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.