Thursday, August 16, 2012

Firsts of the lasts

The day we left for house-hunting on the West Coast, I had brunch with a friend who's also my former supervisor. We chatted and caught up and rolled our eyes about work BS. When we parted I realized that it is very possible I won't see her again. She moved out of NYC last year (I was jealous!), and I don't know when I'll be back in New York even to visit.

Mister M will be back at least a few times, for work, and for fun (like the New Yorker Festival in early October, I hope!). I, however, will be unable to travel anywhere after our trip. I'm hoping that we can do some road trips in our new area (coastline to the west! mountains to the east! different mountains to the north!), but I have no idea how comfortable or uncomfortable I'll be in a car. Once two babies arrive, I won't be going anywhere at all for quite some time. I figure it'll be at least next fall until we attempt to go somewhere all four of us on a plane.

So this next week is really the end for me. The end of life in New York, the end of this life I've had for the last eight years. I'm tearing up even now, and I'm not exactly sure why. (I could blame hormones, but I've always been a crier.)

This is a big deal. Moving across the country. Changing everything. A really big deal. It's been something I've thought about and talked about and yes, wanted for years. (Which has been obnoxious. I'm sorry.) But the reality is different somehow.

When I left home to come here in 2004, it was an adventure, I had a job sort of waiting for me (NYC Teaching Fellows). I didn't know anyone (the two people I knew both moved away within six months), but it was still kind of exciting and certainly new. Also, I was really freaking busy a lot of the time (which didn't stop me from being lonely most of the time). But I was in constant contact with my mom and dad, and I visited home at least twice that first year. So leaving home wasn't difficult, because I knew I would be back periodically, and that things would change (more and more houses where there used to be fields or forests), but the people would still be there and I would still know them and if all else failed, I could go back and still be okay.

But I came here, made a life here, became a real adult here. Made and lost some friends. Found a career and left it. However, there isn't anything or anyone who will always be here for me if I wanted to visit or come back for good (not like I want to!). Sure, I still know a few people, but the deep bonds I used to have with folks are kind of gone, or the people themselves have left. (For example, I've lost touch with my two favorite school friends from First Middle School; they both moved south, got married and had babies.) There will be nothing here for me anymore. New York City will move on like I was never here. Young people will keep arriving with stars in their eyes and empty wallets. Yuppies will continue bleating about how NYC is such a great place to raise children, as they fight for sidewalk space in their posh neighborhoods and heft strollers up subway stairs and wait years for a preschool waitlist spot.

I've never felt like a New Yorker. New Yorkers are people who love it here, who think this is the best place ever, who want to live here for their foreseeable future. I've always felt temporary and temporal, but I suppose that even I can still feel bereft for leaving the place I've been for the longest period of my adult life.

Maybe I'm scared about such a big change? Nervous--I'm sure I am. In general apparently I'm just plain emotional when I really think about it.

I'm starting to feel those "lasts" piling up around me. The last time I go to book club here, even though we'll keep in touch by email. The last time I see the group of friends that used to be real friends, in a Brooklyn apartment, even though I'll still see them online. The last time I go to the local library. The last time I take a photo of the skyline from our rooftop or the sunset from our window. The last time I wrestle with the shower nozzle switch that gunks up. The last time I drop by the Key Food across the street for something we forgot. Some of these things are stupid, but by virtue of being the last, I want to hold on to them and make them meaningful and deep.



People have been asking if we/I am excited for the move, and I'm sure I will be once it happens and we get out there. I think I'm a little overwhelmed at this reality of packing up our whole lives to leave everything. There are so many piles, so many boxes, so many memories.

I haven't been packing every day, partly because I've been busy with other things (and television), but partly because even the banality of moving hasn't made the shock of moving more real. We were talking late last night about how much we need to have done by when.

Our move out date is next Friday morning. I was saying we could just go out to dinner on Thursday night, since we probably will have packed or tossed most food-related things. That Thursday night will be our last night in New York. EVER. For ever, for real. We will never live here again. Our local places will still be there, but we won't. We can't randomly decide to go to our favorite pizza restaurant in the East Village or get some amazing black cherry mojitos at our favorite Cali-Mex spot in the Village. Those places will stay, but we won't. We'll visit, and we'll return to our old haunts, but things will have changed, and we will have changed, and it will all be so bittersweet.

2 comments:

rabi whitaker said...

as someone who moved every few years growing up, I totally identify with that weird preemptive feeling of loss. everything you've ever written about the city, though, and the kind of life you want for your family, makes it so clear that this move is going to be a brilliant change for you (even though I imagine it will be hard, and isolating, and sometimes sad at first). and I say that as one of those new yorkers who is pretty excited about the prospect of hauling my future kids around on the subway. :) you're going to find your real home!

rabi whitaker said...

as someone who moved every few years growing up, I totally identify with that weird preemptive feeling of loss. everything you've ever written about the city, though, and the kind of life you want for your family, makes it so clear that this move is going to be a brilliant change for you (even though I imagine it will be hard, and isolating, and sometimes sad at first). and I say that as one of those new yorkers who is pretty excited about the prospect of hauling my future kids around on the subway. :) you're going to find your real home!

(ps - I'm apparently the opposite of a robot, because these captchas are practically indecipherable to me :p)