The death of an era, the sorrowful end of a chapter, and the beginning of a new story. My love story is coming to an end, and though I am finding that very hard to deal with there is really nothing I can do but look to the future. It's been a little over a year ago since I sold all my stuff, gave everything else away, and drove North. This is a very strange situation to deal with as Jaclyn and I are truly best friends yet we were never able to quite make a plan and follow through on what our long term goals were. My dream was to move out of Illinois as fast as possible, start a career, and maybe start thinking about a family at some point. She is in love with the city, has family here, and a stable career. So though I don't blame her for not running away with me; I can not resign to live in urban Illinois. I have to start my own career and keep the ball rolling towards the goals I have set. Jaclyn and will remain my best friend. A pain in my ass, but the single best person I have ever met too. Alas my heart is in the South, on the mountains, and in the sun.
I started applying for jobs back in AR because I was really having NO luck in the Chicago area and have been trying for about a year. Within two months of applying in Arkansas I landed countless interviews and was really surprised how much better my job hunt was going. All in all I ended up with an employment offer from the State of Arkansas working in Carroll County as a program eligibility specialist for the Department of Human Services. It is my first real career position with benefits, paid vacation, etc since I finished college. So I will be relocating to the Eureka Springs AR area sometime in the next month and starting my new job with them. I have already seen my office and can't wait to decorate it with some Chicago Bulls memorabilia. It is about one hour and 40 minutes from my hometown of Mountain Home AR and a quick jumping point to Fayetteville AR and Branson MO not counting tons of of outdoor recreational gems. I don't expect this to be easy but with time and focusing on some of my hobbies, physical training, and visiting with friends I know it will be alright. This is not the way I wanted, or pictured things going, but sometimes you just have to roll with the punches and deal with reality before it deals with you. I am honored and greatly appreciate the job offer given to me by the State of Arkansas. I want to always remember how hard it was to get a job and how long I searched, and all the hours I drove, and continue to treasure the fact that I will have a job and benefits and keep the humbleness and work as hard as I can for my state and the public I was hired to help. It is easy to complain about a job until you don't have one and your car breaks down. I am glad I was able to come to Chicago, meet some amazing people, and have the experience I have had. My experience in the urban jungle has taught me a lot of things. I conquered public transportation, I fed the homeless, I become the #1 Bulls fan, and I adopted a family as my own. I walked through River North, through questionable parks at night, and I rode my bike all over the city multiple times. I saw the coolest sights, museums, and restaurants, and the tragic heart break of Michigan ST bridge residents. The brokenness of Chicago's forgotten people, and the beauty of architectural history. The ignorance of those that know no better, and the arrogance of those that refuse to care.
Thank you friends and family for being a part of this journey and most of all thanks to my best friend in the world Jaclyn Kray.
The mountains are calling and I must go. -John Muir