I packed it all up in, literally, one day. Even my brand new Wii that only saw the light for a couple of days was right back in its black box, ready to be stuffed (or carefully placed, to avoid damage) in the back of my Jeep. My art supplies, once scattered about my apartment, stored in various room crevices, behind bookshelves, behind storage boxes, were now neatly sorted by size and packaged in clear plastic bags. My clothes - I wasn't so neat in preparing them for the move - were stuffed in cardboard boxes, winter sweaters often used as cushioning between fragile wine glasses and picture frames.
I was ready to move back to Philadelphia, after a three year absence and much longing for the city I realized I loved so much only after I moved away from it. I was ready to leave Cincinnati behind and see what the City of Brotherly Love still had to offer me. I was prepared to turn a new page in my book and begin a new chapter.
The internship opportunity came rather quickly, unlike many of the firms that offered me interviews for their positions and then would drag the selection process out for weeks and weeks (often just to tell me that they changed their mind and would not be hiring anyone in this volatile economy). Within days, the interviewer whom I had the pleasure with speaking for the internship position called me back and offered me this three-month contract position.
Was I overqualified for it? Absolutely. Were there hundreds of other unemployed designers applying for the same job? Without a doubt. Was I tired of the job search and disheartened by the fact that 85% of my talented former classmates, now with their Master degrees, were still unemployed and searching, searching, searching? Of course, I was. As I was relieved to fall into this internship opportunity. A risk worth taking - this may or may not open up various doors for me within the company - I agreed to accept the position. I agreed to move back to Philadelphia, at least for the next three months.
The present state of the financial matters of the country left me rather bitter and cynical. I saw couples put their relationships on hold because one person got a job in the big city and the other person had to move back with the parents across the country just to save up some money. I saw people consider and take jobs that they ordinarily would never take, in order to get by and get through the tough economic times. I saw people question their profession, which they were previously passionate about, because they wondered if they could survive on their passion alone. I saw people quit - rarely - but when they did, it was always a tragic affair. I, myself, came so close to quitting and breaking down a couple of times, always seeming to gather my pieces and picking them back up again just to march on and do another tired online application process for another job.
I felt it was the right time for me to indulge my wallet with guaranteed-for-three-months paychecks. I felt it was the right time to trade in Cincinnati for something, anything else.
To be frank, I was ready to leave the city that felt so little to me. A city that could not stand my occasional need for absolute anonimity - the kind of anonimity that makes some so lonely in the crowded places like New York - where I could escape from the knowing gazes and be just another faceless blur in the crowds of strangers. I knew that Cincinnati could not provide this kind of unique comfort to me, as no matter where I went, I always expected, and often did hear "Hey, so good to run into you here..."
For what it's worth, the hardest decision in the job seeking process was not even choosing Philadelphia over Cincinnati. It was a conscious effort to listen to my head, instead of my heart. I have yet to see if my gamble will pay off or not in the end.