Why Didn't I Just Leave Illinois?

At the age of 19 I had a job offer to work with my prior boss who left the company I was employed at to work for the World Bank. I would be his Executive Secretary, traveling all over the world. However, I would have to relocate to New York. I had just gotten married and I laid awake at night contemplating such an exciting move.

I talked to my husband who was still trying to find his ideal work situation and who wasn’t comfortable starting anew in New York. And my pre-set accommodations did not include a husband. I would have had to share an apartment with several other girls.

Had I known then that I would be divorced I would have jumped on it. Even though I had a fear of flying this was an offer I almost couldn’t refuse. But I did. I chickened out.

Not to mention that New York held no magic for me. I had never been there and had no interest to live there.

This is one of only a couple “What If’s” in my life. I have no idea how different my life would now be had I taken this job opportunity. But I didn’t, so I don’t dwell on it.

Little did I know that I would visit New York (Manhattan) in 2007 and fall in love with it. I actually thought that if I had to live in a place with four distinct seasons and cold and snow, I think I’d pick New York over Chicago.

macys in new york

candy store in manhatten

However, we stayed in Manhattan and didn’t get to see any other boroughs or surrounding suburbs. But I loved the history and vibe of Manhattan. Of course, to be able to afford to live in Manhattan I’d have to win the lottery.

woman playing harp in new york

rosie ogradys saloon manhatten new york

So like Chicago, I’d be living in an affordable suburb or one of the other boroughs. Then it might be just like here, I’d only go downtown Chicago a few times a year. It’s a lot different living in an area vs. visiting on a vacation.

I didn’t fly until I was around 45. Prior to that, the only places I visited were by car. We used to go to Florida for our vacation every year when I was a child and teenager. In fact, most of the pictures I have of my Mom and I are in bathing suits in Sarasota, Florida.

my mom and i on beach in sarasota florida
Mom and I on the white sand beaches of Sarasota, Florida

At that point in my life, I loved Florida and still have many happy memories. I’ve gone there with friends a couple of times. I thought if I ever left Illinois it would be for Florida. That was until I was introduced to Arizona.

dining with friends in west palm beach florida
Dining with friends at West Palm Beach, Florida

It is 14 degrees here in IL with a windchill factor of -7 and is snowing again.
In Scottsdale, AZ, it is 64 degrees but feels like 73.
You know where I’d rather be!

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