Good morning to you. So. On October 29, 2018, I moved out of my cramped sort-of two bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side, where I raised my daughter, to a proper two bedroom apartment in Stuytown, it’s own ecosystem within the city of New York. It’s been a growing pain. Living on the far east side of Manhattan, being in this new neighborhood, further away from the subway system than ever before, although quite near the bus lines. Feeling isolated, in a building filled with people, so few who make eye contact, or are friendly, so many with dogs, dogs who are not dog-friendly. Being so very far away from my friends, friends who are my support system, who watched my dog, whose homes I popped over for a quick hello and goodbye. And of course, living semi-on my own, with my daughter now in college, home for four months in the summer and a smattering of weeks here and there, but really, in this final transitional phase of living alone again, as I had done for most of my twenties and thirties, that pervasive loneliness ever present, then and now. Oh, this move was necessary; while I loved being on the Upper West Side, its wide avenues and cozy tree-lined streets, its neighborhood feel, the proximity to the parks, I could no longer rationally justify the rent I was paying, considering my chronic unemployment, not enough to remain in that apartment. There is no doubt had I landed a job in the month of September 2018, I would have cancelled the movers and called the landlord and said, “Wait! I’m staying!” Alas, I did not, even though I was up for something that would have made my life as I had known it: stable. I moved to Stuytown for economic reasons, humiliating in its scope, reckoning with the burden of ageism. Yet, Stuytown afforded the opportunity to remain in the city. This apartment I am in? It’s the happiest I’ve been within a home I’ve created. I’m still reluctant to dig in: paint the walls purple in my daughter’s bedroom, the post-its still there from when she saw her new home the first time coming to this apartment, from college, conflicted as I was, the change seismic for her too, leaving the nook of her spacious bedroom, the convenience of her friend in the building, the life she’d known, all that. She put those post its up as a nod to me, that she would support this move, and I look at those post its every day, promising myself, when I get a job, I will paint those walls (well, honestly, I’ll have to hire someone to paint those walls, I’m terrible at painting.) I have yet to hang my beloved framed photos and paintings, terrified I will hit that financial rock bottom, and have to move to Florida and in with my mother. I have temporary placeholders throughout this apartment, this sun-filled apartment that is always warm, a kitchen that I m enamored in, that I create meals in, that I love being in. I still don’t have a proper bed, again, that financial hit it requires, to purchase a new mattress and a new frame is not something I can do at this moment. Everything has its price, and for the most part, I can’t afford the things that would make other things easier. Long term survival is at stake after all. The cost of living is the price I am paying, and I’m always aware of that metronome, ticking away. My view is of other apartment buildings, and I miss, oh my god, do I miss watching the sunrise every morning, the way I did from my daughter’s bedroom on the Upper West Side. Considering all of that, however, are the perks. The peace of mind, living in a home I can sit inside; my former apartment was dark, often gave me headaches if I spent more than a few consecutive hours indoors. The luxury of walking out of my building into this oasis that is Stuytown, this sprawl of real estate, with its fountain in the middle of the complex, and it’s convenient cafe, and the lending library where I can find a book I haven’t read, put a book of my own that I’m done with. My Sunday mornings with Steve, when we go to Wegmans or Whole Foods in Brooklyn, filling up my fridge so that I can make things for myself to eat. Being so close to some of my closest friends, the ones I never saw because I lived uptown. Being right on the East Side river, which in the summertime, was a blessing. Having space, space to stretch my tiny arms in, something I didn’t have in my other apartment. I’m walking more too, a result of living an 8 minute walk away from the subway, which translates to exercise. I live close enough to a public library, a post office, and a Target, closer as well to UCB, where my daughter does her stand up show, and very very very close to a dog cafe. I may not make a friend in this building I live in, I may not live here for another fifteen years, but living here is a lifeline, one I’m holding onto for dear life.
Katori Hall: “Everyone has their different kind of abyss. Everyone’s kind of working through some trauma — some folks more than others.”
Lady Gaga: “I’ve become very mindful of my position in the world and my responsibility to humanity and to those who follow me. And I consider myself to be a kindness punk.”
Daisy Haggard: “There’s this myth that you have kids and your brain doesn’t work and you can’t do anything, and actually that’s just rubbish because it completely focused me.”
Memory loss, menopause, and Alzheimers.
What’s the word on pretzels.
And now have a laugh with Mia Jackson.