Life Lately.

Life Lately | leaving New York

Life Lately.

The other day my friend James was teasing me and said, “you haven’t left New York until you’ve written your Leaving New York Essay.” I laughed at that but to be quite honest, I don’t really know if I have a “leaving New York” essay in me. (I will tell you though, this book is amazing…And I was reading it before I moved. I currently have absolutely no idea where it is (along with most of my things). But once I find it, I plan on picking it back up and devouring these writers’ beautiful essays). So these ramblings will probably be as close as it gets to a leaving essay!

I have been feeling many mixed emotions. It’s hard to articulate but it’s a mix of sadness (but also a bit of side-eye at myself for being sad, this was my decision!), happiness and excitement (but with a healthy side of guilt for feeling that happiness?) Also: a whole lot of uncertainty.

New York was my home for fifteen years.

It’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere, it’s the place I really “grew up” into a fully functioning adult (I was 24 when I moved there), it’s where I made my closest friends. It’s where I built my career and professional network. And it’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere as an adult. And I feel so much pride in having “made it” as a New Yorker… I really struggled when I first got there (we talked more about that in this post if you are in the mood for a little walk down memory lane!).

Besides wanting to live closer to my parents and to live in a warmer climate (I really do just hate winter!), I’d just gotten to a point where I was tired of everything feeling so hard. Life in New York is so much fun but can also be really darn annoying! Some days just felt like an uphill battle. I wanted things to be easier. Right now, life doesn’t need to be glamorous and exciting. I don’t need it to be fast paced. Easy is my word. Things like laundry and a dishwasher feel like such giant luxuries. Having enough kitchen cabinet space where things are not precariously balanced on each other, ready to spill out every time you open them is wonderful. A linen closet and a coat closet! A locker for packages. These are such small, maybe insignificant things, but this overall sense of ease is wonderful.

When I “moved” here for six weeks, things just felt right.

My shoulders dropped an inch. The warm weather probably helped with that but with COVID etc etc I think I was desperately craving stability. And for me that is living by my immediate family. Living in the same city as my parents feels completely surreal. Being able to meet them for drinks before dinner (doing that tonight, I think) or to just go over and watch movies on a Sunday afternoon is amazing. A big goal of mine has been to be better at listening to my intuition. And everything inside me was screaming that it was time to leave.

The things I miss are small ones that have very little to do with New York and more to do with the people there. Going for cocktail walks with Becca. Having my friend Alex over for Silver Rice delivery (their spicy salmon or tuna sushi cups are incredible) and Netflix. Spontaneous happy hours. And of course more New York-y things like picnics in the park and museum days. I know it’s going to hit me hard as it warms up in New York and I see all my friends hanging out without me. I started to cry imagining my checkerboard floor being repainted.

To be honest, right now feels like a giant mess, but also… not?

I feel like I am learning to just go with the flow and see what happens. If you’ve followed me a while now, this is probably apparent but I am just not a breezy person by nature. I am organized. I like having a plan. And I like knowing exactly what is going to happen when and where… and so on and so forth. The cat got lost, my move in date was delayed, all my furniture is backordered, and I am STILL not even remotely close to being unpacked. But that is okay! I’m taking today and tomorrow to really focus on getting the place a little more settled.

Even in all this craziness, life also just feels really good.

I’ve also had the feeling that things are just easier when I surrender to the chaos: stop overanalyzing, stop being irritated when things don’t go exactly how I’d like them or have imagined them going, and everything will be fine. While there have been some hiccups along the way, at the heart of it I feel really, really happy (and also really, really supported which is a really good feeling).

I am in love with my apartment and am so excited to get more settled. I still have the goal of buying property at some point in the not so distant future. But I feel better renting for a year and then figuring things out. I want to be sure that Charleston is even where I want to be. My new building is the perfect transitional space. I’ve never lived in a big apartment building (like one with a doorman, amenities, etc) and I have to say that it’s a nice life. It’s also so quiet. After living on the street level (next to a bus stop, no less) on a busy street, the quiet is pure bliss.

I had always thought I’d live in the historic part of town in a carriage house or something like that. But after this past year, I just wanted everything to feel really easy and that’s how it feels in this space. I can’t wait to decorate (and to have a guest room) and to share all of that with you.

