day and realize that things you've devoted huge amounts of time and effort to are not providing the return (financially, emotionally, physically, etc) you'd hoped for. To finally stop cold and say to yourself, "this is untenable and cannot continue" is incredibly difficult, especially for someone who has a high-achieving, driven personality. But I did it. And I'm better for having experienced it.
So I'm in Richmond, VA. My career has once again been placed on a track for growth, I enjoy riding my bike, exploring history, the weather is agreeable, my cats are happy, and life is good. While that's all wonderful and nice, I still struggle with demons every day. I've learned things about myself over the past two years that now allow me to better deal with my own flaws and tolerate those of others without conflict. It's a form of growth that staying in Chicago would not have permitted.
Sure, there are people and things in Chicago that I dearly miss but there are just as many that I can easily do without. I suppose there are always trade offs when a change of venue happens but right now, I'm working on me, finding my way, figuring things out and doing as I wish without encumbrances. It's refreshing and scary all at once and right now, I wouldn't have it any other way.