For me, 10 marks the number of years that I have now lived in New York City. Not including my hometown, I have lived in NYC longer than any other place (and I have moved often, or atleast I used to). It's tough to describe New York City. It's busy, fast, noisy, tough... it can be your worst nightmare. But in the midst of all the craziness of this city you can also find peace, kindness, opportunities... it can be your best friend.
10 years ago I moved to NYC from Virginia. There really was no particular reason to move to NYC, it was more of a why not? The why not was a strong pull though. It required the selling of a house and a car and multiple yard sales and still having to move a quarter of my possessions into a storage unit because you can't fit a 2000 square foot home with land into a 1200 square foot apartment with a terrace.
In these 10 years, NYC has been both my worst nightmare and my best friend. And if I could go back in time and make the decision to move here or not all over again, I am not sure what I would choose. What I am sure of is that NYC would never have become my best friend if it had not allowed my greatest nightmare to come first.
Much of my story could have been written and shared 4 years ago. At that time, it seemed to me that it was a good ending place. But, did you know that the number 10 symbolizes the completion of a cycle? And waiting to look back on my life over the past 10 years (rather than 6) makes such a remarkable difference.
10 years ago I did not move here alone as my single narration may have implied from above. I moved here with a family. Dale and I had been married for nearly 5 years, we had 2 dogs (Argyle and Skye), and I was about 10 weeks pregnant when we moved into our Brooklyn apartment. Little did
We never found out if it was the stress of the move or if it was genetic, or just not meant to be, but we had a miscarriage two weeks after moving here. Two years later though, we were blessed with Ewan. Ewan was only 20 months old when Dale left us. His death was unfathomable and it left Ewan and myself in a city with no family and really no friends. Yet, I chose to stay. More than a rational explanation, I stayed on a gut feeling. A year after Dale's death, our older dog Argyle died. He wasn't old, he had a tumor that ruptured and had to be put down. Less than a year later, our other dog Skye became ill as well. Sadly, she was put down on the same day that my grandmother passed away.
Hopefully both pet lovers and not can understand how a pet becomes not only a part of your family, but they are actually a member. Dale and I weren't certain that we wanted children and for 8 years prior to having Ewan, those dogs took the place of a human child. They were our companions that moved from place to place with us and were a part of our adventures, our lives. So when Skye died in 2013, she marked the end of an era. Six years after moving to NYC, I was the only one left of the original five. I had with me the most important addition to our family, but as a baby of only 20 months, he knew very little of the family that
With the end of the era six years ago, if I would have stopped and written this story, it would have been one of only sadness and grief, with the only exception being Ewan. But by letting the cycle run and sharing my tale of NYC at ten years, I have allowed so many more experiences, characters, and stories to be added on. The main one being of course John, whom I did not meet until November of 2013.
It's funny how, if given the chance, the world balances itself out. I can see that more clearly now, especially since I have given time and my life a chance to play out. Although I don't believe that living in NYC helped, it was not the cause of my nightmare. However, I do have NYC to thank for being a friend during the darkest times. One thing that I was always sure of in those early days after Dale's death, was that everything that I needed was always right there... a home, a job, a therapist, a babysitter, a day care center, a friend, John, and now a new family. I am even writing this post now while I should be packing for
So as this post ends and I move on into the 11th year (now as an official New Yorker, according to Carrie Bradshaw) of living in NYC, I cannot end it thinking that what started off as a tragic, sad, and depressing tale is ending on a happy note. Because, my life has never been sad, tragic, or depressing. My life... is a life. Life is full of ups and downs. It is full of wonder and mystery. It is full of hardships and heartaches. It is full of all things amazing. It is a cycle that does not end, until life itself is over.
So whether you look back on your life a week from now, a year, 10 years, or longer... the important thing is to enjoy the small moments in the every day of life because you just don't know how much time you or those around you will have. 10 years goes fast, but it is a long time and so much can happen. I don't know what the next 10 years hold for me. But I do know that that there will be sad goodbyes. I know that there will be the ups and downs (of Ewan's teenage years). I know there will be worry and confusion. I know that there will be unbelievable joys and there will be awe. I know that I don't want to miss a single moment.