I’m proud of myself for following my gut.

I’m feeling really uncertain but also very supported and loved. I know I am right where I need to be, even if that feels a little bit scary and messy. And I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen next!

photo by Allie Provost.

Leave a Comment

Comments

  1. Alisande says 4.15.21

    You will figure it out! You were brave to follow your gut. Lots of people don’t have that courage and just get stuck. So jealous you can hang out with your parents whenever you want. Priceless.

    • Monica says 4.15.21

      So happy for you and excited to follow along as you get settled in Charleston!!

  2. Michelle says 4.15.21

    I don’t think you will ever regret living near your parents. 5 years ago I made a similar choice to move back home to Texas from the cosmopolitan European city where I’d been living since my college graduation. 1 year ago my dad passed away. I’m so grateful to have had those four years together and to be here now for my mom. If you can still have a thriving career while living near family, I say do it every time.

  3. Maggie says 4.15.21

    So excited to follow along with your journey!!

  4. Wendy says 4.15.21

    As a fellow planner, I can relate! I, too, am trying to work on embracing uncertainty. Glad you are happy and embracing it all! Also score one for apt complexes! Having moving to one last year, it was great to just dial up maintenance!

  5. Kelly says 4.15.21

    I don’t know if it’s my age or the pandemic (both?) but I agree. We moved this year into a house built in 1990 because we wanted an attached garage. We’ve lived in old houses for the last 20 years and love the charm and character but I was just over it. Now I have a laundry/mud room and attached garage and huge kitchen island. And it’s just easy/easier. We’ve never been happier.

  6. Kim Struglinski says 4.15.21

    I loved reading your reflections and I am totally with you about wanting things to feel easy. I lived in Chicago for a couple of years and still LOVE the energy I feel when I’m there – I seriously just feel like I walk differently! – but especially after the winter of 2014 (#chiberia) I was tired of feeling like I always had to fight day in and day out. I remember feeling like I was constantly fighting the weather, the sidewalks, the transit schedule, so much. Being in Nashville just feels easy and calm to me. And yes there’s stuff I miss, but that ease is so worth it.

  7. Emily says 4.15.21

    This was exactly what I needed to read today.

    I’m in the process of doing something similar following a divorce (moving long distance to the city where my parents live from the place I’ve been for more than a decade) and it feels overwhelming but luxurious at the same time.

    I struggle with “embracing the chaos” and dealing with the potential of things not going according to plan, so I totally feel you. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

  8. mss says 4.15.21

    I have always said that living in New York City is a SKILL. It will serve you no matter where you move next. I left NYC over a decade ago for a smaller southern city and while it was definitely a transition, I still really appreciate all those little luxuries you speak of–quiet, space, convenience, the sound of rain and trees, driving! My best advice when you get sad is to fly back. I literally went back every other month for four years. I still dated New Yorkers. I met my future husband and convinced him to move down south. New York truly is a fabulous place to visit–especially since you know your way around the city so well, but there’s always something new to discover. It made me appreciate my old city and my new life in a way that only an ex-New Yorker can. Best of luck with your move. I am enjoying watching you discover new joys in a new home.

    • Christina says 4.15.21

      This comment hit me to my core. I just moved from NYC to LA and miss it so much. I appreciate all the little luxuries so much. Also the flying back every other month for four years speaks ot me as I want to go back all the time but haven’t been able to because of covid. But going back this summer and CANT WAIT. I also connect with ex New Yorkers here like instantly when I meet them it’s wild

      • Cy says 4.15.21

        Years ago I moved from San Francisco to LA and culture shock! ( it’s not that far, same state but, still very different. LA is not a city, it’s a bunch of suburbs strung together by long boulevards and highways. Not many many people drive in NY or SF, you don’t have much choice in LA. Had a ball living there though. I went to visit my sister in NY that same year and I was thinking “yay, its nice to be in a real city again! “

  9. Amanda says 4.15.21

    You’ve got this! I’ve been a long-time reader and I’m so excited for you! Also, it would seem we’re a weird mirror of each other right now. I am moving to OR from NC in five days to start my career as an attorney at 35 years old. I’ve never stepped foot Oregon and I’ve also never lived farther than 45 minutes away from my family and now we’ll be a 6 hour plane ride apart. I’m excited and terrified. But I knew I needed a change. I couldn’t deal with the heat anymore and decided to follow my intuition which was telling me it was time to leave and “make it on my own.” You’re going to love Charleston and I am so happy you’re following your beautiful emerald green heart.

