NYC and the Space Conundrum

In 2010, not too long after I graduated from college, I broke up with my boyfriend of 5 years (no I shouldn’t have dated someone all through college, that was dumb) and moved into my grandmother’s house. She had moved to an assisted living facility and so, kindly, offered her home to me so I could save some money and not have to live with my parents.

It was the first time I lived alone. Being newly single, it was an especially incredible experience. (1) No one told me what to do. (2) No one saw me wander around the house naked. (3) No one was there to ask me why I was just sitting on the back porch doing apparently nothing (I’m high and thinking, leave me alone). (4) No one could give me shit for putting half and half in my cereal when I ran out of milk. 

It was a beautiful time.

But it was short lived. In law school I had two roommates, and when I moved to Brooklyn I had three roommates and then two room mates and then one roommate (future husband). Let’s call him FH. When FH and I moved in together in October, we picked a cozy 500 sf alcove studio in Brooklyn. (What could go wrong!? We’ll save money!)

A lot can and did go wrong. Because as I’ve suspected for a long time, since those golden days of 2010…I need space. I just hadn’t realized how much I needed it until I was sharing three rooms with a partner. 

We lived in that little hovel in Brooklyn for 8 months. It was hot in there and it was hard and we were more stressed than we knew.

 And then we saw an apartment in a beautiful little town in NJ, 15 miles outside of the city (yes, to my surprise there are beautiful parts of New Jersey). And without much thinking or planning we pulled the trigger. We moved in a month ago. It’s the best decision we’ve made, aside from choosing each other maybe. We were in the car the other day (we have a car now which is also incredible) and FH looked at me and said, “this past month has been the best month of my life.”
For me too. And we have space to thank at least in part for that. We have our second bedroom to thank, our front and back porch to thank. Space is my savior. I had no idea how much I needed this lovely goddess of airiness and light.

You probably need space too. Especially if you are what I hope you are: an independent, thoughtful person who enjoys spending time with him/herself. When you make the incredibly overwhelmingly important decision to marry another person, there will probably be a lot of feelings. There will probably be fights, while you and your beloved navigate what it means to share your lives.

You might want to revisit your relationship with space. You might need space to vent. Space to sit in silence. Space to retreat to, space to do your weird exercises in, space for weeping, space for thinking. I think better when FH is not in the room because FH takes all my thoughts when we’re together: he is utterly captivating. Which is wonderful for me and our relationship, but sometimes you need a room to yourself. No, you don’t have to write a novel in there. You do whatever you want in there. In fact, even if you’re not using it, just knowing it exists will make your day-to-day more spacious.

And ultimately, all this a roundabout way to say, we no longer live in Brooklyn. I love Brooklyn but she is an expensive mess. And we are not rich people and we could not have the things we very much needed and have Brooklyn too. So to the suburbs we have trekked…so far, so spacey, so good.

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