Aug 17, 2011

The Windy City

The women of my generation seemed to have been on the cusp of when it was still acceptable not to go to college and instead look for a decent job. Having just been an average student, I did not see academia in my future. My dad was a cop and my mom worked in the local nursing home and I learned from them the importance of having a good and steady job and if it provided health insurance, that was a bonus. I moved to “the city” the week after I graduated from high school. “Don’t sign a lease until you have a job,” my parents warned. Well, how was I to get a job if I didn’t live in the city that was one hundred miles from home? I signed the lease the second day. And fortunately, found a job within the week.

The first few jobs I had weren’t necessarily “good jobs” and I soon found myself waiting tables or working in retail part-time to pay the rent. Sometimes I got behind and Mom and Dad helped when they could, but going home was not an option. Twenty-five years ago, I landed a “good job” and was able to quit all those part-time jobs. The company I work for also offers educational opportunities which I had hoped to take advantage of. But marriage and children were next, so I settled for industry related classes. Those classes and my high school education managed to help me advance to a middle management position that afforded me the opportunity to travel. Last count, I think I have been in forty-some states and seen a lot of places I wouldn’t have seen had it not been for this job. No one says “I want to work for an insurance company when I grow up” but this is where I landed and it’s been good to me.

911, the fall of the economy and the increase in available technology have all contributed to less travel over the years. I lost my status on the airlines and in major hotels. But you know what? I didn’t miss it at all. My boys were growing up and had a lot more activities and I was grateful to be home. And I finally had time to really concentrate on my horses. I was plenty busy.

As with life, things change. Once again, there seems to be more opportunity for work related travel. I have to admit it has been hard to get in the swing of it. And it may just be the season and not the status quo. Last week I was in Denver and this week I’ve been in Chicago. Whenever I get to the BIG city (or cities), I feel a little like Mary Richards. (“Who can turn the world on with her smile.” Some of you get the reference.) I love the food, the fancy cars, and to gaze up at the sky scrapers and feel the hustle and bustle. But unlike our Mary, I have no desire to stay here. I miss the country and the sound of locusts singing in the evening. (You may call them cicadas, but where I grew up, we called them locusts). It doesn’t take me long to miss my horses and my dogs and the sunrise and sunsets.

If I would have taken the college route all those years ago, I am not sure I would be where I am today.  I hope I would have been successful down whatever path it would have taken me.  I know today that I am very lucky to have a job that can and does show me the world. And that it affords me the simple and quiet lifestyle that I love. 


  1. I couldnt live in a town! Let alone a city! The size of that Chicago!!!Urgh!! Sorry, love the countryside, and the noise of it! Give me the smell of grass and horse dung anytime!

  2. And man are the locusts LOUD this week.

    On the flip side, I did get a college degree and it has been gathering dust since the day I graduated. Of course, it was my choice to stay home with my kids but since I didn't use it, it's essentially useless now.

    A good work ethic and being in the right place and the right time are EVERYTHING.

  3. I've always loved the line from the Simon and Garfunkel song " when I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it's a wonder I can think at all!" I didn't get a college degree either but we still did okay. I think what we had is lacking nowadays and that's work ethic and not having something handed to you for nothing.

    I'm not much for the cities, I've been to Chicago and Denver but wasn't all that impressed. We live close to N.Y. and have to go there a few times a year but it's just not my thing. The further away from the noise and crowds the better I like it.

  4. Now isn't that interesting! I wouldn't have expected that--you EVER being in a city! Do you travel to these cities by yourself? Boy, I must be becoming a wimp. Even though I come from the city, I don't think I could travel to places like that by myself. And what a full life you have! All the riding you do, your writing, your family, and now I see you also travel far away for your job. How in the world do you do it all?

  5. Have to say, I`m with GMH on this one!

  6. I could never live in a city. I have lived near Phila, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and now Lincoln, I dislike going into Omaha. I can never get used to the fast traffic, and people always in a hurry. I love country life, but I don't mind the luxuries of living near large towns, with a decent amount of stores, not just 1 Wal-mart. LOL


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