  10. Rebecca Evans says 4.15.21

    Sounds like you are in a good place, just letting the emotions come in waves. Is Tyrion ok, has he been found? Have fun with your padres!

    • Emily Ashton says 4.15.21

      yes! this!! is tyrion ok??! where did he go?! We need an update on how he is adjusting to Charleston life!

      • grace at the stripe says 4.15.21

        Yes! I posted about the whole saga on Instagram, and we talked about it on the podcast as well. What a fiasco! XO

  11. Always trust your gut! Hope things go well for you! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  12. Sara says 4.15.21

    I can really relate to a lot of these feelings you have shared! I moved to a new city almost two years ago (away from my family, though). It was a huge risk; I resigned from my job and turned down the renewal on my apartment before having new ones lined up in the new city. Then it all pulled together in the two weeks before my move date!! I knew it was time for something new and I’m so glad I listened to my intuition!

  13. Erin says 4.15.21

    I love, love, love this post! I have been following your move closely because I am also making a big move this year, to a place that will feel “easier” and be closer to family, and I share a lot of these mixed emotions. I’m so excited for you, and have loved following this journey! And I can’t wait for my own movie in a few months. 🙂

  14. Stacy says 4.15.21

    I love reading this. I’m moving to Texas (from Oregon) next week (!!!!) and while the circumstances are different, I’m feeling very similar mixed feelings. There is so much I will miss about life in Portland, but Austin feels right to me.

  15. Amanda says 4.15.21

    Thank you for sharing all of this! I’ve loved following your journey and as a former New Yorker myself (lived there for 9 years), I can completely relate to what you’re going through. After leaving NYC I’ve lived in a few different places but a couple of months ago moved to the DC suburbs right near family. While I miss city life and the pace of NYC (and my friends there), this felt right and is a much easier way to live as you said. I think Charleston will suit you well and I’m excited to read all about it!

  16. Neha says 4.15.21

    Best of Luck with your new place! 🙂

  17. Melissa says 4.15.21

    Thanks for writing this. I can totally relate. We have a big life changing move coming up and I just don’t know how I should feel about it. Yes, it was our decision and totally voluntary. We have the perfect place on the lake that we just build 3 years ago. We are giving it all up to downsize and move to the Colorado mountains, far away from family and friends. We just fell in love with the place and are going to jump in with both feet. This is so out of character for me. I am like you – I need order and a schedule and god help anyone that messes with my schedule or changes my plans! But we are not getting any younger so we decided to do it! Could be a huge mistake or could be the best decision we’ve ever made. I guess we’ll never know if we don’t try! Always enjoy reading your blog!!

  18. Christina says 4.15.21

    get it girl, so excited for you!!

    also i was just listening to some old podcast episodes about organization, and it seems like “sorry i can’t, moved to charleston!” is about the best “every meeting should be a phone call” trick you could have! best of luck!!!

  19. Cy says 4.15.21

    You probably don’t remember Grace, but years ago I commented that I thought you would move to Charleston someday and probably fall in love there (maybe you are already dating someone? Wink wink). This is before your parents moved there. I believe that following your gut is absolutely the best thing you can do for yourself. Many times I haven’t listened and regretted it. My sister has lived in NY for over 20 years so, its like a second home to me. She used to beg me to move there. I Love NY, its a wonderful place, but everything is a schelp. It can be both exhilarating and exhausting. She is now moving to California as we are caring for our aging dad. This is our childhood home, but the climate ( professional/cultural) here also isn’t as tense. As a longtime reader I am so excited for you. I moved home years ago to be near my family and have never regretted it. Cheers to your new home ! I can’t wait to see it

  20. CARLA M HOLDEN says 4.15.21

    I’ve been having so much fun and inspiration watching your journey unfold this year. I’m a newer reader but it’s been nice to see you taking on this new adventure. Maybe I’ll do the same one day. Thanks for sharing it all with us!

