Nine years ago today, I woke up surrounded by boxes, the sound of my kittens chasing each other up and down the length of my new apartment.
I’d moved in on December 30th, surely one of the worst times of year to move. I got lucky, though: no snow, no ice, a brilliantly sunny day. And the move went super smoothly. I’d hired a real company for the first time, not 1) a man-with-a-van (though that nice Russian van-man who’d helped me three moves prior had been great), or 2) a fly-by-night mover who uses 20 rolls of tape to “secure” your already taped boxes and charges you double the normal price for each one … and still manages to break stuff getting your boxes into your new space. No. I’d hired a for-real mover. And the difference was absolute. I’d never had such a stress-free move.
Still, when they left, I just sat on my bed staring. So many boxes. And only two days before I had to be back at work. And where were my clothes?
But then I woke up on New Year’s Eve. Yes, surrounded by boxes, but so relieved. I was in a space so much bigger than my old apartment, so much more like a home than my old apartment. I was in a place with all of my things — unlike having most of my furniture in storage for the whole time I’d lived in my old apartment. Yes, it was a mess, and I had a lot of box-living to do until I sorted it all out, but it felt good. I woke up smiling.
Nine years is a long time for me to live somewhere. A LONG time. When I first moved to New York, I was moving pretty much every year. Really. I lived in one apartment only six months … and that was 5½ months too long — it was a terrible place! That year-after-year pulling up of stakes meant that I never really unpacked because I knew I was probably going to move again in a short while, so what would be the point? That’s a way to make your whole life feel impermanent. And, while there’s probably something spiritual and meaningful about that, it’s also a lousy way to live. For me, anyway.
Today, my kittens, are 9½-year-old cats. I have added new furniture to the beloved pieces I took out of storage. I’ve added more bookshelves. I’ve set up my sewing table. I’ve framed (some) pictures and put them on (some of) the walls. I’ve gotten to know neighbors. I’ve settled in. I live here. And there aren’t a lot of things that could make me happier.
I’m saying goodbye to 2016 remembering my arrival in my cozy abode and looking forward to a deep dive into my writing and other creativities in 2017. Get ready for #52essays2017! I hope you’ll all join me!