For the past three years, Christmastime is a time for packing, this one included. In 2011, we were packing to move back to Purdue. In 2012, we were packing to move home and then to New York shortly thereafter. This year, we're moving again.
I don't mind all of the moving much. It ends up being a sort of cleanse every year. We go through our stuff and purge so much excess. "Do we need this many candleholders?" And "When's the last time you actually wore that?" If we don't use it, it's gone. We sell what we can and give the rest to Goodwill. We're always left with only the things that we need.
The important things - our memories, lessons learned, and the friendships we made - all of that will come along for the ride.
We spent most of the first year of our married life together in a new place, halfway across the country, all by ourselves. We struggled to find an apartment, struggled to find jobs, struggled to pay rent, and struggled to make it all work. In the midst of everything, we learned so much. About each other, us, what we want.
We've got some big changes coming up – more on that later. But for now, I'd like to take a minute to reflect on the past year of our life together. I'd have to say that I'm a pretty private person. Sharing isn't something that comes naturally to me, but here goes.
Moved out from college.
Moved to Brooklyn.
Got a job.
Fell in love with sushi.
Lost a job.
Started a food blog.
Cut off 11 inches of my hair so I could pay rent.
Interviewed for a job the next day. [New York has a funny way of throwing all of your comfort zones out the window.]
Got my first full-time job [the one I interviewed for with my new buzz cut].
Stayed up until 6am more times than I have in the first 22 years of my life combined.
Hosted both of our families for New York visits.
Painted our kitchen cabinets bright turquoise.
Sunbathed on my Brooklyn rooftop.
Watched the sunset over manhattan from my Brooklyn rooftop.
Became friends with some of the best people on the planet. [Dont believe what they say. People in New York are not jerks.]
Took a bus to Philadelphia to catch a plane home for the 4th of July.
Got another tattoo.
Quit my first full-time job.
Walked through Downtown Brooklyn to peep in at people’s Christmas trees.
Listened to a spontaneous rooftop serenade from a lone trumpeter.
In the past year, we've done a lot of living. We've made some incredible new friends. We've come within dollars of being completely broke. We've found favorite restaurants and shops. We've stayed up to see the sunrise and chased it down with bloody marys at brunch. We've grown this food blog into our baby. We've survived. We've learned.
Just like getting over an ex or cutting ties with a friend that’s no good for you, it's time to move on from this city. I fell in love with her and I was entranced from that moment on. We moved here for the summer of our lives in 2011 and went home for a short visit that August. Then we postponed senior semester and came back here for another 2 months. We gave it up for a while and went home to finish school and get married.
It's true what they say about love being blind. I was blind to the impracticality, improbability, and ill fit of this place. Despite trying it twice, I still wanted to come back for more. I was caught up in the idea of New York. I was caught up in everything New York promises. I couldn't see everything that it was lacking.
Sometimes things just fit. Like Clark and I. We've always belonged. Some things take a little more work. More trial and error to get it right. It's only been a year since we moved, but we know we don't belong here. We know we don't belong in Indiana either. Two places down; the rest of the world to go. It's going to take trying new places and plenty more wrong fits before we find what's right for us.
Sustainability is key. And this lifestyle was not sustainable. It kept us putting things off. Chasing our tails to get ahead. And we never will here. $1200 rent isn't sustainable. 2 hours of commuting isn't sustainable. Hating my job isn't sustainable. Now that we've learned what doesn't work, we can move on and try to figure out what does.
Thanks for listening. You know, that's probably half of why I love The Fitchen. It gives me a place to dump my thoughts and feelings. Instead of keeping them inside where everything is safe, this gives me a place to put it all out in the open. And sometimes I need that [even more than I need a drink like this].
So we're heading back to Indiana to take care of some unfinished business. We've already got a plan for what's next and now we'll make it happen. Our bed is gone, along with the dresser and storage units: sold! Whatever’s left will be loaded up soon. This 13-hour drive that we’ve got ahead of us is the beginning of another adventure in what already has been and will continue to be one hell of a ride.
Michael Buble's Christmas album is playing and I'm staring at a stack of boxes in my empty apartment, through smiling, teary eyes. We’re eating our last can of Trader Joe's split pea soup and finishing off this batch of bubbly French 75s. What a year it has been. I’m raising a glass to 2013 and my next will be to 2014. Cheers.