DENVER | Dreams, Reality, Health & Accounting
I’ve received so many notes inquiring about why I’ve chosen to return to Chicago, and that has prompted me to write this piece. :) CONTENT WARNING - without getting too gauche, I do go into some financial discussions. I realize that I am lucky and (not that I believe in God, but ..) blessed to be in a comfortable position, and I do not write any of this as a way to shame anyone who is struggling. I approach the topic in the context of my own mental health. Anyway .. read on, dear anonymous person behind a computer / tablet / phone screen!
For nearly two years, my partner and I bounced back and forth between our respective homes and Denver with great regularity. His job required he spend a lot of time there, and I was thrilled to tag along. I quickly fell in love with my perception of it as a warm and idyllic place. It seemed to walk a line between wholesome and “wild west redux”, and I was captivated.
During this time, I spent my non-Denver hours engaging in a full Alyx dance card and obtaining a particular professional certification. By mid 2018, I was in need of some serious down time outside the bell jar, and I felt driven to begin growing my (other business) brand. I also wanted to obtain a particular athletic certification, tryouts for which were hosted Denver. So this city, a bright yellow orb on my life horizon, called to me and compelled me to move, scale back Alyx, and be content making / living on less income in order to focus on my other passions.
I am someone who lives with diagnosed OCD, and one of my big triggers is finances. I knew that this last bit would be hard! But I decided that I was up to the challenge of parting with a large sum of money. I decided to make myself be fine with that.
So I moved, and everything started out smoothly. The enchantment was real for the first few months, and the dangerous whimsy vibe was almost as much of a drug as that ubiquitous green herb. My bank account (surprisingly) held steady due to an influx of private travel requests and high grossing tours. I was happy building something new while not letting go of Alyx.
I trained for and passed my certification (go me!) and sank a fair amount of money into my new business. I partnered with some really terrific souls and poured sweat and hours into to getting everything up and running.
And all was well until it wasn’t. Things began to change. And each one of the points below has factored into my decision to move back:
Firstly, I began to see the city for what it really is: a cesspool of opiate addiction set in stark contrast against a beautiful tableau. As the crackdown on prescribed opiates continues to be successfully implemented, people who once abused pills are turning (back) to heroin as well as to fentanyl. This crisis is particularly pronounced in Denver given the city’s long history of providing hospitable living conditions for homeless, transient, mentally ill, addicted populations. Within my 8 months here, I have found FOUR NEEDLES on the sidewalk. Four. And the sidewalks are covered in human feces. (Mind you that i live in a “nice area”.) I am an empathetic human being, and I recognize that this is sad. More money needs to be pumped into harm reduction services and mental health outreach programs. But that does not change the fact that I am tired of having to watch the ground in front of me for fear of stepping on someone’s needle and ending up diseased and addicted.
Next, I began to miss my friends. At 35, I really do not feel like starting over again. I moved to Chicago from my home city and built a beautiful life. I have great friends there whom I miss dearly.
Then we have the fact that this city is horrid from a (my other business) standpoint because NEARLY EVERYONE is health conscious. People do not need me because .. well .. they’ve got their own backs! So while I am happy that my new brain child was brought to fruition here, it is time to move it back to the land of the seven month winter. A place where people actually need my product. :)
Now lest you think I am nothing but a whiny downer, let me say this: Denver has brought MANY, MANY positives to my life:
built a wellness brand I can now really make work in Chicago
didn’t let my OCD get the better of me, and learned that it is OKAY to go through a large sum of money while bringing in less income. It is scary, but doable. And even though it is time for me to replenish, I am thankful every day for still being this financially stable.
learned so much about my own body & others bodies / learned to modify my training methods (thanks to multiple sports injuries, rehabs and recoveries while training for that cert)
made some massive dietary changes (which have positively impacted my physical and mental well being) thanks to a nutritionist I wouldn’t have met had I not moved here
learned how to breathe and obsess less
made a new lifelong friend in one of my neighbors
learned that i do not have to have some fixed, unchanging amount of money in the bank to be successful, stable and happy
So ultimately, I call this a win! I took a chance, didn’t fail, and am now able to redirect my life in order to keep the momentum and continue making it what I want. And this, my friend, is what I mean when I say that I will soon make my “triumphant return” to Chicago. :)
Thank you so much for taking this deep dive with me! I hope that it has been informative, and that you understand how disarming it is to get this candid in a blog. But it feels so good telling this story. ;)
Cannot wait to see you soon!