I’m Busy Looking Up

Fifteen years would pass before I would realize my dream of working in the Loop, the area bounded by the el tracks in downtown Chicago. Much of my time before that was spent working in the suburbs, driving there to and fro every day a small nightmare. I worked in the Loop for eight years, three of which I spent walking to and from work, having bought a condo in the West Loop, that area in Chicago teeming with one restaurant after another on and around Randolph Street.

From the moment I started working downtown through when I lived there to when I ultimately left, moving to the Bay Area, I never lost my wonder for living in Chicago. Walking its streets in the Loop, I was always looking up.

It’s easy to look up when you’re in Chicago. Architecturally, it’s one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. Its skyline ranks up there with the best of them; and in many ways I enjoy it more than even New York’s famed cityscape.

Henry David Thoreau once wrote:

“It is not enough to be busy. The question is: what are we busy about?”

As I remember walking through the bustle of rush hour, the people were busily in their own worlds, whether it be a focus upon the destination they were destined to be that morning, their small silver screens in their hands, fighting through traffic, or just gritting their teeth against the cold a third of the year or sweating through the humidity another third. They were all alone in a throng of peoples. It made it easy for me to look at them and wonder what their lives were all about, wonder why they were so busy not appreciating their moment, wonder why they didn’t take in a moment to appreciate what was around them.

It was those moments I would look up.

I wondered what it took for the great builders of the city to build all that was around us. I wondered what kind of life used to live on these streets, inside these buildings, all along the water. I wondered about the past and about the present; and I contemplated the future.

It was easy to think these things when I looked up. I was never too busy to look up and absorb that amazing city. And I realized that slowing life down to its moments was one of the keys to being happy in life.

These days, I no longer look up as much as I now look across. From my vantage point sitting or standing on my balcony, it’s all I can do. It’s all I want to do.

I think of many of the things that I used to think of back then; my environment is just a bit different these days.

I’ve been busy, having slowed my life down considerably; and could not be happier for it.

Question: what are you busy about?

Go Adventure. Go Travel. Go Live.

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