This year, I am slated to renew my massage therapy license. Both of them. I am licensed in Illinois, where I lived for twenty years, and in Kentucky, my home state which I returned to last year. When I moved back to Kentucky last year, I had a plan in mind. I would go back to Chicago every month or so (excluding the worst winter months) and I would see whatever clients I could there, visit friends, and generally enjoy my life as a multi-city massage professional.
It seemed like a good idea at the time, and for a time, it was a good life. I absolutely love those liminal spaces that only exist in traveling, such as the time spent in a car going from one city to the next. I appreciated feeling like I was still part of my friends’ lives, especially as I still had more friends to find in Kentucky, where my solitude was often extended enough to become loneliness. And while my work in Kentucky was minimal and spread out, when I went back to Chicago, I could pack my schedule with a week’s worth of clients in a day or two. I could remember what it was like to be busy and comfortably tired at the end of a day.
Then winter came, and I put my trips to Chicago on hold for a while. The winter up there was one of the reasons why I left. Not the top reason, but definitely in the top ten. During those months, I made some new contacts in Kentucky, started a more focused avenue for marketing, and generally settled more into my life here.
And now as the redbud trees are blooming and even Chicago is starting to see little green shoots of things come up, I have a decision to make. Do I renew my Illinois license? Is this two-city massage life really going to work for me? I am looking in my calendar for a few days where I could go up to Chicago and see clients, now that it is (nearly) reliably snowstorm-free there. I am not finding the days. Truth be told, I’m not looking all that hard.
This morning, I took a walk in one of my favorite parks. Today has the kind of sunshine that makes the trees outlined against the sky look fake. It is a light so clear that my eyes can barely process it. I have this free time in the middle of the day because things are still building in my Kentucky practice, and I don’t start teaching for another couple of weeks yet. Tomorrow, I have a full book of clients. And the day after that? More space to spend time preparing for the classes I’ll be teaching, and to continue working on writing projects I recently re-discovered.
All this is to say, I will let my Illinois license lapse. I was holding on to the familiar and safe by keeping it. Through the winter months, I have given myself the chance to absolutely trust fall into Kentucky. It feels like home here, with people I love and a practice that is slowly picking up steam. Even as the Ohio River Valley allergy season begins, I breathe better here, so I’m staying.
Of course I will be visiting Chicago when I can, but I plan to focus on what’s really important when I go there — my friends. And dancing. Lots and lots of dancing.