I recently visited one of my favorite cities, Chicago. The drive into the city is somewhat magical to me. When I exit I-90/94 and turn onto Lakeshore Drive, my pulse quickens and a smile comes to my lips. Lake Michigan sparkles on my right, with runners gracefully moving along the jogging trail. I long to join them. Nothing compares to running along Lakeshore Drive. It is quite beautiful. Next I see Soldier Field, home of the Bears. Then Navy Pier and the Shedd Aquarium appear along the shoreline. All landmarks which signify a sort of homecoming to me. The day was perfect. A warm, clear and sunny November day. The sky was a brilliant blue, my favorite color.
To my left the buildings are growing taller the closer I come to the city. They too sparkle in the sunlight. Each skyscraper is unique, and each resembles a work of art. The older buildings feature classic architecture with intricate mouldings and statues of gargoyles on some. The newer buildings characterize modern clean lines and glass. There is beauty in all of them, which makes me happy. I feel enveloped in the city's welcoming embrace. It is similar to being in a museum or gallery.
When I exit onto Michigan Avenue and pass Millennium Park, I know I have arrived. Every time I come to this wonderful city I feel a surge of happiness.
The city's pulse is beating around me. I can't wait to park my car and exit the vehicle and get onto the city streets. The sounds assuage me. The beep of car horns, the whistles of the parking valets hailing cabs for hotel patrons, and the voices of people all fall upon my happy ears. I've arrived.
It's so difficult to explain. You're either a city girl or you're not. Some people prefer peace and quiet. They prefer suburbia or country life. My daughter is one of these people. She dislikes crowds, and shies away from the craziness of the city. She likes to visit, but only for short periods of time then looks forward to getting back to the 'burbs. Actually, everyone in my family is that way. I'm different. I prefer the city. But alas, I've been overruled, ha ha. And the majority rules.
I think my love for the city started within the dreams of my youth. I dreamt about having the exciting life of the journalist...living on Capital Hill, covering the White House. This is what I went to school to study, and what I wanted to become. I suffered through Political Science classes. I lived for my English, Literature and Journalism courses. I wanted to travel the world, covering exciting stories and visiting as many different cities as I could. Instead, I finished with school, married a Navy boy and moved to Indiana. Now don't get me wrong, I've had a happy life and have given birth to two wonderful children that I might not have had, if I had instead followed my youthful dreams. And I am so blessed with my children and wouldn't change my decision a bit! Kendall is just about to enter her senior year of high school and Nick is in middle school. Time flies! I have been married for almost 20 years. A lifetime! But I'm coming to the realization that it's never too late to follow your dreams.
As my children draw close to starting the journey of their adult life and hopefully following their own dreams, what is holding me back from doing the same?
A few years ago I made the decision to become a more independent and active person. Made some big changes in my life. I had let others dictate who I was for as long as I can remember. It feels good to finally be coming into myself. I continue my growth every day. I could have given up, but I'm stronger than that. I could have just laid down and died, but I'm stronger than that. Today I'm letting go of fear, taking chances and slowly a new "me" is emerging. So here I am blogging to you about myself, my struggles and my joys. Being honest. Today I can laugh at myself and learn from many mistakes along the way. I'm blogging professionally as well, and freelancing when I can get it....so why not more? After all, sorry for the cliche', but life is too short (says the 45 year old).
I am becoming more introspective as I write this post. I am still writing about the city love I have, however it's morphing into a deeper meaning. My love for the city and my youthful dreams is a metaphor for who I am today. Of what I'm becoming. Change is good.
Is there a point in life when it's too late to reach for your dreams? I say no. Just as long as I keep moving forward.
I'm writing this from my home in the suburbs, back from my city, Chicago. I am in my bed, with my laptop aptly placed where it belongs, on my lap. And I'm happy. This is good. I'm trying not to let the silence unnerve me. Today I will enjoy the peace and quiet. And I will continue to dream of the sounds of the city. And of my future urban address. Because, you never know.......