I’ve been asked a lot recently if I see myself ending up in Kansas permanently. I take zero hesitation in shaking my head firmly, “NO!” and smiling. Smiling, not because I want to leave, but because I have learned to appreciate where I am. There’s a short answer and a long answer, of which none of my friends will be surprised to hear. I’m going to say that I am going to share the short answer but I know myself, it’s totally going to be the long answer. Kansas life, is right for me right now.
Kansas is the perfect place for me right now. Like I talk about here, Kansans really are the nicest people. I firmly believe after traveling around, I could not have the life I have here anywhere else at this point. Currently I am less than 10 minutes from home to work. In Kansas, I can afford my own place, a car loan and student loan and have a little extra for fun things. You can “meet” people on Instagram and a week later be friends with them. I can be who I am and take chances. Even better, I have an amazing support system that is either here or within 2.5 hours of me.
Wichita, and Kansas, specifically, has a way of sucking you in by its charm before you realize it. I travel a lot and I’ve learned two things. That of course are completely opposite of each other. I’ve learned I love Kansas more than I ever knew. I’ve also realized that the desire to move to a bigger city is very real. I was visiting Chicago a few months ago and go to stay near Jess. We had dinner and drinks and I walked around exploring. I loved the pace of life. Even walking around made me happy. I loved hearing the horns and young entrepreneurs trying to make their next big deal. I loved it all. When I was at my hotel, I looked up and loved that the sky looked bright because there were so many lights.
Then I came home. I remember Ken driving me back to the house and wondering why the sky was so DARK. Duh! Alissa, there’s no skyscrapers here, the sky isn’t brightened by lights. I love that. I love two completely different ways of life. I’m totally okay with that. The two sides of me can completely co-exist.
Here’s what my five year plan is, work my butt off at work. I mean work it off. I was told that you just know when something is right, so if the time is sooner, I’m listening. Establish myself and save. Invest in the 401K as much as I can. When the timing works for my career, move to a city like Kansas City or Chicago and work out of an office or remotely. (Dear boss, if you’re reading this, hi! Yes, I still want to be working for you!) I want at least 2-3 years of living away from Kansas.
The reason why is where we transition into the longer story.
My brother Joel has Down Syndrome, something you all have asked me to talk more about. How this has shaped my life is indescribable, in the best way possible. I’ve tried to write an entire post about him but it ends in me sobbing because he means so much. We are 19 months apart out of a sibling age span that goes over 21 years for five kids. My oldest sister is 20 years older than I and then I have two other sisters, with a gap between. I call Joel and I the second generation of kids. Basically the greatest generation (hi sisters!).
Ever since I was a child I imagined it being myself and Joel taking on the world. My sisters are established in Kansas and Colorado with houses and families. I don’t have kids and at this point, don’t want kids. What I do want though is to be able to give Joel the absolute best life he can. Joel thrives on structure and what is familiar. Although sometimes a group home works out, I don’t want him in that situation.
I’ve always seen myself ending up back in Kansas and helping take care of Joel. I think that right now is my time to enjoy establishing myself and be able to have a good life. Being able to travel for work makes me feel like I have a happy medium of what both sides of me wants. Kansas life, right now, is the best life for me.
I’m interested to see how now that I have put this out in the world it’s going to change. Life always has its way of throwing curveballs. But for now, the plan is this. Enjoy Kansas life, work hard and love those around me.