Life Change, Part Deux
We left New York City in the middle of the night. It was pouring out and we were all exhausted, but I didn’t care. It was the end of the second of two nightmarish 14-hour days dealing with movers and packing, and I’d had it. It was time to go.
And so, we left NY in the dark of night in the pouring rain. All I knew was I’d had enough and I was done. So done, I couldn’t spend one more night there, late as it was when we’d finally packed the last box, tired as we were, and storming as it was. I paid the Super to oversee the movers removing the last of our things, and we got the hell out of Dodge.
I tried to leave NYC a few times before. I flirted with San Francisco and Boston, and sent my resume to headhunters in those cities from time to time. But then I’d discover something new in Manhattan, a new play, a new underground club, a new restaurant, and that was it for a move. Things were always changing in NY and I didn’t want to miss even the smallest thing. Once, I got pretty close—I had a job lined up in Dallas and a move-out date that came and went, but I stayed, because how could I ever leave the city that was a living superlative? New York had the best, the most. Any time of day. Whatever you want, whenever you want it. Delivered straight to your door, even.
And the polarities! The diversity. The crowds. The intensity. The energy. The noise. The culture. The opportunity. The expense. The traffic. The Fashion. The trains. As long as you love it more than you hate it, it’s livable. That’s how it was for me, for so long. Until it wasn’t.
You see, the thing about New York is it gives you an edge. A necessary quality if you're going to cut through the noise and the chaos to carve out your space, but the thing about an edge is it can become too sharp if you aren't careful. It can make you cynical; it can shorten your fuse. I realized how much I'd come to resent the lifestyle that sucked the life out of me, and I worried what I'd pass on to my child.
I remember an article that was a meme before there were memes, that said you should live in New York once, but leave before it makes you hard. After Isa came along, I realized it was long past that time. It was time for things to be easier, to feel easier, so I could be easier.
I also began to feel the call to live near family in a way I never had before—it became a priority. I didn’t know if I would want to have another baby, so living in Denver near one of my sisters with her two young ones became my focus. And it all fell into place once it became my focus.
We left without fanfare or big goodbyes. We just left, because leaving felt fragile, like something would stop us if we made it too big a deal. I suppose on many levels, fleeing in the middle of the night was an appropriate exit from the city that had its ironclad grip on me for as long as it did.
I wondered how I’d feel leaving. Would it be regret? Sadness? Fear? I had a million Facebook/Instagram posts composed in my mind, ready to go once snapping the perfect picture of our packed-to-the-gills small city car that would carry us to our new home in the middle of the country. As it happened, there was no singular moment of clarity, and the only thing I felt was a massive sense of urgency to just go.
It took me a few days to notice any real feeling beyond a sense of purpose to make progress on our journey. I can say I still had that New York drive to move quickly. The pivotal moment for me was a couple of days into the journey I was stressing about how long it took us to pack up and go each morning on the road, when Jay said, we’re not in a rush. I felt the tensions immediately fall away. He was right. We were making a road trip of our move, there wasn’t an office awaiting my arrival (I could work from anywhere), and it would be weeks before our house was ready. I didn’t need to be in a rush ever again if I didn’t want to be. I resolved to chill out and just enjoy the ride.
We've been gone a few months now. I'm still trying to remember that we're not in a rush. And I think it's working.
As for the road trip, it took us two weeks to travel a bit more than 1800 miles, and we did it our way: slowly, stopping to enjoy and document, and seeing a few sites and oddities along the way...