June 25

Today is an anniversary day.

First of all, today is my blog’s second birthday! Hooray Accidental Intentions! I’m not cool, so I don’t have any fun giveaways, great links, whatever to celebrate the occasion. But it’s an occasion nevertheless because holy smokes,  y’all, two years is a long time to maintain a blog, so yay blog! I started this blog in the midst of training for my first 5K, which at the time seemed like the most insane thing I had ever done. And now I’m training for a marathon! Definitely never, ever saw that one coming.

More significantly, though, today is my Chicago birthday. A year ago today, my mom, dad, brother, grandma, aunt, and I packed up (nearly) all of my earthly possessions into a UHaul and our family van and drove to Chicago.

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The fact that I’ve been here a full year is kind of nuts to me. I suppose in some ways things have gone as expected–still in the same apartment, still at the same job–but there have certainly been things that did not go according to plan. I didn’t expect to be a regular in my (or any) hip hop class. I didn’t expect to have quite so much trouble trying to find my place or people in Chicago, because honestly, I still don’t really feel like I “have my place or people” in Chicago, at least not to the extent that I thought I would. By that same token, though, it took me a solid two years plus change to find my people and place in college, where the whole environment is geared towards helping you find your people/place, so maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised by that.

But even with the unfulfilled expectations, even with the struggles, I wouldn’t trade this past year for anything. Being in Chicago has allowed me to develop into my own person in a way I’m 100% sure would not have been possible if I hadn’t moved out of my hometown. I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone time and time again, which has allowed me to figure out for myself what I like and what I don’t like, what I need and what I don’t need. All of these things have helped me become more Bethany. Not more student Bethany. Not more daughter Bethany. Not more anything-I-was-to-anyone-growing-up Bethany. Just straight up Bethany. And I think that’s a good thing. I think I’m at a unique point in my life where I can learn a lot about myself, and I think Chicago has been the perfect place to help make that happen.

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So here’s to another year of learning, another year of exploring, another year of taking advantage of the opportunities to do things impossible to do in West Michigan. I have no idea what to expect over the next year, but I hope if I find myself sitting down on June 24, 2014 to write another June 25 post that I can look back on the preceding 12 months with the same sense of satisfaction. Here’s to year #2!

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20 thoughts on “June 25

  1. Congrats on your anniversary girl!! I still think it’s amazing that you picked up and moved away from your family to start your own life…I’m not sure that I would have that much courage to do it on my own, so I really admire your strength and ability to do it 🙂

  2. Fantastic post! It’s really hard to find your place in a new place just keep at it! I always think it’s amazing to see where our lives our now compared to where we thought they would be. I never thought a year ago I would have a new job in Chicago after living here only a year, a good group of friends, paying monthly to go to a yoga studio… etc etc etc. Life is so crazy and it’s always great to take a minute to appreciate how far you’ve come.

    Also, let’s hang out more, I like you.

  3. Happy Chicago birthday! I think its so so so important to move away from home at least once during your life and after college is the perfect time to do so! I was actually offered a good job in Ann Arbor after undergrad but I turned it down because it felt weird to stay in my college town with all of my college friends (and within 45 minutes of my parents). Now when I go back and visit, I can see a huge difference in myself compared to people who stayed in Ann Arbor. I feel like I’ve grown into myself (like you described above) whereas my college friends seem to be extensions of how they were in college. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that but I feel like I have a completely different perspective than they do because I moved somewhere new and had to get by “on my own”.

    • YES. Exactly. There was a job available back at my college earlier this year that was just about everything I could have hoped for in a job, but I knew going back there at this point in my life would totally keep me from growing into me, so I didn’t even apply. I’d much rather stay in a job that makes me perfectly happy and allows me to grow than go back for something that was my dream job in college but would make it WAY more difficult for me to develop as a person.

  4. I didn’t move from my hometown for 6 years after college. It wasn’t until I’d been in the Chicago area for a year or more that I realized, hey, I like myself a lot more now than I did before! It might take you awhile to find your groove but never doubt you did the right thing!

  5. I pictured you making the “birthday” post in the voice of Bilbo Baggins in the Fellowship of the Ring making his Birthday speech!

    Chicago has so many opportunities, challenges, and lifestyles that you can always find new ways to explore your boundaries and learn new things. It took my wife (michigander as well) a couple years to adjust to big city living, but loves it now! Cheers to another yer!

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