And so the dilemma of this Chicago lover is realized: I know I need to leave Chicago. Most functional-minded adults would turn to me and simply tell me to move out of the city, experience new places and people. I’m just too in love with Chicago to make an escape route. We’ve all heard it time and time again, “Chicago is home,” and “Chicago is amazing, are you nuts?!” This feeling of having to get out of Chicago, to receive new perspective, may be transient, but it is very real for me and I think to a lot of others.
I recently went on a business trip to San Diego for a week. Days one through four were amazing, and it was like I was taking in this new way of life. SoCal is a bizarre place for those who haven’t gone. However, around day five, I began to get antsy. I began to crave my Fuji Classic, biking down Halsted St, and playing pool at Emporium. I needed my friends, my places, my city. I finally got home to a 74-degree, sunny Chicago after a week in glorious San Diego. I took the Red Line up to Addison to go home and was instantly barraged by the concluding Cubs game and the fans it drew. It took almost seven minutes to fight my way through the Addison station before finally getting into the clear. And there I was, in town for no more than two hours, and all of my despairs and dislikes about this place returned.
Chicago is so magnificent that it makes it hard to leave; those of us who grew up with the beauty of this place may feel a tug to try somewhere new, but the pull to stay is stronger. So here we are. Stuck. We may branch out to new cities, new places, new experiences, but ultimately, Chicago is home and Chicago will always be home. We may well find lovelier lovelies, but never a lovely so real.
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Christian DeKnock is a graphic designer who occasionally likes to write his feelings down on paper. He wants you to know he really does love Chicago; he just might need a breather for a while. Follow him: @cdeknock.