So here we are…or should I say, here I am…on the precipice of trading in my love affair with New York City in for a life in the Connecticut suburbs (beyond what I would call daily commuting distance to NYC).
I love New York City in a way that so many of my fellow New Yorkers do…This city is addictive. It’s the muse of many online opuses, it’s the birthplace of incredible ideas, the fuel for non-stop energy, the canvas for amazing diversity…
I love the energy…the way I feel when I return to the city after being away, the people, the impromptu conversations, the passion, the heart, the fervor, the drive, the beauty, the hard edges and the blurred lines, the ability to feel completely alone and on sensory overload all at the same time…and the fact that the bars are pretty much open 24/7…all things that make this a place I planned to call home forever.
And as you might imagine, the process of letting this city go comes with mixed emotions…with excitement and with tears.
The other night I was packing, focused on labeling appropriately and using every free inch of the box in front of me, when I came across all of my previous network news IDs… and I started to cry…the photo that was used in all of my IDS through my decade long run in network news, was my intern photo…
This. My life. What I have done for the last 12 years. Has been my dream since I was 17-years-old.
I set my sights on this city and stopped at nothing to get here. And I can honestly say living, working and raising a child here has been the most incredible ride.
But as Ellie rounds the corner into entering the school system, I realized I was having a lot of anxiety about the juggle getting even more difficult. Half-days, teacher development days, school breaks, summer break, 2:30pm dismissal, sick days, snow days…they are all quite incompatible with working full-time as a solo-parent without a safety net.
Yes. I have amazing friends who have come to the rescue when it is 2:30am and I have a terrible stomach virus and Ellie is teething…and I can’t stop heaving in the kitchen sink or toilet long enough to give her another dose of baby Motrin. Yes…I have neighbors who help with Ellie when I have to travel and who can hang out with her if I have a late evening conference call or an early morning meeting…
But making those arrangements takes a lot of mom math and perpetual low key logistical anxiety that keeps me up at night. And when I signed Ellie up for full-day preK at a local Catholic school and I saw that school didn’t start until the Wednesday of the first week of September and the first 3 days were half-days it hit me – this is only going to get more difficult for me to figure out. And living in perpetual fear of the school schedule is just not something I can live with. It doesn’t make me a better mom, which is really my number one priority.
And after spending a large amount of time with my family in Connecticut while my grandfather was sick, and after he passed - I realized, I just worried a lot less when I am in near my immediate and extended family – even with those circumstances.
While I was home, Ellie always had someone to play with, there was always someone to entertain her when I had to get on a conference call…when I was at my breaking point, I was able to take a breath and walk away without having to make 3 phone calls and send 2 text messages to carve out two hours to myself to do whatever I needed to do, and I realized, in Connecticut, my brain just functioned better…and most importantly, Ellie was a lot happier.
But I just needed to resolve my love affair with this city – which is intense and intoxicating.
At one point, in one of my many conversations about this with a very close friend, she just gently mentioned that whenever she sees the quote, “Let it go, or be dragged” on her sister’s fridge, she thinks of me.
This friend is a pro at planting a seed in my head and then walking away from the conversation. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was just time to let it go. No matter how sad it makes me. It’s time.
So when I was packing and crying, I texted another friend who was a large part of my New York City life and who has also recently moved to a new city. I was praying he had some great words of wisdom and to my surprise, he actually did.
ME: Is my heart gonna hurt when I don’t live here?
FRIEND: It’s not. You will want to go back every once in a while. You should make plans to go back in the first few weeks. It will seem like you never left. Then a few more times and it will start to feel like a vacation. That’s when it’s awesome. You only have to do what you are planning to do there. No other obligations, etc. Then after a few months, you will go back again and you will well up with missing it. In a good way. You won’t want to move back, but you will be super happy to be back…even if just for a bit.
ME: Thanks. This is a bit of a lot for me.
FRIEND: You’ve dealt with bigger life changing events. And you did just fine. You will be okay living a train away. Especially cause you can always go back. This decision is one you are making based upon what’s the best for you given the information you have right now. If what’s best changes, you can make that decision too.
This friend happens to also know the best way to make me feel better about something is to remind me that I can always find a way out of my decision, if I need to.
Later in our conversation he reminded me that I need to stop saying, “I never planned on leaving,” because, according to our plentiful happy hour conversations in our mid-twenties, I always planned on leaving…right around this time.
He said, “Yea, so just for the record, this isn’t a single mom thing, this is a mom thing…the EXACT mom thing you told me you would do. You said, ‘I think I’ll probably move out to Connecticut to be closer to my family after I have kids…probably in my mid-thirties.’ So don’t freak out about moving out to the suburbs, freak out about being in your mid-thirties. When did that happen? All of the sudden, we grew up.”
And with that…I really began the process of letting it go.