I didn’t know I was in a rut. I didn’t know that somehow, without me noticing, I had fallen into one. But maybe I did. Maybe on some level that was the reason I had decided to put my blog and newsletter on hiatus last February and it has taken me this long to bring it back.
I don’t know. But what I do know is that looking back I am certain the Universe decided it was time to push me out of it and set off a series of events starting with the phone call I got last March that the apartment I had been living in for the last twenty-two years was up for sale.
I didn’t panic. The market in New York was soft. There was the possibility an investor would buy and a responsible tenant would be part of the deal. Plus, there were always apartments for rent in my building. I knew everyone. Somehow it would all work out.
The sad state of apartment hunting in New York.
But that is not what happened. The apartment sold quickly. I had to be out by the end of July. The comparable apartments in my building were literally asking $700-$1500 more than what I was paying which made it unaffordable for me.
If you have ever had to look for an apartment in Manhattan, it is one of the most depressing things you can ever do. It’s even more depressing given the current glut of high-end luxury condos that have sprung up in recent years. Combine that with having to literally go through twenty-two years of my life and start tossing and you can understand why the last thing on my mind was turning out a free newsletter every week.
Everything I wanted to write about had nothing to do with what one had come to expect from me here. (more on that here)
I started to realize I had unknowingly fallen into a rut as I began to Marie Kondo my life. But I wasn’t quite ready to admit it. After all, who wants to own up to the fact that somehow they had let themselves fall down the rabbit hole of a rut. Especially me, the one who likes to help to push people out of their comfort zones.
While I might not have been saying it out loud, the rut was revealing itself with every old picture I uncovered in a drawer, every piece of clothing that was earmarked for the donation pile and every giant dust ball I uncovered as furniture that had not been moved in years made its way out of my home.
Leaving home without a new one.
While I had not moved since 1997, prior to that I moved a lot. Nine times to be exact. Each time I knew my new home was mine the minute I walked in. There is a feeling you get that says, this I can come home to.
I wasn’t getting that feeling with any of my depressing options and time was running out. I looked at my calendar and saw I really only needed to be in New York a handful of days in August. That was when I called up the folks at Oz Moving and made arrangements to put my stuff in storage.
My life as a nomad.
The routine of my life in my Upper West Side bubble had been turned upside down. Each day suddenly had a different rhythm to it. Everywhere I went was new and an adventure. I, literally and figuratively, was free of the cobwebs that had been holding me in place.
How I wound up in Jersey City.
One of my good friends who had been living in Hoboken had been gently suggesting I consider Jersey City. If you know me, I am the consummate city girl. I dreamed of living in Manhattan when I was growing up in Queens and had been living that dream for two decades. Jersey was …well …Jersey. Yes, I had graduated from Rider College in New Jersey and spent many wonderful summers frolicking in Avalon, New Jersey when I lived in Philly… but Jersey. Oy.
Still I had to consider all options. So one sunny morning after crashing in my friend’s spare bedroom, I checked out a building in the Exchange Place section of Jersey City and just like that I walked into an apartment and got that feeling I had been looking for. THIS I could call home.
Of course, it wasn’t as easy as that. I still had to convince myself that I could really trade in my New York State drivers license for one that said New Jersey.
It turned out it didn’t take as much convincing as I would have thought. I would save money on rent, live in a beautiful building with lots of light, two blocks from the Hudson River and three from a PATH train that was one stop under the Hudson to the World Trade Center.
The view from here.
Letting go of my old apartment, the neighborhood and so much stuff that literally would not fit in my slightly smaller space was not easy, but it was necessary. I was in a rut and I didn’t know it until I was out of it. Now, not only do I get to see Manhattan every day with fresh eyes, I see everything from a new vantage point.
I got a new attitude.
I could not have anticipated the chain of events that would have taken me out of my rut – or that I would be writing this from my kitchen counter in Jersey City. But one thing I am sure of – when you are in a place in your life that is not right for you and you are not doing anything about it, the Universe just might give you the kick in the pants to force you to do something about it.
Last year at this time, I was in a rut. Now, just in time for a brand new decade, instead of feeling worn and tired, I feel invigorated and renewed and ready to resume my blogs and weekly newsletter – with a slightly different and refreshed twist.
This article originally appeared on joannetombrakos.com