Next week, the second meet-up with the Experience Institute crew begins back in Chicago. And lately, it feels like I've lived three different lives.
Since moving out of Wicker Park, Chicago, I’ve defrosted beneath the warmth of the California sun, tasting salty air mist the mornings as I searched for a decent cup of coffee. This was my "beach bum vacation life."
|Here's where I spent Christmas w/family.|
I’ve run around oak forests and over the hills behind my parent’s property near the Sierra Nevada range. This was my "hometown hillbilly life."
|The hippest cats take shadow selfies on trees.|
I’ve worked in a squalid apartment complex in the valley, taking on the role of landscaper and pit bull wrangler. This was my "manual laborer life."
|She looks cute until she bites your hand off.|
All the while, I’m planning what might be next, which seems like it will inevitably be time spent in a place I’ve never been before. (More details to come!)
This transitory life I’ve been living – rambling with a plan, but constantly calibrating my hopes to make sure they’re true – is one I’ve chosen and one I love, but it’s strange. It’s never normal and it’s sometimes heavy.
Recently, while living my "manual laborer life," I removed food from a recently abandoned home vacated by deported immigrants. They up and left in a flash, leaving behind artifacts, telling stories of their lives, in piles on the floor.
A loaf of bread sat on the kitchen counter and a meal of beans and tortillas waited in the fridge. But it waited for no one. I took it all and threw it in the dumpster before the rats would get to it.
And the tenants? I don’t know where they are now.
Yet, here I was. Who am I? A resident of nowhere cleaning up after residents of nowhere too.
We inhabit the same spaces, but inevitably experience it all differently.
My mobility is a luxury, theirs is enforced. My lack of residence is a choice I can afford, theirs is one that undoes everything they know.
I won’t be living that life again tomorrow. And in just a couple more days, I’ll be on the other side of the country. And a week or so after that, I might be on the other side of the world.
I don’t deserve the life I’ve been given. It has come with unearned privileges.
Moving forward, I’m keenly aware that this life is beautiful and strange, and it quickly changes.