You don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don’t have to explain what you plan to do with your life. You don’t have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don’t have to maintain an impeccable credit score. Anyone who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of history or economics or science or the arts.
You have to pay your own electric bills. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. But that’s all."
There is a line in The Great Gatsby:
“I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all – Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.”
And I have to wonder if Chicago was my East, and that, in a fundamental way, I was never going to belong there. I feel a wondrous defeat when I think back on my time there. The lights didn’t dim on me, I went down in a spectacular display of hubris and naivety bright as a barnyard fire. It would be too self-serving to assert that the failure of it all shaped me in some profound way, as if mistakes are not fees we must pay but privileges endowed to us. I won’t allow myself to go there, but sometimes, when I am alone, I miss that selfish act of witnessing a destruction, to look on holding the match, my heart making a dubstep racket through my shirt.