Playing North Looper

Halfway between my house and my job in northeast Minneapolis (or Nordeast, as the locals call it) stands downtown Minneapolis. And parked precariously close to my place of employment, just on the other side of the Mississippi river, is the North Loop.

It is every hip millennial’s fantasy; located in the Warehouse District, modern renovated apartments, restaurants, and shops dwell in old industrial buildings. There is an abundance of coffee shops, cycling studios, yoga studios, hybrid yoga-cycling studios, amazing restaurants, niche boutiques, and of course, a Whole Foods. Basically, it’s my dream neighborhood.

Seeing as I don’t yet have the means to make my dream of living there a reality, I play pretend every once in a while. I get brunch with my family on Sundays, drink some kombucha, and wander around the farmers market; I love it.

Being a broke-ass college student, I am pretty notorious for using first-class-free passes at workout studios and then never returning for a second class. Recently, on one of these said occurrences, I got to have my fun as a wannabe North Looper. After I got off work, I took the short drive to the workout studio I had decided to take advantage of that day. I had about an hour to kill before the class started so I walked over to a nearby coffee shop with a book in my mini mustard yellow backpack and my bright green yoga bag in tow.

I am a coffee fanatic, as you will soon find out when I dedicate a whole post to coffee, however I already had two cups that day so I settled on iced tea, despite my urge to try the lavender latte calling my name. Standing there in my red raincoat, khaki shorts, and retro sneakers, I felt a little out of place amongst the young professionals with great style wearing monotone colors and working on their laptops or having meetings with others that necessitated legal pads.

IMG_4014Despite the fact that it had been a rainy day, I took my tea to the outdoor patio shielded from the dreary weather by a large overhang. I stealthily snapped a quick picture of my tea as all foodstagramers do, pulled my fiction novel out of my backpack, and began to read. I was slightly distracted by the nagging feeling that I should be doing something much more important, as it seemed the rest of the customers were doing. Someday I’ll come back with a friend when I’m looking a bit more stylish and order that lavender latte, I thought.

After about an hour, I walked over to the workout studio. It was awesome; the instructor was super nice, she had a great taste in music, the facility was clean and modern, and there was a beverage cooler of overpriced juices that was nice to know was there even though I would probably never buy one.

I drove home in a very relaxed and cheerful mood. As I gushed to my mom about how great the North Loop is and how I can imagine myself living there while working some corporate Marketing job downtown, she didn’t look quite so convinced. “Aren’t you trying to live more minimalist?” she pointed out. “You can’t just get the nice apartment. Then you have to get the fancy coffee, the expensive yoga membership, and go out to eat at the snazzy restaurants. You could be helping other people with all that money.”

I tried to make my case that if I’ve got enough money for all those things, then I’ll also have enough to donate to charity frequently, or my job will actually be helping the world be a better place. “You won’t find me wearing head-to-toe Lululemon or going on a $300 juice cleanse,” I told her. “I like to spend my money on experiences, rather than material objects. Workout studio memberships and restaurants are experiences, just like travel.”

But she did make a point. Would the novelty of that life wear off once it became a daily routine? I’m pretty content working out in my basement with nothing but a yoga mat and some dumbbells, running outside, and taking a weekly yoga class at a donation-based studio. I relish the idea of fitting my whole life into a suitcase and being able to uproot and travel anywhere I want without tons of unnecessary crap. I have absolutely no desire for a huge house with four bathrooms. All I genuinely want is to eat good food with good friends, drink a cup of coffee every morning, feel excited for each new day, and see as much of the world as I can.

Am I going to completely write off my inner desire to be a North Looper? No. If I play my cards right and it becomes a tangible possibility, then I may indulge myself more than I do now. But for right now, I’m quite alright playing pretend every once in a while. Moral of the story: listen to your mother.

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