  21. Rebecca says 4.15.21

    Grace. My husband and I love NYC. Visit often. Not so much lately. Every time we visit. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I think how wonderful it is there but also how difficult it must be to live there. Hard. We lived in Philadelphia for a long time. It was a very livable city. Easy. I’ve never felt Rahway about NYC. But I love it, none the less, and count the days to our return. Enjoy your new city. And share it with us.

  22. Mackenzie says 4.15.21

    I’ll be making a similar move over the next few months–moving from Atlanta to Charlotte, NC to be closer to family–and it’s been so great to follow along and see how you’ve been handling everything! I’m very similar to you in that I crave organization and have a plan, so it’s just nice to be able to see someone else make a similar move, despite the hiccups, and feel really happy with their decision. Super excited for you as you move into this next chapter!

  23. Erin says 4.15.21

    I’m so excited for you and all that this change will bring, Grace! You deserve some calm and ease – and I’m sure your parents are so happy to have you around too. 🙂

  24. Jane says 4.15.21

    I feel this so hard. I live in the suburbs of London (900 sq ft row home) and life just feels hard. We have two kids and very little family support (my family in the states, husband’s is across the city – 1.5 hours away), and no space! Closets, a laundry room/mud room, garage all sound so luxurious to me. Anyway! Don’t know what we’ll do, I do love it here, but congratulations to you!! Charleston looks like a dream!

    • grace at the stripe says 4.17.21

      Thank you, and good luck to you!!!!! There’s also something to be said for living in a big magical city like London or New York!

  25. Sally says 4.15.21

    Thank you so much for sharing! I’m also making a big move by myself this year, although mine is leaving family and comfort and moving to a big, exciting city. It’s nerve-wracking, but just like you said, I feel such peace about the decision.

  26. Catherine says 4.15.21

    After living in NYC for 5+ years in a tiny studio above a couple that constantly fought all the time and stumbled home in the middle of the night, moving to Chicago where things were a bit slower, nicer and more affordable was a dream. Having all the little luxuries of a doorman, washer, safe mail space really does make life so much better.

  27. Susana says 4.15.21

    Wish you all the best. Getting a better home is always worth it. Being near family and more comfortable is not a luxary is what everyone should be able to get

  28. Liza says 4.15.21

    I left New York after ten years for Philly for a lot of the same reasons. I wanted life to feel easier… and cheaper! A row home with AC, a fireplace, laundry, a dishwasher, and a backyard, for less than the rent on a NYC studio?! I honestly couldn’t even believe it. Six years and a kid later, we’re actually headed back to NYC, and I’m nervous but happy. It took some time away to realize it really is our home. Which is all to say — you’ll figure it out in time, too!

  29. Amy says 4.15.21

    Thrilled for you at your peace about this new time in your life. Embrace the ease while you can. Everything is unfolding as it should xx

  30. Jessica Camerata says 4.16.21

    So happy for you and for this big move. But also seeing that you’re growing to learn to accept the mess too. I think that’s a big big deal. I can’t wait to come visit CHS soon and get some oysters at The Ordinary!

    xo Jessica
    an indigo day

  31. Hayley says 4.16.21

    I’m excited for you! It sounds like you’re where you’re meant to be. I know exactly what you mean about wanting and needing an easier life…NYC is so amazing but just such a hard place to live. There were days I felt like the city had it in for me (probably compounded by not being American, it’s a culture shock for sure!) That said, it’s been over seven years since I left and I still actively miss it. It gets into your veins somehow. As I type, I’m lying in bed looking out over the farmland to the sea, 100% at home but also, still, missing my other homes, very much including NYC.

    Charleston looks AMAZING and I’m excited to follow along as you build your life there.

  32. Emily says 4.16.21

    I too read Goodbye to All That before leaving NYC (and it’s sister book Never Can Say Goodbye) and loved them. I moved to Chicago to be closer to family but I still feel sad every time someone posts a scene from the West Village or the Brooklyn Promenade. It’s almost like seeing an ex getting along just fine without you hah.

    Here’s my leaving nyc essay:
    https://tripsinnyc.wordpress.com/2020/10/11/goodbye-to-the-streets-of-new-york/