“We just didn’t know what we wanted.”
My husband said this to me this weekend while we were hanging out on our couch. We realized this week would be the one year mark since we sold the house we lived in for three years, and decided to move into an apartment in the city. The main reason was his return to school to obtain a law degree, but in the months following, it sort of became our excuse to leave and find a place that we loved living.
Everything sounds like a fabulous idea when you don’t know what you want, exactly. Maybe people around you are telling you what you want, and it all seems so easy and so attainable. Until it’s all a bit out of control. I think that’s how my husband and I were feeling. We weren’t ready to make the decision between going to the beach and mowing the lawn. Watching all our hard-earned salary swallowed by a house that still needed more work, a train ticket with a less than reliable commute, and our time just ticking away. (Plus all our friends lived so far away. It was lonely.)
It would have been easy to stay and suck it up. Definitely. Maybe this was just a rut and in a few months or a year, we would have felt more settled or… something. But instead we decided to pack up our house, sell a lot of our belongings, store even more of them, and leave the house that both sets of parents had put so much time into to make it livable for us. I always liked the idea of that legacy for our home. Cleaned and disinfected and loved by our family as much as us, and in ways, that was the hardest detail to part with.
So many people think that young adult books don’t relate to real life. But I think they do so much, especially in this situation. So many times you meet characters who are unhappy with a part of their lives and just decide to stick it out. Maybe that works for them. Other times, characters take a chance, a huge leap because it’s the right time, because they can, or because they have no choice.
It’s been a year of learning how to be flexible when the husband’s schedule is ever-changing, finally figuring out how to budget (I am still not good at this), a lot of loss (oh the loss), and a lot less TV. (We only have one.) But you know what? This weekend and the weekend before I have been brimming with so much happiness. So happy to be on this adventure with my husband, knowing we made this decision ourselves, and positive that it was the very best move we could make.
When you’ve been with someone for 8 years or so, it’s difficult to believe that they could surprise you time and time again. But I have been just elated with my husband and his dedication to school and this sense of curiosity I don’t remember him having as much when we started dating. He wants to spend time outside, find new places to eat, look at new parks, and as long as it’s a subway away, all of these possibilities are right at our fingertips.
Even though I miss the space from our house or the backyard or even the nearby Target, I would not trade this new chapter for anything. Not only are we happier and inching closer to the lives we want for ourselves, but I know it’s okay if I don’t always make the right decision the first time around. There are ways to make things better, even if it takes some work to get there. You just have to go for it.
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(Note on the pictures: I took them this weekend at a park in Long Island City overlooking Manhattan.)