For nearly a quarter century, the Chicago area has been my home. When I think “city,” in my mind I see a skyline like the one in the picture above. Navy Pier, Sears Tower (I’ll never be able to call it “Willis Tower”), Michigan Avenue, Art Institute, Field Museum, Millennium Park, Prudential Building, Northwestern University, University of Illinois at Chicago. And that just scratches the surface of the places I’ve worked and played over the years.
But as they say, the only constant in life is change. So I’m going to have to get used to calling another city home: New York City. Thus, this will be my skyline for at least the next four years:
Clearly, there are key differences. New York City proper has more people than reside in the Chicago city limits (about 8.5 million compared to 2.7 million). There are different bodies of water, different landmarks, a different train system, different types of pizza. These differences will require adjustment on my part, of course, and there will be some uneasiness at first. I’m sure there will be days when I long for Chicago — Lake Michigan, the John Hancock Building, the El, and deep dish from Lou Malnati’s (with butter crust, of course). But I fully believe that before long, I will look lovingly at the East River and the Empire State Building. I’ll board the subway without trepidation. I may even be able to stomach New York-style pizza.
Change is scary, and it’s hard. I’m not going to pretend otherwise. But change is also good. It brings about new growth, opportunities, relationships, and interests.
The way I see it, I’m not leaving Chicago behind. I’m merely adding New York City to my repertoire.