98 and 3/4 Percent Guaranteed: Seven Years of Chicago Carless

Today my blog turns seven years old. It’s not the first blog I’ve ever written–that was the About.com Brooklyn page back in the 1990s. But after seven years and 714 posts, it’s the one with the most staying power. This is the first year I’ve hit my blog anniversary right on the head–June 27–so that’s something of an ADHDer personal best for me.

Chicago Carless began in 2005 because I missed writing the Brooklyn page and, after two years living in Chicago, I felt like I had something to say about the experience. Over the past seven years I’ve said a lot about Chicago life, too–first through the eyes of a New York-native newcomer, eventually through the eyes of an avowed long-term Chicagoan, and, most recently, through the eyes of a Jew-By-Choice.

A lot has changed since post number one. I’m older (dammit), wiser (thankfully), less strident, though that’s not always as apparent as it could be, and more in touch with the world around me and whatever power is higher than that world. For all the trials of the past seven years, I’m happier now than I’ve ever been. For all the joy of the past seven years, I’m grateful.

I’m grateful for your readership, too. Thanks for coming along on the journey, whether you’ve been here for all 714 posts or this is your first time stopping by. My point has always been to explore meaningful moments in my life, and hope that what I write here others might find meaningful, too. If you’d like, you can explore the links at the bottom of this post to take a wayback walk through my past six anniversary posts to see the places I and my blog have gone since June 2005. And feel free to connect with me to let me know how I’m doing–or just to say hi. (How? Email | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Goodreads)

Lately, I’ve done a lot of thinking about where I want to be at the end of the next seven years. I’m sure the person I am today will seem as on-the-journey-but-not-yet-there to Michael Doyle v. 2019 as Michael Doyle v. 2005 seems to me now. Hopefully that seven-years-from-now sentiment will be meant in a good way. And if I have my druthers–and that’s a big if–maybe, just maybe, that sentiment will be felt by a newly minted Rabbi Doyle.

After all, seven years ago, I never thought I’d be where I am today. A little daydreamed Seussical advice to myself, today, from whoever I may be another 714 posts hence…

“So be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!”

__________

(More than) My First Year “Carless”
“Today marks the start of my second year blogging about life as a determined non-driver living in downtown Chicago. Beginning my blog and moving to Marina City both coincided in June 2005. Back then, I thought I could get Marina City out of the way in my first post and go on to writing about downtown life in general. Little did I know that the unique trials and tribulations of Marina City residency would motivate me to write so often about the historic corncob towers…”

No Exit: Two Years of CHICAGO CARLESS
“Part of the fun were the numerous local gaffes and gotchas that I managed to find myself in the middle of last year, including my August 2006 interview in Chicago Magazine’s expose of Marina City’s alleged pimp dentist, Garry Kimmel, and my scooping of Chicagoland media on erroneous signage inside the new Macy’s-cum-Marshall Field’s (earning me page one in the Chicago Tribune business section and being called a “newsmaker of the week” in the Trib’s Sunday edition)….”

Third Time’s the Charm
“God knows I’ve chronicled a lot of changes over the past year and a bit on the blog. Last spring, as I continued my second career as a communications consultant, many old, dear friends came back into my life from what has now become the Gay and Lesbian Youth of New York Almuni Group (GLYNY AGAIN). That made me want to move back to New York City, and even after my tumultuous breakup with the now NYC-based urban photoblogger, Devyn, I nearly did….”

Happy Birthday to Me: Four Years of CHICAGO CARLESS
“Safely remaining a Chicagoan, I performed my first celebrity interview, fell head-over-heels for Cincinnati, braved a tornado warning for the hot wings of doom, told the newspaper industry why it was dying, waded back into the downtown noise controversy, scored a coveted golden ticket for the Obama election night rally, and made it into the Sun-Times after the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless began to monitor the Chicago Transit Authority based on my blog coverage of the CTA’s mean-spirited winter homeless harassment policy…”

Happy Anniversary: Five Years of Chicago Carless
“Since 2005, the blog and I have covered a lot of ground together. The act of reflecting on my life in this city and writing about it on a regular basis helped me figure out why I moved to Chicago, how much I love the place, and what I think could stand improvement here. It has also helped me understand my strengths (like discovering how well I write) and weaknesses (not playing the Chicago game.) Most of all, it’s taught my friends their favorite phrase of the past five years: “This is off the record, right?…”

Life, the Universe, and Everything Jewish: Six Years of Chicago Carless
“You might think my big news today is that my blog, Chicago Carless, is six years old. It is, but the buried lede is that tomorrow (or today, by the time you read this) is my forty-first birthday. I did an uncharacteristic thing during my fortieth year: I completed a task I set out to complete before my next birthday. That task was joining the Jewish people–and, boy, were people who know me well blown away that I went through with it. Now that I’ve been officially Jewish for three months, the previous 41 years seem a bit different than they used to. Now I know they were all leading up to the discovery of my Jewish soul….”

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