I was 21 when I moved to this city, where I would spend most of my third decade of life. I had a lot of expectations about what that life would look like, living in the city.
Let’s just say my thoughts included and were not limited to regular attendance of the symphony and shopping at North Park. Yeah, I had dreams. Dreams of an upper-level tax bracket variety.
At first, I lived it. I went to the symphony, I shopped at North Park, I ate the best food.
It. Was. Exhilarating. Magical. Dallas takes shine very seriously.
What I didn’t anticipate in the least was how much work and energy it was going to take to just exist in this place, to keep the pace. To survive the crowds and the traffic. To hold down a job.
Dallas expects a lot of you.
I didn’t understand how inadequate I would feel. How constantly tired I would be. How overextended my finances and schedule would become just barely keeping pace with my peers.
While it gave me some unforgettable experiences, Dallas also had a way of reminding me daily of everything I didn’t have and would never have because I was never, ever going to measure up.
I like to blame Dallas. I like to hate on the city for the pain of growth that season brought.
But what I know deep inside is that a city can’t do all that to a person.
It was me.
Changing and struggling within that season of my life. Within that place, with its unique temptations and challenges.
Going through the process of adjusting my expectations, making choices and responding to curve balls that God threw my way again and again.
Driving down 75 will always be bittersweet for me because I know how much the beautiful city that never quite felt like home changed me.
And if it wasn’t for change, struggle, growth - where would any of us be? ✴️
(Originally published December 27, 2018).