If you have ever lived in a major city with a solid public transit system, or have visited and had to navigate your own way around, you know that it can be a tricky situation. How often do they run, which stop do you get off at, do you need to change lines, etc.

However, the system in Chicago is actually pretty simple. There are a limited number of color-coded train lines you can take, all of which are clearly identified on easy-to-read maps. And if you can’t make sense of it yourself, the people here are nice enough to help you if you have a question.

Sounds simple, right?

Wrong. Well, sort of.

Today I was heading home from work and switching from the red line to the brown line. Once I get onto the brown line train, I only have one stop until I get off and walk a few blocks home.

Just. One. Stop.

My commute on the brown line is a whopping three minutes, if that.

Welp, count on me to mix things up.

I had my nose in a book (what else is new) and walked onto the purple line train instead of the brown line. Normally that wouldn’t be an issue. Get on the wrong line and you just get off at the next stop a minute or two later and head back.

However, the purple line train I got onto was a non-stop express straight into the suburbs. Once those doors closed, I was stuck for a solid 25 minutes with nowhere to go but in the wrong direction.

Want to hear an embarrassing confession?

I’ve done this before… the only difference was the book I was reading.

To be honest, I was instantly annoyed. I would have gotten home around 7 o’clock if I had gotten onto the right train, but now I knew I was adding almost an hour onto my commute. I was tired, hungry, and wanted to watch the Yankees vs. Red Sox game!

But since I knew I was stuck with no other place to go, I griped for a minute and then decided to cut my losses and make the most of it.

So I laughed at myself on Twitter and then used the extra time I had to knock out a few more pages in my book.

And instead of taking the (correct) train home, I called an Uber and had them drop me off at a sandwich shop around the corner from my apartment where I ordered a meatball sub and a delicious side of mac n’ cheese (comfort food, obviously.) While that is certainly not in line with the healthy eating habits I try to follow, tonight certainly felt like a justified “screw it” occasion.

And through it all, I couldn’t help but realize the importance of rerouting. Whether you’re (literally) heading the wrong way and need to redirect yourself entirely, or just need to make a slight adjustment, there is a constant demand to adapt time and time again. Yes, it can be frustrating. But I would argue that trying to resist the inevitable curveballs will only make it more difficult to get back on course later on.

And do you want to know what the greatest part of the entire situation was? I still made it home, am sitting on my bed blogging, and truly believe I am exactly where I belong.

It’s funny how taking a different path can still get us exactly where we’re meant to be, isn’t it?


Just another Tuesday

You know those friends who you can walk away from feeling more at ease, as if they instilled a whole new sense of serenity over you in just a brief amount of time? Today I grabbed coffee with that friend of mine. He has kind eyes and an even sweeter soul, and our conversation gave me the clarity and perspective that I needed.

Since I leave for Chicago in about two weeks, I was grateful to be able to sit down with him for a few hours to talk and catch up.

We talked a lot about what we have ahead of us in the next year, particularly my upcoming adventure to a whole new city. It will be my biggest move to date, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t stressed, confused and slightly overwhelmed. My friend could sense I was a bit anxious about how big of a change this is going to be, and he offered me some great advice.

He said, “The best thing you can do is go to Chicago and just be present each day. Wake up on a Tuesday and think, ‘it’s just a Tuesday in Chicago.’ Meet new people, get lost, explore what the city has to offer… but make sure to just be present for one moment and one day at a time. Anything else will be overwhelming.”

Just a Tuesday in Chicago. That really stuck with me.

The past couple of weeks have been filled with flights in and out of Buffalo, apartment hunting, paperwork, endless phone calls, cleaning, and the obvious packing. Not to mention making time to see my family and friends.

With such a life-changing transition ahead of me, his simple, “It’s just a Tuesday in Chicago” mentality funneled my worries down and gave me an incredible peace of mind.

Sometimes when life has your head spinning and you can’t seem to get a grip on what to do, remember that slowing down can be the best way to speed up.

Even with a major challenge, adventure, or change ahead of you, thinking “it’s just another Tuesday” can give you the perfect dose of realistic perspective to ease your worries, and in turn, make the journey that much more rewarding.

Chicago skyline. [photo via]