This is not a good place to be, yet I happened to find myself right in the middle of it during the summer of 2015. I was living in a great location in downtown Chicago and commuting to a Northern suburb everyday for work. Via train, it consisted of two L-train transfers and a Metra; about 1.5 hours each way. Driving was only 30 minutes in the morning, but 1.5 hours on the way home, and I can’t stand sitting in traffic, so I usually took the train.
Why would you live in the city if you are working in a suburb?
I had never lived in the city before. My last 3 years were spent living in rural Maine where I was stationed for work. So I felt the timing was right to try it out and get closer to all the action. What a great location this apartment turned out to be in! I was right in the middle of everything, could walk to great restaurants, clothing stores, you name it. The view from my balcony provided a glimpse of lake Michigan in between buildings and looked down on the pool.
Everything was great, until I realized a major problem. I had gotten myself stuck on a path that led nowhere.
What is The Death Loop?
After doing this for over a year, I noticed the days started to blend together. The next had been very similar to the previous. Wake up at 6, get dressed, walk to L-train number 1, connect to L-train number 2, walk to Metra train, walk to office. Spend 9 hours at work and then begin the reverse route back home. Get through the door at about 7 pm. Gym, eat, shower and get ready for bed. Repeat again the next day, and the next. It’s like I was stuck on a figurative treadmill. At the end of each month I had barely spent any time at my apartment. I was spending most my time commuting and at work. Work was necessary to pay rent for an apartment that I barely used because I was at work. The worst part is that I’ve been in this loop in the past but for some reason chose to do it again!
If you find yourself in a situation like this, get out as fast as you can. Now it doesn’t mean you have to go to the extreme of “urban vanning” like I did, but it does mean you need to give your situation some serious thought. Maybe you took on a bigger mortgage payment than you should have, or chose an apartment that was a bit beyond what your budget allowed. Either way, this is not a good place to be. Really, if you can’t progress and build financially, then what’s the point? Other than some fun times and good memories, I have nothing to show for those years. A person can’t retire on past fun experiences, so take a good look at where your money is going and make a change to keep it rather than give it away.