Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Thirty Day Countdown to Apartment Liberation Begins

I just took a huge step forward today and gave my thirty days notice to my apartment management company. This is not as great as giving notice to the firm would be by any stretch of the imagination but it's one step closer to extricating myself from Law Firm Life ("LFL"), which is my # 1 goal. Currently, I'm in a beautiful, though not extravagant, alcove studio in Midtown East Manhattan that costs $2,000. Pretty hilarious or frightening that after one year and a half in New York I can now refer to paying $2,000 for rent as "not extravagant." Everything's relative. Don't get me wrong, when I stop to really ponder the tidal wave of dollars crashing through my fingers going to the Jack Parker Management Company I want to start retching.

That's why, a few months after I moved in I simply stopped thinking about my exorbitant rent (which was $1,350 MORE than I had paid for a bigger apartment in Michigan!). There was nothing I could do then, short of breaking my lease and eating $4,000 in security payments, so there was no point in torturing myself. Though I am unquestionaby an "over-thinker" even I know that there are some times when you need to wall yourself off as much as possible from negative realities you can't change. And the reality is that it was not until recently that I could handle the pressures of even thinking about moving.

Last year, there was simply no time because of the Firm. No time to make dinner, or go to they gym, let alone uproot my whole life, and spend hours apartment hunting and packing, and then unpacking. At the time, I could not imagine trading my 7 minute walk to work for a subway commute that I was positive would have forced me to give up at least 1 or 2 hours of sacred and much coveted sleep each night. I did not want to be living the life I was living, but mentally, just the idea of making a change like moving seemed too exhausting and too much too bear. And I think at that time it was. I was a bit depressed back then, and I'm still struggling with that, but I'm getting better.

Instead of changing and instead of berating myself for living my LFL (complete with fancy apartment), I decided to enjoy it while I had it. An excellent decision in retrospect. With some initial reticence, I hired a housekeeper and had my first experience feeling the delicious and calming joy of coming home to an utterly immaculate apartment. Those days were glorious. There is nothing better then walking into a pristine space where everything is arranged just so with care. I would feel like I was walking into a room in a hotel for the first time and delightedly look around for all of the little surprises the room held. It was so much fun.

In those first few moments coming home and appreciating how peaceful the space felt now that everything was tidied up and tucked away, I would swear to keep everything organized until the next time my housekeeper was to arrive. I would promise myself that I would do the dishes each day, that I would hang up all my clothes after taking them off at the end of the day, and that I would absolutely not allow days of junk mail and bills to pile up on my kitchen table. But alas. All too often, within just a day or so, I would somehow single-handedly destroy the beauty of the place as I fell into the weekly grind and got lazy. But I still appreciated even those brief moments, because I knew that everything I was going through last year would have been so much worse if I had been living somewhere else. Somewhere less pretty, less calming, farther away, with a smaller kitchen and smaller floor space, where I wouldn't have had even the possibility of being able to do pilates and yoga or to cook a nice meal to motivate me.

But now things have changed. Or I should say, they are starting to change. Or better yet, I am starting to change them. In large part due to therapy, I've been getting my shit together and I've started to make positive changes in my life. I've been going to the gym, not quite regularly yet, but just a bit more than before. I've started doing yoga again, now and then (I'm building up to creating a regular work-out schedule -- one of my life aspirations which has so far proved elusive), which is pretty much essential for me. It's one of the few things that without fail calms me down and leaves me with this feeling of inner peace. I've been applying to jobs, and I've been getting my emotional life in order. And now, in part because of all the work I've been doing, and in part because I have more sources of support in my life, I have reached the point where I'm ready to uproot my little existence and give up the one thing that kept me sane and consistently comforted me last year -- my over-priced but beautiful, spacious, alcove studio with a whole wall of windows that look out onto Midtown Manhattan and give me a perfect view of the Empire State Building.

It's scary, but it's progress. It's a sign of emotional progress and it's also practical progress towards putting myself in a position where I can leave my job and ultimately de-stress my life. I guess that's the ultimate goal: to create a happy life which is as de-stressed as possible, that is filled with happiness and contentment, things that build you up instead of wearing you down. I guess this is scary in part because I know I'm giving up the one thing that has been a de-stressor this past year (though the money I was spending on it was of course a larger stressor, so it's a mixed bag), and I hope that in giving it up I am making a smart decision that will ultimately create a more de-stressed existence for myself. I think that's that case, and I'm crossing my fingers.

March is going to be a doozy. What with packing and sorting, sending stuff to goodwill, selling stuff on Craig's List. Yikes. And then of course I need to chose a Storage Place, potentially hire movers, and do all manner of things that I can't even think about right now. If anyone has moving tips, send them my way. For now, I'm just going to be psyched that I took this one step forward in my life, and towards getting the hell out of this job. I'm actually looking forward to living life non-lawyer-New-York-style. Crowded and Cozy.


Wood said...

HOLD ON! did I miss something because I was reading too quickly because I was so eager to get to the end and figure out where you're moving -- did you not say or do you not know (or did I miss it?)??????

Please elaborate.

Wood said...

Oh, and congrats, of course. I'm really very proud of you.

Buttercup said...

That could easily be the subject of a whole other post. The plan that is taking shape as we speak is that I'm going to move in with Raj temporarily... as in, for as long as we like. We shall see.

Wood said...

Wow! Now that IS news.