“My father taught me that you can you read a hundred books on wisdom and write a hundred books on wisdom, but unless you apply what you learned then its only words on a page. Life is not lived with intentions, but action.”
― Shannon Alder
In the unlikely setting of a community college, gen ed history class, I got some of the best life advice I’ve ever had. My professor was an older gentleman who served in the army before walking the path of academia and becoming a professor. He also wrote a book, took part in local government, and traveled every summer.
He had a remarkable way of relating history to everyday, contemporary life. One day, he started talking about how his mindset in life is to always just go for it. Give things a try. His mindset was that if you don’t like it the results, oh well, at least you tried it out and found out for sure. He said that when he was a young man, he made up his mind to never be the older person who ends up saying “would have, could have, should have” about everything in life.
Considering I heard those lines from my very unhappy family a thousand times growing up, it was a message that spoke to me.
I’ve carried that mindset of giving anything and everything a try ever since.
Granted, it’s a lot easier said than done. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. But I have learned a lot more about myself, what I want out of my career, and what I want my life to be like from going through those successes and failures.
I’m nearly 27 and I’ve moved a grand total of ten times throughout my life. I’ve lived in New Jersey, Florida, Maryland, and now I’m finally heading to New York. This will be my eleventh move, but I’m hoping this will be a place long enough to slow my numbers down.
I started working in the city in 2019 and then I started grad school here in 2020. I’ve been a commuter for two years on the dot, so there isn’t exactly a huge reason why I’m suddenly making this leap. I’ve been lurking out in New Jersey within commuting range of the city, but I’m ready to say goodbye to that lifestyle.
I’m at a strange phase in my life where I really do need to contemplate the future.
“Because if you take a risk, you just might find what you’re looking for.”
― Susane Colasanti
Said simply, I’m reaching that bizarre stage of life where I’ve been working really hard with full-time jobs and side hustles for years. In a few more years, if all keeps going well, I might even be able to afford a (very small) house. I’ve only recently started saving and I am very far off, but it’s something I’ve got to start thinking about.
However, with my moving history, a mortgage sometimes looks more like a noose than something exciting. As much as I know it can be a very wise financial move, my partner and I haven’t managed to stay in one place for very long. With our history of crazy neighbors, or just the reality of my partner and me trying to balance our job changes and commutes, we’ve never done a full-year renewal on a lease.
This instability used to torture me. I always felt destabilized, decentralized, and out of place. However, I’m trying to change my perspective about that. While the logistics of moving always and life-changing always come with a degree of stress, I want to see it more like an experiment. I’m trying out different places and lifestyles.
So I’m exploring— and it’s time to try city living.
One of my bigger professional and personal explorations in life was moving to Maryland after I graduated college. I lived in a suburb called Owings Mills for nearly a year, then I lived in Baltimore for about a year.
But since I started working in the city in 2019, I’ve dreamed of actually living somewhere in the five boroughs. I’ve wanted to enjoy the city as something more than a commuter from NJ.
Baltimore certainly has its charms, but NYC is so massive and there’s so much to explore. I’ve had a decent taste of city living in the past in Baltimore, but I want to see what it’s like to live in Brooklyn.
I spent the last weekend apartment hunting and I was floored at how looking for an apartment in Brooklyn is so very different from looking anywhere out in suburbia.
My apartment hunting routine for Jersey and Maryland was pretty similar. But in Brooklyn, the very nature of how fast apartments appear, disappear is so very different. It happens in the blink of an eye. And how nearly every agent texts and day-of appointments seemed favored over scheduling in advance.
This leap feels like one of my more significant moves.
“There’s only one place I want to go and it’s to all the places I’ve never been.”
― Nikki rowe
After walking a horrifying 27.4 miles in three days and visiting nearly a dozen places, we found an apartment that was actually quite a steal. It’s an older building without a dishwasher, but I prefer handwashing dishes anyway, so a few missing features like that doesn’t bother me. It’s delightfully spacious and I can’t wait to move and really try to make the space my own.
This is a very personal post that probably feels more like your standard 90s blog rather than proper the long-form content of today, but this feels like something big in my life. It may not geographically be my biggest move yet, but it’s really a decision that is entirely my own. So many have my moves have been decided for me by unavoidable circumstances; it feels good for things to really be happening on my terms for once.
Logistics of finding a place aside, I’m going into this optimistic and with an open mind. Truth by told, I don’t know if living in Brooklyn will be as fulfilling as I hope it will be. However, if I don’t try it, I’ll fall into that trap of “would have, could have, should have” when I’m older. But if I give it a try now, at least I’ll have the experience and I’ll know for certain.