I’m Big! I’m Brave…But Where Do I Grocery Shop?

Grocery Store

I’m Big! I’m Brave…But Where Do I Grocery Shop?

Grocery Store

By Lauren Chesley

What was I thinking?

This thought has crossed my mind several times in the one week since I uprooted my safe and familiar life in Cincinnati to set up my new home in Chicago.

What was I thinking?

I arrived one week ago today. I have been to the Container Store four times. I should have followed my own advice and measured more carefully. Yes—I purged, packed and planned…but a family home shared by five people does not shrink easily into a one bedroom apartment. Too much stuff… what do we really need? What matters photo 1 (4)most? In the second round of purging I have held on to the “things” that make me smile…that remind me this is “home.” Above my desk hangs an enormous painting (takes up the entire wall) that my kids painted for my 35th Birthday. Okay, I can do this. It is starting to feel like home.

What was I thinking?

And where is “my” grocery store? On day four I realized my refrigerator in my new nest remained empty. I have Yelped, Googled and MapQuested the closest grocery store. It almost seems crazy…I have moved cities, unpacked, dropped my last child at college— and somehow the grocery store is causing me the most anxiety. If I walk there (remember I have no car) will I be able to carry the groceries home? How much do I need? What is my favorite stuff? Maybe I should have bought the fancy plaid or polka dot grocery “pulley cart thing” at the Container Store? Somehow the most mundane and seemingly simple task has taken over my otherwise calm mind.

Once upon a time…In a family of four children, the refrigerator was always a focal point, stuffed with everyone’s favorite “stuff.” The grocery store was an almost everyday pit stop.  Thirty years in Cincinnati, and I knew everyone by name who worked at my neighborhood grocery. I knew that Lily’s favorite yogurt was not in the dairy section… but rather the health food section. The simplest things are suddenly not so simple.

On this journey, I have talked a lot about putting one foot in front of the other and marching on (figuratively speaking) but on day 4 I am literally marching on to find my new friends at the neighborhood grocery.

Lessons learned: you can buy one chicken breast. I no longer need Almond Milk for the lactose intolerant child, 2 percent for the one who favors that and half and half! I almost laughed out loud when I realized I don’t have to buy mustard. I am the only person probably left on the planet who likes Miracle Whip. What can I say, my mom loved it too.

Of course, the “grocery store thing” is going to take some time in my new unchartered world. Of course, on my first trip I bought more than I can carry. But guess what? People are generally kind and helpful.

The nicest man helped me find a taxi. Who knew there were three entrances to the grocery and only one door leads to a ramp and a taxi line. Maybe I will invest in the fancy pulley grocery cart… but then again, how do you pull that “thing” in the snow? Chicago winter is just around the corner.

Yep.. I am putting one foot in front of the other and journeying on…





Unapologetically You Post-50. Reinvention, Lifestyle, Relationships.

  • Sylvia
    Posted at 15:57h, 09 September Reply

    Welcome to our neighborhood. I totally related to your grocery store search. I’m happy to share ideas with you, but you’re right, it takes time to make it feel like home. It is the simple things. One hint for the winter Peapod.com.

    • laurenchesley
      Posted at 18:19h, 15 September Reply

      Thank you! I did try Treasure Island, which is close by. Peapod is a great idea for winter. Now…where is my Yoga studio, my dry cleaner….one day at a time.

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