Out with the old, in with the new…..
I am moving into a new apartment in a few days; although I’ve moved many times in my life, this move is the most significant of them all.
When my ex-husband and I separated three years ago, I was sleeping in the guest room while we worked things out – or didn’t work things out. This was a time in my life that, for lack of a better word, sucked. I am hoping to one day have the courage to share that story, as so many go through it and people are just too ashamed to actually talk about it, but I am still not quite ready.
Living in the same home while going through a separation, taking care of a 5-year-old, and maintaining our careers was torturous, to say the least. After an argument one day, I decided that I needed to finally put myself and my mental health first. I needed to leave. I needed my own space where I could think and care for my child. I needed to sleep in a comfortable bed and not a very uncomfy sofa bed in an office like an outcast.
I called Paul Silverman of SILVERMAN, a good friend and local developer, and asked him If he had any apartments I could move into. Without question or hesitation, he said, “Absolutely, I can get you into a fully furnished apartment tonight.” I told him that it wasn’t necessary, but that I wanted to see what he had.
The next day, he showed me a few apartments based on what I could afford. At the time, I had no idea what I could afford. I’d been married for so long and all our finances were tied together. I had absolutely no clue how much money I even had, other than a small savings I had from my days in corporate and some cash from a few events I was throwing at the time. Do you remember those silent headphone parties? Well if you attended one, thank you. You helped pay my first month’s rent.
I decided on a small one bedroom apartment with a den that would be big enough for my little girl, who was only 5 at the time. The den doesn’t have a window and I remember saying to myself, “She’ll be fine, she doesn’t need a window.” I was riddled with guilt, knowing full well that she has a nice big room at my old home.
Was I making a huge mistake? Did I make the right decision? Should I have just stayed for her?
No. I knew this was right. I knew that things would be hard, but I would eventually get to the other side. For once, I listened to my gut and my intuition was forcing me to move things along. What I didn’t know is that it would take almost 3 years and counting to get there.
The other side of pain.
The apartment was supposed to be temporary, just a few months to a year till I could get back on my feet. I barely had any money at the time, no furniture, nothing. I had to start all over. It was like I was post-college, starting my life in my first ever apartment. But I was 35 years old with a child, running a business that wasn’t the most stable.
My whole family lives in Israel and, other than my sister, they weren’t incredibly supportive of my decision at first. I know this is because they were afraid for me and Mia, scared I would regret my decision when it was too late. I recognize that them not being a cheerleader during this difficult time was not because they didn’t love and support me, but out of sheer fear. This was something I had to go through on my own. I knew the would come around. And they did.
I figured it all out. I called some clients, asked for advances on work, and I pooled enough money for rent, some IKEA furniture for me and Mia, and a retainer for my divorce attorney. The blog, my social media, and my client work were running without missing a beat. If you followed me, you would have no idea I was going through what I am telling you. They always say “fake it till you make it.” I was broken inside, but didn’t even have a moment to process it all.
Then one day, I went to my old place while my ex-husband was at work, packed all my clothes and whatever belonged to me, and I never looked back. It was gut-wrenching, shoving all my belongings in trash bags. This is what it all comes down to?
When I would share how painful this all was with friends and family, they would say, “Isn’t this what you wanted?” It wasn’t. I wouldn’t have gotten married. I never wanted this, but… anyway. That’s for another blog post.
My ex and I settled on a parenting schedule and that was the beginning of the end.
Once we moved, I tried to make the apartment as homey and cozy as possible and loved it. As I started figuring out my finances, I was able to buy some artwork from local artists and a record player. I felt at home for the first time in years. This was my space. This was me.
The first night in the apartment, I remember being in nothing but an oversized t-shirt, listening to records on my new record player, and drinking wine. I danced. For the first time in weeks, I smiled. I felt good. I knew things were going to get harder and harder, that this moment would be fleeting, but I felt ready. I knew that I had to go through the pain to get to the other side.
This was a temporary home that turned into 3 years. 3 fucking years filled with peaks and valleys. I can’t even put to words all the things I went through to get to this very moment. My heart has been broken to pieces and through that time, I slowly started putting the pieces back together. There was a point where I didn’t think I could love and be loved again, but always remained open and hopeful. I just knew in my heart and soul that true love did exist and that it was out there for me. Every time I stood in my power, I started loving myself more and more. I was ready to move on and out. I was ready to leave the temporary home behind and re-build a new life for me and my little girl.
In the fall, while searching for apartments, I started talking to Tony (now the love of my life). I remember telling him I was on the hunt for a new place and shared this excitement with him. Things didn’t work out and I couldn’t break my lease – I was devastated, but realized that the universe had a bigger plan for me. And then I fell in love.
A few months later, I had to make a decision of whether I would renew my lease or move somewhere else. Tony and I had talked about eventually moving in together when his lease was up in the summer. He came with me to visit a bigger apartment and that was it. This would be our future home. The pieces were all falling into place, and it all made perfect sense.
While packing everything up this weekend, I opened a box of memories – old wedding photos, birthday cards, and even my wedding veil. Just as I said goodbye to my wedding dress, it was time to say goodbye to the old memories. It was time to say goodbye to the pain, to the “what ifs,” to the death of an ideal that I’ve been holding onto since I was a child. It was time to lovingly look at those memories and say thank you.
It’s time to make new memories.
Moving is one of the most stressful things in life – the packing, the mess, the purging. It’s a life event that is both exciting and super annoying. Even though I am not moving very far, leaving this place is bittersweet. I grew up in this apartment. I fell in love with myself in this apartment. I laughed, cried, screamed, and danced into this better version of myself. Part of me understands now that I needed these 3 years to get through it all.
I picture the universe talking to their assistant up above –
Universe: “Alright, she’s settled with her love. Let’s get the show on the road.”
Assistant: “Yeah, she needs to move out of that place. Too much stagnant energy.”
Universe: “Agreed. It’s also a great time to rent apartments”
And she lived happily ever after.