Moving Back to Move Forward
I never went away to college. The longest I had lived away from home was for six months in Virginia and that doesn’t count because it was in a hospital. I lived in New York for twenty seven years, the last six spent mostly in Brooklyn, and by the end of that time I felt so beaten down by the city that I could barely function. My husband, who is from New Hampshire, had lived in the city for about ten years and he was even more fed up with New York than I was. We felt trapped, we were miserable, and we knew we had to do whatever it took to get out.
For about three years we traveled around to different towns trying to plan our escape and find our new home. Every place we went in search of a new beginning felt so wrong. We knew that for Ben the most logical next step would be Los Angeles but we had, like so many New Yorker's do, an uninformed illogical hate for a city we barely knew.
On our one year wedding anniversary we planned a trip to San Francisco and at the last minute we decided to add in a road trip to LA. The last time we had done this we ended up spending two days with no car access in a motel in the middle of the Los Angeles version of Times Square. It was awful and totally painted our view of the city.
With Ben’s career path becoming more clear we knew we needed to give LA a second shot. We had done our research this time. Finding neighborhoods and places that would seemingly fit the lives we saw for ourselves and because of this, as soon as we arrived we both knew that we had found home.
We were in love. It was the exact feeling we had been looking to ignite in us on all of those trips before. By the time we left we knew 100000% this was where we wanted to live. It took a few years and a lot of sacrifice before the official move happened. We even sublet a place out here for a month to test it out and make sure. We were sure, we were always sure, shit just had to line up in order to make it happen, and thank God eventually it did.
Everything happened really quickly once we got the go ahead for the move. We found a guest house in Silver Lake in our budget, which seemed nearly impossible. On my third day out here I got a job that I was not always appreciative of, but taught me so much and brought so many incredible people into my life. And after years of struggling, Ben’s career finally started to take off.
There were so many ups and downs. Seemingly even more so than in New York, but no matter how hard shit got, it never got as hard as it did back East. There is something to be said about a beautiful environment and good weather all year round.
In April of 2015 I quit my job. It was a huge leap of faith. At the time Ben had been unemployed for six months after having been laid off from the job that got us out here. Regardless, both of us knew that for the sake of my sanity and our relationship I had to leave my job and we had to live on trust for a bit.
It is moments like these when I am reminded of the Universe’s innate ability to have our backs when we take big chances. Within a week of me quitting Ben got hired at Buzzfeed. The day after he got hired he received a notice from unemployment along with a check. It was his last one. We were under the notion that he still had a month left and it was the main reason why we felt somewhat comfortable with me quitting. Thank fucking God that Buzzfeed showed up when it did. I one million percent believe it happened because we were brave enough to take the leaps we took without allowing our trust that somehow everything would work out to waver.
Ben and I were certain that we would live in Los Angeles if not forever than for a really long time. We had not even a single ounce of desire to move back to New York. It was not even a thought in our heads. This city embraced us with its love and its warmth and showed us that we were capable of creating new lives in a new environment without any support except for the support of each other. Neither of us have ever felt love for a place more than we have for LA. Los Angeles has been beyond good for us and to us.
But something happened soon after I quit my job. While Ben was thriving in his career more than ever, I started to flounder. For the life of me I could not find a job. I was newly in school to become a health coach, but that seemed like ages from now and I couldn’t wrap my head around how I would turn that into a viable career. I had started writing another book(s) but again I had no idea how to go about turning that into immediate money.
Then my body started speaking to me, or rather screaming at me, that I wasn’t listening to what it needed. For over a year my pelvis would get thrown out almost every month around my period. It would leave me bedridden and unable to walk for six days out of the month. I thought that by leaving my job I would be able to relieve some stress and my body would start to heal. But it only continued to get worse. It became abundantly clear that even if I did get a job, physically I couldn’t handle one. I couldn’t sit in a regular chair for more than twenty minutes at a time and I couldn’t stand for more than ten.
One thing I learned during my last foray of unemployment was that it is imperative to have something that will get you out of the house at least once a week. For most of the time that I worked at my last job I also did work study at my yoga home, Yoga at the Raven. When I quit my job I made sure to take on more shifts at the Raven. I knew it would keep me sane to have structure and responsibility outside of myself. Also, I knew how good it would be for me to spend my time in a place that I loved so much that loved me back. Plus I could practice whenever I wanted.
Before long it became clear that yoga was worsening my problem. My teachers, who are all incredible wizards of the body, did their best to help me modify for what I needed. But it didn’t work. I would feel great for a couple of days and then back to being in excruciating pain and unable to move again. My pelvis started to go out while I was in class. I was heartbroken, yoga had been my constant and my medicine and my love for the last five years, but I had to listen, I had to stop.
Despite the end of my practice I still held on to my job at the Raven. I may not have been able to do yoga, but I still wanted to be in that environment and I still needed a reason to get out of my house. But as my back/pelvis got worse it became harder and harder to sit in the chair behind the desk. I was, at this point, working for free and I was leaving my shift in more pain every time. I had to let it go. It was my one remaining connection to Los Angeles (outside of people), and it like everything else was shedding itself from my life.
