MIA again. Dammit. I was really on a roll there for a while.
There’s been a lot going on in my non-virtual life, the most notable of which is that we have finally, officially, there’s-no-going-back-now, moved to New Jersey. Months ago we marked the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend as our move date, so we had plenty of time to sketch out our plan of attack. The big ticket items were easy – we borrowed a friend’s Suburban and slowly but surely used our weekends to ferry our couch, media console, dressers, and other large knick knacks to New Jersey. With our apartment pretty much empty in the week leading up to our move date (save for the essentials: our bed, folding chairs, folding tables, and TV), I was feeling pretty accomplished. Just the small stuff remained and how long could it take to pack all that up? The answer: THREE FRIGGIN’ DAYS. I’d like to say I handled packing with grace and patience, but that would be a lie. It got done of course, but not without a fair amount of whining on my part and occasional dramatic displays of throwing of myself onto our bed and yelling “THIS SUUUUUUUCCKS!”
Most people in our circle knew that the move had been looming and constantly were asking, “So are you ready to move? Are you sad to be leaving NYC?” Since I’d been so focused on the logistics, I’d stoically respond, “Pretty much, just a bit more to pack but otherwise, sure we are ready.” My friends were more nostalgic than I was in reaction to my response. “Won’t you miss your studio? Seven years is a long time. It’s like the end of an era.”
Maybe it’s because our move had been in the cards for months, or maybe it’s because I was too preoccupied with boxes and tape, or maybe it’s because I’ve never had trouble with change, nor am I a generally sentimental person, but it just didn’t feel like the big deal everyone was making it out to be. I’ve never felt the attachment to our apartment. To NYC, sure, but to our little 400 square foot apartment with eleven inches of counter space, crumbling bathroom tile, and what I believe to be a baby elephant living directly above us? No, I’d been trying to say goodbye to that studio a year after I moved in – my sights set on an updated one bedroom with an elevator and doorman. But finances always got in the way, and Mr. S and I are surprisingly very adaptable and just learned to make do. The suburbs weren’t so appealing when we first bought our house but as we made the renovations, I’ve looked forward to settling in to more space and leaving our grungy studio behind.
But on our last night in our apartment, after we had packed up the last of the boxes, taken down the curtains and TV, and I saw the walls bare again for the first time since I moved in, I started to feel sad about leaving apartment 1B. Mr. S had run out to grab our dinner and I sat alone on the floor, looking into the empty room. There was a moment of déjà vu – I had done the same thing when I first moved in seven years ago, feeling quite lonely and wondering what had I gotten myself into. Living alone? In NYC? Am I going to be able to do this? I have nobody to talk to. I should have gotten a roommate. But instead of barely surviving in the city on my own, I thrived in it. I learned the ins and outs of the intricate subway system, filled my free time with art classes, museum visits, and brunch with friends, and even discovered that one can put out a stove top fire with just a pot lid.
And instead of growing out of the little studio, I grew into it. So many life changes happened in those seven years and I can pinpoint each one (almost comically) to how we had to rearrange the furniture to adjust. When Mr. S moved in, we moved the bed against the wall of windows to fit a second dresser for him. Years later we had to change the layout again to make room for Chunk’s gigantic kennel. What I thought was a temporary small space just for me became a happy home for three because I/we made room for it.
Saying goodbye to NYC living certainly marks the end of an era, and while I have my reservations about adjusting to suburban life (how exactly does one “garden”?), I wholly recognize it was time for us to move on. Before driving off in our loaded U-Haul, I took one last look at our home for the past seven years and silently wished the next tenant the same sense of self-confidence and accomplishment that apartment 1B allowed me to find.
What Frank Sinatra sang of New York, New York rings true for me. If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere. Even the New Jersey suburbs…we hope.