Well, it’s that time. My semi-annual ritual of moving my 12 boxes of books (and everything else I own and love) is here yet again. This time, we’re moving to Georgia! And I’m so excited.
But me being me, I’m also pretty sad. I expected to be sad to leave my close proximity to my best sister/best friend, Anne. I expected to be sad to leave my lovely collection of friends who all happen to live in Brooklyn (ugh, so far away), and especially those special few. But I was totally blindsided by a sudden rush of tears today as I left the place I consider to be hell on earth- midtown Manhattan.
Why am I suddenly sad to leave a place I struggled against all year long?
New York City and I may not have gotten along too well, but even I can’t deny the magic I found here this year. In New York, I got to see Hamilton! In New York, I got to have almost weekly adventures with my sister. In New York, I got to get lost in Central Park with my best friend. In New York, I got be in the same room with Mindy Kaling, and Amy Poehler, and Aziz Ansari, and Lena Dunham. In New York, I drank too much in Brooklyn with my favorite friend. In New York, I found my wedding dress.
And Hoboken! I love my sweet Hoboken so very much. In Hoboken, my favorite little bookstore in the world opened up. In Hoboken, my parents and my new in-laws got to meet for the first time. In Hoboken, my sweet Warren proposed to me in my Little City. In Hoboken, I ran my first, like officially, fancy 5K. In Hoboken, I saw my first famous person in the wild at my regular grocery store (Anush from Master of None!). In Hoboken, I found the bravery to start a blog, to start a digital magazine, to leave a job that wasn’t for me to find a future that was.
Moving all the time doesn’t diminish the sting of it- you don’t get used to leaving. Because instead, you’ve gotten used to making home wherever you are, and so every time you leave behind a place full of moments loved dearly.
I’m so used to this moving thing. The longest I’ve ever lived in any one building as an adult is 18 months. The longest I’ve ever lived in any one city as an adult is four years and even that was split into two by Chicago. This is pretty standard for campaigners and actually not so bad compared to a lot of my friends.
When you move a lot, you learn to make little pockets of home wherever you go (thanks, Natalie Jean, for helping me name this habit). With continual moving, comes the ability to find comfort anywhere. New cities can feel like the loneliest places in the world, but every time you try a new one, you become braver and stronger and more compassionate. Every time you take a chance in a new place, you open up your world even more. You learn how to make yourself happy, how to stay yourself, how to seek out the things that matter most.
No one city feels like home to me and for that, I think I’m pretty lucky. Instead, the kinds of things that make me feel home are the most important things- the boy I bring with me each time, the puppy who helps me feel like I’m building a life even when it’s not a settled one, the books that have joined me through every challenge and every joy, the family that visits when I need them most, the friends who I can always find on gchat.
I’m excited to see what kind of home we’ll build in Georgia, and this time, I’m super lucky. Most of the work is done for me, because in Georgia, I’ll get to live in the same town as my parents and my aunt for the first time as an adult. In Georgia, I’ll have so many opportunities to fulfill my puppy’s wildest dreams. In Georgia, I’ll be a car ride away from my Nashville besties. In Georgia, I get to try my chance at a new way of living, at a new way or working. In Georgia, I get to plan a wedding and then share my new little home with everyone I love most.
I’ll miss a lot of things about New York, and so many about Hoboken, but that makes me the luckiest. Because now, when I come back every three months for my regular haircut (who are you kidding- you think I’m going to let some stranger cut my hair the year before my wedding?), I’ll have my little pockets of home waiting for me. I’ll see you soon, sweet seventh home of mine. You were so good to me.