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Careful What You Wish For: Nine Years of Chicago Carless


This summer, Chicago Carless turned nine years old. I still remember interviewing local blogger Jasmine Davila in 2009 when her online empire was nine years old, thinking how long a time that was. Her blog’s in the double digits now, but the time has still flown by for me.

Last year, my 8th anniversary post wasn’t very pensive. Ryan and I were in the life-direction doldrums, rabbinical school had not started yet (much less ended early), and we had not yet decided to move to Los Angeles. There wasn’t much to say.

What a difference 12 months makes. After giving up on Chicago and all its self-imposed limitations and making deliberate, timeline-strategized plans to relocate to Southern California, this year I got the urban planning/regional development dream job (see here and here) that I thought I’d find when I first moved here in 2003. Shortly afterwards, Ryan got the dream lab operations manager job he’d wanted for years, too.

Except we don’t necessarily still want to actually be here. Ah, life, you can be so lifey, sometimes. So our lives now are figuring out how to kill at our new jobs (which we are both already massively doing, I’m grateful to day), love our waning time in Chicago for what it’s worth, and re-strategize how to leverage where we are now to further our L.A. aims on a perhaps somewhat different timeline.

While we’re still here, our old synagogue won’t be in the picture anymore. Neither will Camoes. Both changes that made life less  positive this year. Though we only wish to have one of those two things back in our lives. (The feline long-term loved one, not the believed-its-own-press synagogue one.)

But that’s as it is. And if nothing else, we now have a south-facing unit in our Edgewater high-rise home, so at least we look towards the city again and not the suburbs, though there’s no metaphor to be found in that anymore. We moved all of five feet across the hallway to a mirror-image unit with much better light, hardwood floors, and a vibe that makes us feel like we’re on vacation.

And as long as one of us doesn’t get up groggy in the middle of the night, become confused by the layout, and pee in the kitchen, I think we’ll be alright.


Browse my previous anniversary posts:

(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….”

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

figure eight jewish cakeCatching Up on Jasmine Davila: Eight Years of Chicago Carless
“One of the few folks I know who has been able to carry it off–and much more consistently than I have–is Chicago blogger diva Jasmine Davila, who has lived decidedly out front online for over a decade at this point. I have always been in awe of her blogging longevity and consistency. (Regular readers may recall my wo-mance with Jasmine from our Vagina Dialogue and my profiles of her and her blog here and here.) So all I have to say is, Jasmine, I’m catching up on you. Neener, neener.”

Categories: Backstory

Mike Doyle

I’m an #OpenlyAutistic gay, Hispanic, urbanist, Disney World fan, New York native, politically independent, Jewish blogger in Chicago. I believe in social justice, big cities, and public transit. I write words and raise money for nonprofits. I’ve written this blog since 2005. And counting...

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