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5 Reasons Chicago Is the Best City for Millennials

5 Reasons Chicago Is the Best City for Millennials

Call it whatever you want: the Windy City, the City of Big Shoulders, the Second City, the City that Works, or the Hog Butchering Capital of the World—Chicago holds a unique place in American history. Built as a fur trading post in the 1800s, Chicago eventually made its name via the meat packing districts and the bootlegging of Al Capone.

In my personal opinion, Chicago is the mostly uniquely American city—one where the dreams of both the poor and the rich are equally within reach, where people will give you a laugh and a smile free of charge. Overall, Chicago is a great place for anyone to live, but we’ve compiled a list of reasons why its a great place for Millennials to live.

1. It’s affordable for everyone.

We Chicagoans tend to view New York as a slightly older brother, one that’s a little more successful but had to make a lot of trade-offs to get that success. That being said, comparing the cost of living of Chicago versus that of New York puts Chicago way ahead.

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According to CNN.com, if you make $50K in Chicago, in order to live in Manhattan you need to make $97k to keep the same lifestyle. Even if you do New York on a budget, you’d still need $74k to live in Brooklyn. So, unless you want to rent a closet in the Bronx, choose Chicago over New York—you will actually have a decent place to live with your prestigious salary.

2. Chicago has an amazing music scene.

When people think of Chicago music concerts, they often think immediately of Lollapalooza. Let me tell you, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We have that, North Coast Music Fest, PitchFork Music Fest, and, my personal favorite, RiotFest, a mud-flinging, moshpitting three-day punk rock festival held each September in one of Chicago’s multiple gigantic parks.

But the festivals aren’t the end of it. I live within walking distance of multiple concert venues, and, on any day of the week, I can stroll out and see music of one type or another. One recent Sunday night, I paid fifteen dollars to see The Mowgli’s at a venue walking distance from my place. You don’t get that elsewhere.

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3. Chicago serves as the go-to place for most of Midwest.

Both the East and West Coasts have this general status-orientation that kind of just doesn’t exist in Chicago. Besides the millions of hard-working natives who live here, smart, aspiring farm kids from every part of the Central US flock to Chicago to try to make it.

For that reason, we have a strong crop of people who know how to work hard, how to treat people right, and how to make people smile. You’ll never run out of new people to meet, because new ones are arrive from Michigan, from Wisconsin, from Ohio, from Kansas, from all over the backbone of the country, every darn day.

4. Chicago has tons of restaurants serving amazing food.

Listen, I’ve lived here for 25 of my 26 years, and I still have not seen most of the restaurants in Chicago, and not for lack of trying. Sitting in class yesterday, I received recommendations for a far North Side seafood bar called the Angry Crab and a reminder to buy what is called “the best burger in Chicago” at a place called Au Cheval.

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And that’s just the start of it. Pizza? We have that. Barbeque? Of course. Mexican? Definitely. Italian? No doubt. Whatever your palate craves, we have it, and I promise you won’t tire of finding new places to try.

5. Chicago is breathtaking in so many ways.

If you do decide to live in Chicago, I promise, you will be stunned by its beauty. For me, this happens often when I see the skyline from a different direction. We are the birthplace of the skyscraper, and we did not spare any effort n running with that idea.

If its not the skyline, it might be spending one night with friends at the beach, pass a bottle around until the sun rises over Lake Michigan. If its not that, it might be the Van Gogh’s at the Art Institute of Chicago. Or it might be how placid this city of 10 million people becomes after a major snow storm.

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While it’s hard to put into words, you’ll have to trust me. If you move to Chicago, one day, one moment, you’ll stop, you’ll exhale, and you’ll just go, “Wow. This is what I was meant to see, meant to experience. This is why I am in Chicago.”

Featured photo credit: Snake Charmer/ James Roach via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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