As the weather begins to warm, spring approaches, and the end of our lease draws near, SHL and I have agreed that we need to face the facts about moving. In reality, it is probably more myself that needs to face the facts, as it is more my uneasiness and fear of change than his that makes the reality of leaving our home feel difficult. It is in thinking about this next big change that I have come to realize that I am a creature of habit, though perhaps many of us are when we think about the things that make us feel comfortable, like setting up a home and living there for years to come. While I have only moved a few times in my life (over the last 12 years since I graduated from college I have lived in only 4 different apartments, not bad), my husband is somewhat of a vagabond. Before he met me he lived in Toronto and probably lived in over 8 different places in 8 years. So when it comes to moving, its old hat for him, and anxiety attack for me.
Not only is change hard, but making a change from something that you love is tough too. Let’s face it, we have a beautiful home together. Other than it being somewhat cramped now for 2 people (he moved in with me), and the too small kitchen (and OK, not enough closet space), we love our apartment. It has a cozy nook where our desk, computer, and built-in bookcase overflow, it gets a ton of sunlight, the view at night overlooking the Prudential and the Christian Science Center is amazing, we can walk to Whole Foods and Newbury Street, and we have things just where we like them.
But it’s not just the arrangement of the furniture or the spectacular view that makes my heart ache when I think about leaving here. It’s also because, when I think about my life taking a turn for the better, it was here in this apartment that it happened. When I left New York 4 years ago I had no idea if I could make Boston my home. In fact, during one of my “goodbye dinners” while sipping margaritas at my favorite Mexican restaurant in Manhattan, I remember telling my friends that I had to try Boston on for size, but perhaps I would return to New York if Boston didn’t “fit.” I was moving to Boston not to run away from my problems (I told myself), but to make a fresh start. And while my parents would be close by I was moving without a job, leaving friends behind, and facing many health issues. In fact, soon after I moved here I had to deal with painful kidney stones (there really are no other kind), brutal side effects to my eye after the cancer treatment, and then a month in bed because of my bad back. It was soon thereafter all of these things happened, as the last box was unpacked and the last piece of furniture purchased, that I wondered if I had made a terrible mistake coming to Boston. I was single and still thought about my ex-boyfriend frequently, even though right before my move I had decided that I needed a clean break from his (unhealthy) presence in my life. He still emailed me despite my wishes, and I still read but deleted his emails without a response.
Then one evening everything changed. I conducted a little “goodbye ceremony” and I got rid of my ex for good. It was about a month later that I met my husband, and from then on things weren’t always easy, but they most definitely changed for the better. I became employed at not one but two jobs, I reconnected with wonderful old friends in the area, and my health seemed to be getting better. And all of that happened here, in Boston, in our apartment. I fell in love with my husband while living in this home, and we’ve spent countless hours together here, making dinner, watching movies, adopting our two cats and bringing them home, planning our wedding, and literally doing a little dance when SHL’s green card finally arrived in the mail.
So now it is time to move on. Time to find a bigger place to cram those things into, time to save money so that we can someday buy a house, time to live somewhere a bit more quiet where we don’t fall asleep to the sound of sirens and college students wandering down the streets drunk on Wednesday nights.
So yes, Boston “fits.” It has fit, right here, in our cozy home in Back Bay. But what if it doesn’t fit anymore when we move?
I know we are supposed to be excited about change, about moving on, about opening that next chapter and seeing what great things may possibly lie ahead. But maybe, just for today, I’m going to take the time to run my hands over those marks on the wall that are probably the result of one of those aforementioned crazy cats (ahem, Riley), to really take in the view at night the way I sometimes forget to do, to stand in the spot where SHL and I practiced on repeat what our first dance as a married couple would look like for weeks before the wedding, and to remember that it was here, in this apartment in Boston, that everything changed.