I was going to leave this as solely a photographic piece, but I can't help but write about this experience.
Today, I wandered my own city, as if I had never seen it before. But, the truth of it all, as the day continued, I realized that I had never really looked around. I've always known how many wonderful sights and sounds (and I won't even get started on the tastes) surround us here in Chicago, but today really opened my eyes. I felt like I was seeing this city from a new perspective.
By looking through a lens, I dove deeper into what makes this beautiful urban kingdom so great. I saw something much deeper than the architecture and geography. I saw human life. I saw experiences and memories everywhere. I saw myself in a new light.
Though I had neglected to wear the proper footwear, I'm satisfied I had worn a jacket, scarf, and hat because, despite such a gorgeous day, it does tend to fall a bit cooler near the lake. Ensuring that all belongings were easily in tow and my batteries were fully charged (both phone and camera), I stepped out towards an adventure I wasn't entirely sure of.
I began at Lincoln Park Zoo, a place I have always wanted to photograph, but have never made the true effort to do so. Well, today, I did. Walking between strollers, parents chasing their runaway toddlers, and the slow-moving couplings of lovebirds, I realized how wonderful this life can really be. People from all walks of life wandered the streets of Chicago, just as I did. Some on bikes, some with laced-up running shoes, some with Kelly green hair. But, there was something there that was connecting us all. Each moment we passed, we were in the same place, at the same time. It's actually really incredible, if you think about it.
Despite everything I've been dealing with, both personally and professionally, I am greatly satisfied with today. I felt, for once in months, calm. I felt as if everything will be okay. I felt as if I knew my purpose. At least for that moment.
I continued my trek, as far as my little legs would carry me, following the lakeshore as I went. Just east of the zoo, I had wandered to the beach, where I surprisingly found close to 20 sailboats aligning the horizon. Beautiful white sails met the crest of the lake and rested under a cloudless blue sky. It was so serene and eerily quiet. Despite living in a big city, there are places where it cannot be heard, but only seen and this was one of them. I continued on. A quick stop at the Navy Pier for some sustenance had kept me going. Eventually, I reached my final destination of Millennium Park. As my frustration grew with the swarms of tourists surrounding the Bean, my patience quickly wore thin and I left. Also, my legs were quite tired. I'm small and it really shows clearly whenever I'm walking in great amounts.
Although the sun has now set on this day, I still can't get over the effervescence of the water or the cerulean hues of the sky. I'm so captivated by going out and fulfilling my soul. It sounds cheesy, I know, but today was something I hadn't realized I needed. I met what is within me and bonded with a deeper sense of self.
I encourage every being on this earth to do the same. Our time here is significantly finite and too many opportunities are passed because of seemingly crucial priorities or mere negligence to care for yourself. You deserve to live the life you want. You deserve to hold your head high in pride, despite mistakes you have made in the past. You deserve for every wish you've ever made to come true, tenfold. You deserve to be happy.
You are only human.
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Ferris Bueller