I am writing this from my childhood home, the home where I was literally born (home birth, it was the seventies), both regressing into my younger self—as one does—and in many ways more adult than ever.
Four months ago, I made a major decision. I ended a three year romantic relationship. And then, spurred by yet another rent increase, I ended an even longer, more complicated relationship—my fourteen year love affair with New York City. I hopped on a Bolt Bus and went house shopping in Baltimore. I admitted to myself that I was no longer on good terms with the city to which I moved (from Baltimore) to be a writer. It had given me so much—dear friends, writing community, exciting job opportunities—but it had taken something, too: my ability to be self-sufficient. Since I had moved to the city, I kissed these things goodbye: a savings account, lack of credit card debt, spending less than 50% of my take-home pay on housing. Just getting by was all-consuming, leaving no time or inspiration for what I had come there to do: write. I was exhausted. I was tired of being priced out of apartments I couldn’t really afford in the first place, every other year. I was tired of packing up and moving, and moving, and moving—further into Brooklyn each time. I wanted different things now. I wanted a room of my own. I wanted property. I wanted a home that I could grow old and wrinkly in. I wanted a yard for my anti-social dog (a rescue with fear aggression issues) to run around in and rooms for my cat to wander and stretch and purr while still keeping her distance from her nemesis, the aforementioned dog. I wanted life to be less of a daily struggle and more of a calm space of centeredness.
It’s funny how, once we make one major decision, others follow unbidden. On that Bolt Bus to Baltimore, while idling near Penn Station, thinking how clever I was, I logged in to Tinder, set the search radius to 1 mile, and attempted to ascertain if any of the men on my bus—specifically my attractive seat mate—were also on Tinder. Wouldn’t that be a funny story?
Funny story: I didn’t find any Tindermen on my Bolt Bus. But I did find the man who would become my future husband, a man who proposed to me one week after we met (or, more accurately, tindered). I almost didn’t click on his profile because he looked different in every picture (attractive in some, questionable in others); he almost didn’t click on mine because I had mentioned that I was from Cleveland (as was his most recent ex). But he had one picture which met my strict filters: he was holding up a fish, and seemed to be wearing a chef’s jacket. There were only 2 criteria that would garner a “yes” from me: men with cute dogs, and chefs. I was on a roll here, and in hyper-decisive mode. Rules were good. Narrowed focus was good. Later I asked him why he had clicked on my profile: “You looked happy. I thought I might like to be with someone that happy.”
So here I am, full circle: a new home owner, recently engaged, and newly motivated to delve back into the writing life (inspired by some serious online ladypower). Maybe the moral of my story is: do not be afraid to make bold decisions. Maybe there is no moral. The point is, I’m here. And here is a good place to be.