I'll try and make this quick, but I'm not usually good at that... For those of you who don't know me, my name is Rachel. I'm from the NY/CT area (those of you from there get it), and I moved to Chicago after college in the Summer of 2017. I accepted a job working in an industry I knew nothing about in a city I thought I was meant to live in. I don't have any regrets in taking that job, or moving to that city, but both turned out not to be meant for me.
Our priorities change as we grow up because our lives change - for better or for worse. And with those changes, we can start to feel like something that used to be insignificant is now our top concern. Our careers, our families, our significant others, even our own happiness... the order of importance can change depending on what is going on in our lives.
For me, my priority when I graduated was my friends. I didn't necessarily care what my job was, or what my apartment looked like, but I knew I wanted to be in Chicago because that is where my friends would be. I wanted it to feel like college wasn't completely over, and I was successful. I was seeing the same people I saw everyday for four years every weekend, doing the same dumb, college-kid stuff we did. The only difference was that now, it was in a new place, and on less weekdays. None of us loved (or even liked) our jobs, it was just a means to an end so we could pay our rent and buy drinks at the bar.
One new thing I did do was start releasing my music (with some help). I've been writing and recording songs since I was in middle school. Creating music had always been my greatest passion and favorite hobby, and like every little kid, I dreamed about being a Pop Star when I grew up. But, as my Dad always said, I had to be realistic and practical so that I had a plan B to fall back on if things didn't work out. After all, the entertainment industry is so competitive, and while social media makes it easier to be heard, it also makes it harder to stand out. For the first time in my life, though, I felt like I had some momentum. I was getting great feedback on my music and thoroughly exceeding my expectations for performance on streaming platforms, Spotify and Apple Music. Without noticing, my priorities shifted coming off the high of releasing my first two singles. Music quickly became my new #1.
It's not that there isn't a music scene in Chicago, or that plenty of successful talent hasn't come out of this city, but I had a gut feeling it wasn't for me. What I was looking to do and to make wasn't here. It was then that I started resenting my job, because all I wanted to do was spend 100% of my time making music, recording, networking, performing... and resenting Chicago, because I felt like I was trapped, and like I wasn't growing at all. I felt unfulfilled, and I realized that there was something so important that I was missing - something that I neglected to make a priority - my happiness.
Ok I promise, I'm almost done. so, I quit my job. It was completely spontaneous, and while I knew I didn't see myself working there long-term, I definitely didn't see it coming. Another priority shift, yes. Tied for first place alongside music, as of last week, became family. Not that my family hasn't been a priority, but I realized all of the things I was missing. Good and bad, big and small, and that is officially when I realized that nothing was holding me here - to Chicago, to my job - i needed to be home. I needed to focus on what made me happy.
I have had the pleasure of meeting some amazing people - people I will be friends with for the rest of my life, people who have taught me things about myself I never knew, and people who supported me, and inspired me to follow my dreams. I am so excited to officially begin my next chapter - focusing on following my heart, chasing my dreams, and being with family.
I know I'm not an expert, but I encourage everyone with a dream to take the leap. The worst thing that can happen is that it doesn't work out. worse than that would be to look back and ask yourself what could have been if you had at least tried. Taking risks is the one of the most important things we can do in life. Without taking them, we cannot grow, and we may miss out on amazing experiences.