The dream is on full go mode now! I am 100% finished with my Chicago obligations and feel like I have escaped the cage that confined my wings. I can now draw my wings to their fullest span and fly in any direction I wish!
February was an excited yet challenging month. There was so much to do on the homestead as well as for my work and it was the last month of our lease on our Chicagoland townhouse.
The first half of February I was home in the country. For the weather there was a lot of rain but the earliest signs of spring are sprouting strong. The early moss, the shift in the sun and the arrival of song birds by the flocks are all present and gradually becoming abundant. Even the dandelions are beginning to show their appearance with early blooms. With winter in its final days here, it's been a wonderful season. Only a few snow dustings that lasted only in the morning and melted away completely by noon and many days warm enough to work in on the land, practice archery and my martial arts in just a flannel shirt, its the first full winter I have ever spent here and the first full season I have ever spent here. It was a wonderful winter experience.
The second half of February I had to head back north to Chicago and teach a seminar in St. Augustine, Florida.
I arrived in Chicago on Valentines day so I can spend the evening with Christy. (She's been up north with the kids helping her mom getting her house ready for the market and taking care of her dog while checking up on the townhouse making sure the important mail was collected and all that regular stuff.) Since I had to be up north for the closing of the townhouse lease I decided to run a weekend training intensive in my martial arts for my Inner Triangle group. We trained hard for Saturday and Sunday. It's always great to see the guys, get some intense working out in and burn those calories!
During the week, I hung out with my sister and went to dinner with my mom. Of course, I missed Christy and the kiddos and it is always wonderful to spend time with them. While I've been down south working on our new home, she's been up north helping her mom and keeping an eye on the townhouse stuff.
The second weekend I flew out to St. Augustine, Florida. My friend and student Kevin took the trip with me to assist and escape the Chicago winter for a few days. I absolutely love St. Augustine, FL. It is a small city/town where my student Chris runs our Kali Center Chapter group. He hosted the seminar and I had another full weekend of teaching and training.
After training was complete each day we hit the town. St. Augustine is rich with so much history. The fort is amazing and the first paved road in the country is in the that town and my favorite ice cream shop ever is on that road, peace pie! The beach is stunning and there's a power that only the ocean has. Christy and I have discussed many times that maybe one of these days we would get a small place there.
It was time to head back to Chicago. The second week there was the hardest. It was an emotional struggle. I felt trapped, like I keep getting dragged back into the cage. I've been dreaming about leaving the Chicago area since I was a teenager and since we purchased our new home at the end of October, every month I had to go back for something.
There's really not much for my introverted to do there. Driving is most stressful with dodging and avoided accidents every day and shopping is always competition with both other customers and employees. Compared to my new home town and being in other places throughout my travels, Chicagoland is a pretty unfriendly place. Of course there are some friendly and nice people but, the majority of people you come into contact with when out on normal routine stuff, like going to the store, they seem so miserable, unhappy and rude. Nobody smiles or even says "hi." And when you say., "hello" they glare at you with these beaming eyes.
I've always noticed this but, down south when I have to go to the store, everyone is so friendly, says hello and most employees are actually happy to help. I honestly think the two biggest factors are, the Chicago area's cost of living which is absurd and the lack of nature and the disconnection to it.
Down south there is access to an entire national forest the spans the width of the lower state. You can go anywhere for great hiking, camping and outdoor activities. Real nature! In Chicago, the closest nature is engineered forest preserves, which of course is better than nothing and I took full advantage of them while living up there but, you still have to battle the city noise and pollutions. Plus, the sleep isn't good. The nights in Chicagoland never get quiet, never get dark due to the light pollution and never get still.
I had an app for a while that measured my sleep through heart rate. I wore the wristband at both South and North locations and the readings where surprising! The results basically told me that I never got good sleep and likely for the past decades of my life in the Chicago area I've been sleep deprived. The results when I was south on my homestead? Complete 180. Even with a 5 hour sleep I would be in REM and SWS Deep sleep for three to even four of the five hours every single night!
I'm sure for some people, the city absolutely works wonders for them, but for this extreme default introvert, it's never worked for me. I spent my whole life up to now tolerating my life and now as of the end of February, we ended our lease on the townhouse and I got to say my goodbyes to Chicagoland. I gave my landlord the keys, got in my car and headed straight down home.
I don't mind visiting Chicago for a short time, no more than a night or two with great time lengths in between visits but, now there are no more obligations to go. There's nothing tying me down or pulling me back there. I feel liberated and like I can breath deeply. I feel like, even though I moved months ago, I'm finally really home.
What's next? Spring is coming and so now I have to remove the pool since it's in part of where the garden si going to go and then I have to build the infrastructure for the garden. I'm also going to make sure I spend time on some day hikes and maybe even some overnight hikes too.
Being outside and being surrounded by nature 24/7 is so inspiring and energizing. Each day I can feel my connection with nature getting stronger. My brother and sister-in-law, my dad and my sister are all coming down at the end of March to visit. It will be the first time my dad and brother have been to my home. Christy, the kids and I are looking forward to the visits.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. It's a bit longer than I usually write. I've wasn't as active as I would have liked to have been in February. I just wasn't really feeling creative and I know it was mainly due to the anticipation of having to go back to Chicago for two long weeks but, now I'm home permanently!
Please like and let's continue the conversation in the comments!