In my adult life I always wished for a place to settle in. A neighborhood to know long-term that would in turn know me and fit well.
As a kid, I moved around a bit. It was for a variety of reasons but I never took root in one place for too long. When I started going to school with kids who had been in the same house their whole life, I wanted that. I don’t know why but having a local place to go where people recognize you always seemed fun to me.
Don’t get me wrong I don’t hate that I moved a lot. In fact with age I have appreciated it more and more. It taught me how to adapt quickly to new environments and new people which I feel quite comfortable with these days. I adjust to change quickly and I love that.
I also learned in a variety of new environments the constant is me. The variables are the people and things around me. That mentality has taught me self-confidence, self-awareness and contentment. It has also taught me to accept others. I am so grateful for who I am and what I have learned from where I came from.
The not so fab thing about it is I am fairly comfortable detaching when I feel like the season has run its course and come to an end. I wrote about this last week if you want some context.
So fast forward to…I moved to Chicago a few years ago and for two and a half years I have been here. I always lived near Chicago, in the suburbs, outside city limits but never quite in the city since I was a baby.
I have been doing my best to enjoy and explore the city especially my neighborhood since moving here. Even if it is something small, usually not more than a couple weeks will pass without me having a city adventure someplace.
One of my goals was to become familiar as a local. When family and friends come visit, I can have the best spots to take them for food, drinks, dessert and entertainment.
My boyfriend has actually managed to master a lot of this already. He goes in some of our favorite places and everyone is thrilled to have him there. People call him out by name, share all the details of their life and really enjoy keeping connected with him. We have had a good share of free perks because of his mayor-like personality.
I actually have found a local bar less than a block from home that feels so much like the show, Cheers to me, it’s crazy. In the past couple years I have invested in learning about the people who work here so I could have a cool place to call my own as a local.
It has been around so long that you can always catch some of the same people on a weekly basis. They serve free food occasionally and always have free popcorn. When you come in, the custom is greeting everyone. I made this place a stop following my last birthday celebration. It’s like family here and once you’re in, you’re in. I love that.
Really it’s about building relationships and friendship with people. I believe we are all much more connected than we act like in our day-to-day life. When we have meaningful encounters and connections with people that are undeniable, that is how we change the world. We change the world by getting to know people and allowing them to know us in return.
In getting to know what else my neighborhood has to offer and keeping up with my Alderman newsletters, I have been setting roots like never before. I’m invested in my future here and overall as a Chicago resident even if I don’t live in this particular neighborhood forever.
I actually just registered for my first Chicago Public Library card on Friday. I just voted in my first Chicago Primary election a few weeks ago. I am shaping a future where I get to know more people and they get to know me. I simply cannot wait until I walk into many more places and everybody knows my name.