It’s funny. Besides my childhood home, I’ve never really felt sad about moving. Sure, it was weird when college ended. And yes, it was hard to leave New York City when the time came. But yesterday I moved out of my home for the past 5 years, and it’s been a surreal experience.
I know that the time is right. I love my new apartment (it looks so pretty already!). And I’m SO excited to be living with Adam – to get to start and end every day with him. No more shuffling my stuff back and forth between our two places! Tons of space! In unit washer and drier! This is, without a doubt, a great move and I’m SO excited to get settled into this new home together.
But as I stood in my empty apartment on Monday, I couldn’t help but get a little emotional. I remember the day I moved in like it was yesterday… but it also feels like a million years ago. I had just turned 26, and so much of me was still very lost. I had lived in a studio up in Lakeview on Lake Shore Drive (hence Lake Shore Lady!) for about a year after moving back from NYC, but this was a serious upgrade. Deep down, I think I knew that this is where I was going to figure my shit out. And I did.
When I first moved in, I was still hanging on to a relationship with my college boyfriend. He had just moved from New York to L.A. – aka nowhere near Chicago. My scared self was holding out hope that we’d figure something out, until I started to realize I didn’t want to convince him to be with me. So I started falling in love with Chicago instead. And I fell hard ?
Being right in the heart of Old Town got me out of my apartment, saying yes to blogger events, meeting new friends, going for walks on the lakefront, exploring more neighborhoods, trying new fitness classes. My brother and sister-in-law moved in 2 blocks away, and started inviting me out with their friends whenever they were on Wells Street. And I’d go! Why sit at home and be sad when I could be starting and enjoying a new Chicago chapter?
Beyond that, this apartment became the set for many life events. It’s where my friend Caroline and I talked through our dating debacles. In the time I lived here, my friend Kaitlin moved to Chicago for a few months, then back to New York, then BACK to Chicago (and now she’s my new neighbor!). It’s seen our other best friend’s visits, from before they were married to baby bumps. And I can’t even tell you how many times my sister-in-law Ali popped in to pick something up/drop something off, and end up staying for an hour chatting on my couch. This was my single girl home. My Carrie Bradshaw apartment.
This is also the place where Lake Shore Lady became what it is today. This was LSL’s headquarters! Where I got up way too early and/or stayed up way too late with some Netflix show streaming while I edited photos and wrote blog posts on my couch. This is where I hustled to turn this little blog into my career.
But perhaps even more sentimental than that… this is where I learned how to love myself. Sounds cheesy, I know. But this really is where I learned to be proud of myself in a REAL way. This is where I learned that you can’t make someone love you the way you want them to. I figured out what I really want and what was no longer serving me on so many levels. After all, this was where I finally let go of pursuing an acting career. Did I love it once upon a time? Yes. Did I want to seek the validation of someone else every day of my life? No, I really didn’t.
And finally, this is where I learned to push myself farther than I thought I could go. That applies physically – through yoga teacher training at Corepower Yoga + Flywheel, Orangetheory, solidcore, etc. A non-athletic girl like me usually solely stuck to yoga classes and the elliptical – look at me now! But that point also applies mentally. I don’t think I ever thought I was capable of creating my own business from scratch – let alone doing it while juggling another job. I surprised myself here. And I feel so much gratitude for every circumstance that turned that lost 26 year old girl into the successful 31 year old woman you see today.
I keep typing that this move is bittersweet, but I know that it’s far more sweet than bitter. The best is yet to come. Adam and I have been talking about being “roomies” for so long now – and this new place already feels like home. But for my own closure, I knew I needed to let myself feel a little sad about this chapter coming to an end. This was an extremely substantial and influential 5 years of my life. Sometimes you have to let yourself feel those weird bittersweet feelings in order to recognize those lessons learned, so that you don’t forget them. Change is scary, but it’s also transformative. After all, the proof is within these walls.