What’s next?

“Some folks like to get away,
Take a holiday from the neighborhood,
Hop a flight to Miami Beach or to Hollywood.
But I’m takin’ a Greyhound on the Hudson River line,
I’m in a New York state of mind.”

Just as I was sitting down to write, I flipped on “The Voice” (my guilty pleasure) only to find Britton Buchanan kicking of Monday night’s “knock outs” with this Billy Joel classic. It struck a chord in me, because I feel like it all rings true. New York City has always held a special place in my heart, but lately, I’ve been that person who “likes to get away,” even from a neighborhood… a CITY I’ve only lived in for five months.

It’s not an easy (or cheap) way of thinking or living, but I’ve always wondered, “What’s next?” Honestly, as I’ve learned more about myself over the last several years, I almost can’t believe I only transferred colleges once. Here’s why:

Thinking back to the earliest years I can remember of my childhood, I remember wanting to become a *litigator* as soon as I found out what the word meant—probably because I’m a pretty solid arguer and I always get what I want. Pretty specific goal for a kid, huh?

A few years later, as I discovered my ear for music and taught myself to play every instrument I could get my hands on, I was set on becoming a professional musician. But somehow, as a young adult, the “real world” become even realer to me and with my love of math and chemistry, I entered college as a prepharmacy major—I mean, no one actually makes it in music, right?

Yeah, that lasted all of one year. I left St. Olaf, headed to the University of Minnesota and pursued journalism. Of course, I’ll add that I’m still a solid arguer and stubborn as heck, and I didn’t let the music die—throughout college I really got into writing, playing and recording with Goodbye Child.

But, today, I’m not a lawyer and I’m not a recording artist. Get this: since graduating I’ve had NINE jobs. In all fairness, that includes Starbucks and two concurrent part time jobs before I landed my first full-time gig at KCTV in Kansas City… BUT, it’s nine jobs in nine years nonetheless. My job history itself is a perfect example of my “What’s next?” mentality. And I’m not suggesting that’s right for everyone, I made each career move for a very specific reason, knowing that “job hopping” could come back to bite me in the butt. Thank goodness it didn’t.

“What’s next?” made its way into my housing scene, too. In that same nine-year span since graduating college, I’ve lived in seven different apartments in three different states (four different cities). I’m not sure if it’s the joy of something new or the fear of being stuck that takes hold of me, but I’m always on the go.

Now, as a 30-year-old living on my own for the first time in my life, “What’s next?” has a different meaning. I snagged my dream job here in Chicago, so it’s safe to say I’m not going anywhere else anytime soon, but I still want to explore.

As many of you know, being without my other half has been sad and, at times, frustrating. However, I’m using this time to take advantage of the ability to “get up and go” whenever I please. It started with the desire to go plane spotting in a new city (even though it doesn’t get much better than Chicago O’Hare) coupled with my longing to be in the sky.

A couple months back I hopped on Google Flights and I saw that I could fly to Atlanta (there and back in one day) for $80 roundtrip on an American Basic Economy fare. That trip went swimmingly and thus, my new favorite hobby was born: pouncing on cheap airfares to anywhere. A few weeks later I hit Tampa, and following that, Boston.

These daytrips have, of course, set me back a few hundred bucks… but you know what? This is the first (and I sure hope last) time in my life that I’m living alone and have the freedom to go where I want, when I want. Of course, if I could choose, I’d have Scott here now and forgo these on-a-whim trips, but that’s simply not an option.

Lucky for me, he WILL be here from May till September… and I’m so excited to see what summer has in store for us. Knowing that, I did manage to squeeze in just one more adventure in the next couple weeks: Denver. I’ve been to the Mile High City once, but I was just passing through and didn’t have a chance to explore… so I’m really pumped.

Will this habit pick back up in the fall while Scott is finishing up his last semester of school? It’s hard to say, but oddly enough, that’s what I like about the way I’ve been living lately. My obsessive-compulsive, worry-wart ways have taken a backseat to the impulsive, fun-seeking girl I’ve grown to be. And it’s been pretty darn fun.

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