As I've mentioned before, I was born and raised in the area. Grade school, high school, college, graduate school - all done locally. I've basically lived in two places in my life….the south side and the east side.
And while I am the first to confess my undying love for the Milwaukee area, there are some drawbacks to being a lifer. I'd be lying if I haven't lived vicariously from my friends who've set off to warmer climates, bigger cities, or to greener pastures literally, by going country. I am comforted every day by my city. I can walk down the street and be flooded by memories. It's a part of who I am and I will forever be grateful.
That being said, I wonder what it would be like to relocate? To leave all of those memories behind and make new ones in a new place. To trade "where everybody know your name" in to be "the new girl."
Over the past year, I've been striving in many ways to find myself and to push myself, at times unwillingly, into the next phase of my life. At times I feel the weight of all of those memories upon me. My past good or bad, my carried-over insecurities from grade school, the ghosts of failed relationships - it all lives here in Milwaukee. Would leaving Milwaukee mean leaving all of my baggage behind? As tempting as that sounds, I highly doubt it's that simple. Nothing ever is and the grass is never greener on the other side (Unless you’re moving to the country).
That being said, how does one go about making changes within the confines of the same-old? I think it starts with accepting that that baggage is yours, not the city's. You're the one who's carrying it!
Even if I moved to Italy, I'd probably pack all of those memories in a huge suitcase and take them with me. It's up to me to look at myself, my past, and my city with fresh eyes. What better a place to unpack my bags than the very place that's been helping me acquire so much baggage all of these years. In a way, I think Milwaukee and I owe it to each other to see this through. I think I'd rather shape up than ship out.
Same city - new Cassie.