At this point I had also gotten a part time job as an assistant to the owner of another Yoga company. Thankfully it was work that I was mostly able to do remotely. That combined with school and my writing projects I was busier than ever, but it was all work I could do from anywhere and mostly was doing from my couch.
I quickly started to get stir crazy and feel the ramifications of not having any money. The only time I was leaving the house was to get a quick coffee with a friend or to go to my next medical appointment. My life began to center around what doctor I was going to and what MRI I was getting next. I was depressed and confused and I wanted to move out of our little magic guest house. I needed a shake up. Something new to get me out of this rut. And then the opportunity showed up for Ben to be transferred to NY.
At first we both thought immediately, “no fucking way.” We loved LA. We worked so hard to get out to Los Angeles. Yeah, shit was really hard for me at the moment, but I wanted it to work and I wanted it to work here. And then something started to happen. The thought of New York kept creeping back. The pain of missing our family and friends started to really sink in and this time we couldn’t shake it off. The realization that our parents were only getting older and that Ben’s grandparents were only getting sicker became real. And then the big one. We wanted to start a family. I, lady who declared she never wanted to have children the same way I declared I never wanted to get married, got the baby bug BAD and Ben was right there with me.
The more we talked about having a kid the more we realized we didn’t want to do it out here. I also knew that if I really wanted to get pregnant, then I really needed to heal my back and pelvis. I had already started to get stronger thanks to my incredible Physical Therapists and my commitment to doing anything and everything necessary in order to heal both physically and emotionally. I knew deep down though that if I were to get pregnant I was going to need a lot of support, I was going to need my family, and most importantly I was going to need my mom.
I am lucky to have an amazing mom, but I am extra lucky to have a healer and Nurse Practitioner of Gynecology as a mom. She is well connected in all areas of the vagina and womanhood and I was going to need her support like never before if I was really serious about going down this new path.
Let me make it clear that I am not currently pregnant nor am I ready to get pregnant yet. I still have a lot more healing to do in order to ensure the healthiest pregnancy and birth I can have. But a large part of me taking my healing so seriously has to do with the fact that I want to get pregnant sometime in the near future. At the very least I want the possibility to get pregnant to be a reality.
I no longer want my fears or injuries to be holding me back, especially not in this area. I am stronger than I was even just a couple of months ago and I am so confident that I WILL heal and be strong enough to carry a child and be a good mom.
Part of realizing that we wanted to start a family came with knowing that not only did we not want to do it 3,000 miles away from the people who we love, we also did not want to do it in New York City. This goes two fold. Yes, we didn’t want to raise a kid in the city, but mainly we didn’t want to go back to living there.
We had finally gotten out and we still hadn’t gotten over how miserable living in the city had made us. The idea of moving back to Brooklyn was the most unappealing thing we could think of. I love Brooklyn, I love NYC, but as a place to visit not to live. I am done making blanket statements with the word “never” in it, but I honestly don’t think we will ever want to live in the city again. Who knows though, if there is one thing this experience has taught me it’s that things change.
Before we made the decision to officially move back, my mom told me about this fantasy she had about living a more minimal life and moving into the newly redone basement apartment of her house, while Ben and I lived upstairs. At first I thought she was crazy. I thought no way would she ever want to give up her house and live in the basement. But then the thought kept creeping back into my head the same way moving back to NY did.
I love my mom’s house. I always have. And every time we would come back to visit I would have this strange thought that maybe Ben and I would someday make that house our own. I don’t know why I thought it, but I did.
My mom offering us her home solidified our decision to move back. We would be able to pay her cheaper rent and get our feet back on the ground financially. I would be given the room and support and connections I needed to grow my health coaching business and writing career. Plus she lives walking distance to the train, making the commute so much easier for Ben and the route to my friends and the city so much easier for me.
My mom will not be moving into the basement, because the last time we were there we realized how ridiculously crazy that would make her. But she has made so much space for us to put our own touch on her house and make it somewhat ours. Not to mention all of the remodeling she has done in preparation for us.
We are going back to New York with fresh eyes and hearts. We will have a car and career paths and some financial stability. A lot of times we have to keep reminding ourselves of all of these things, because in all honesty leaving this magic land and moving back to NY, to long island none the less, is still really scary. Even if it is the right move.
Los Angeles has taught us so much, including the importance of family. We have grown into adults here and even though we have only lived here for about three years it will always be part home to us. We are excited and ready to move back. It is the right decision and we are a million percent sure of that. With that said we are equally heartbroken to be leaving LA.
It feels weird to be in this balance of feelings. For the first time we aren’t running away from something we don't want but instead running towards something we do. We are moving back in order to move forward and it is crazy and surreal and amazing and sad.
It should be mentioned that we really owe a huge thank you to one person for literally all of this, the move to LA, the job that got Ben out here, the job at Buzzfeed, and now this NY transfer. Ben's childhood friend Nick Fabiano has been real good to him, to us. So, thank you Nick! I honestly don't know how we would have manifested all of this without you.