I’m back from my nearly month-long break.
In the blogging world, not posting content is considered blogger-suicide.
My inconsistency wasn’t intentional but it was necessary.
My head, heart, soul and body needed to retreat….and so I did.
But I’m ready to talk about it all now so here goes……
My last post mentioned that I was in New York City saying good-bye to my beloved Brooklyn apartment. With no offense intended to anyone who has used traditional 12 step programs to deal with addiction, this final act of truly leaving New York was quite an ordeal for me. After living in Los Angeles for nearly 2 years, I didn’t think that the act of selling my New York apartment wouldn’t be so devastating but it was.
It’s taken me nearly a month to be able to write about my unique 13 steps to dealing with my own transition but here goes:
Step 1: Arrive at midnight to an empty apartment except for a mattress on the bedroom floor and this thoughtful table set by a loving husband. Cry.
Step 2: Wake up in empty apartment and remember it’s your wedding anniversary (the first one spent apart from your husband of 14 years) and then remember the thoughtful gift left for you by said husband when you of course, left nothing for him. Cry again.
Step 3: Walk around the neighborhood and incessantly snap shots of the picturesque neighborhood. Notice how many businesses have closed/opened. The impact of a basketball team that was in another state when you left just less than two years ago is everywhere.
Step 4: Spend your anniversary at one of your favorite restaurants with two old friends who attended your wedding but also knew you way before you were married.
Step 5: Squeeze in visits with as many people as possible – including a mini high school reunion, a drink with a bunch Mom’s Group friends, a lunch with a cousin and multiple walks with friends to or from work.
Step 6: Visit a bunch of favorite restaurants and realize that your oldest and most favorite haunt has been remodeled and revamped and interpreting that to mean, “Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?”. For details on the original restaurant see here.
Step 7: Feel so depressed that even the hottest fitness classes and one of the most iconic bridges on Earth provide no exercise motivation at all. Only having a friend teaching a yoga class mere blocks from your (empty) apartment gets you to do more than aimlessly walk the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Step 8: Have dinner with two of your best friends. While you’re glad to see them it only emphasizes the fact that you can’t just decide to grab a bite whenever you feel like it (and the fact that you’re too preoccupied to take a photo to capture stolen moments).
Step 9: Go to see the Off Broadway show based on one of your favorite cult classic movies and then realize the theater where the show is being held used to be the $2.00 movie theater you frequented when you were in your 20’s. Remember that was over 20 years ago and cry again.
Step 10: Show up for your first speaking engagement ever at a conference emphasizing health, fitness, beauty and empowerment. Be honored (and nervous) to speak, get a chance to see (and meet) some fabulous people and then feel like an absolute fool for having a pity party when you learn that your friend has news that really puts things in perspective.
Step 11: Be ready to return to your new city immediately after said conference and find out that your flight has been canceled. Return back to said empty apartment (good thing you didn’t throw out the bedsheets and mattress). Realize it’s Saturday night and instead of enjoying the fabulousity of one of the greatest cities in the world, curl up in the lonely bed, watch 80’s teen flicks (using up valuable mobile data plan minutes) and order in your favorite Indian food.
Step 12: Take a second final walk around the neighborhood, say the last goodbye, leave the keys for the new owners and get on a plane to take you back to your family on Mother’s Day only to experience a plane ride with the worst turbulence ever – my seat mates were convinced we were to crash – and requiring a shot of vodka at the bar once the plane landed. Smelling like cheap booze and looking like a hot mess is definitely the way to greet your family waiting for you with flowers on Mother’s Day at the airport.
You’d think that would be the end but no, there was one more step that brought home the message that my time of truly being a New Yorker was over.
Bonus Step: See Billy Joel at his first performance ever at the Hollywood Bowl. There are few things like seeing a New York icon in Los Angeles to highlight the fact that you are technically no longer a New Yorker. Billy Joel spent some of his own life in Los Angeles and he’s an example that no matter where you might go, that New York never leaves you. Shed a few more tears but enjoy and appreciate the moment. Realize that life is full of unexpected twists and turns.
If you asked me 5 years ago if I’d ever leave New York, my answer would have been a hard and very fast, “No way!” but I’m here in Los Angeles now and I’m happy. I’m still the owner of a New York Driver’s License with a California address. I’ve kept the license because I believed that since I owned an apartment in New York, I was bicoastal but now that I no longer own an apartment in New York, I need to make a change.
Even though I’m changing some part of what how I’ve always identified myself, it took some time to realize that no matter where I am that I’m still me. I needed to mourn the end of an era and find my way forward. I realized that being nostalgic can be good but I don’t want to be that very sad sack that is so stuck in the past that they can’t appreciate the present (attachment to 80’s music excluded). I’m not sure that AA would agree with my steps but it’s what’s helped me get through my own tough time.
What’s been the hardest step you’ve had to take to make a positive change in your life?