BY MEGAN CHANEY
When I was 22, I left Missouri and went to San Francisco with little more than $3,000 in my pocket and a lot of rose colored hopes for my future. I thought I’d land the perfect job, meet the perfect guy and live in an incredible apartment. None of that really happened – I landed a lot of jobs that were stepping stones that would eventually lead me to the perfect job. I dated a lot of not-so perfect guys and I lived in a tiny apartment that was more than overpriced. I did a lot of stumbling, falling flat on my face and generally failing.
Eventually, I did figure a few things out and ended up doing pretty well there. I had a good amount of professional success, broke a few hearts (which lead to mine subsequently being ripped out) and I eventually discovered a sense of boredom and I decided to head East. This time I moved with a bit more money, a much better resume, a broken heart and more realistic expectations for my future.
Once in Manhattan, I miraculously landed a once-in-a-lifetime job, a fantastic boyfriend and a great (albeit expensive) 1 bedroom apartment mere blocks from my office. Pretty soon though, the job became my whole life, the boyfriend turned out to be not so great and I paid $2,000 for an apartment I saw for approximately 4 hours a day (and it was only to sleep and shower). The same feeling of boredom and frustration eventually washed over me and I knew something had to change.
When I decided to move back to Missouri, a very close friend of mine told me I was throwing away my career and a life that I had spent 8 years building. My response? Perhaps. But I’d spent 8 years building the life I thought I SHOULD have, rather than the life that I truly wanted. Moving to St. Louis was absolutely the right choice for me. I am in love with this city. I am happier now than I ever was in San Francisco or New York. Perhaps part of that is getting older and wanting to feel like I had roots someplace familiar. Perhaps it is finding a place to work that is truly collaborative and doesn’t consume every second of my life. Perhaps it is reconnecting with an old friend who became so much more. I’m really not sure. I do know one thing though: when I stopped doing what I thought people would think was cool, I became so much happier and feel like I’m finally leading the life I am supposed to.
There are a lot more obstacles to overcome and challenges to face, but I finally feel home. And that’s a pretty good place to start.
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