About two months ago, my family and I drove our car out of Brooklyn, trailed by a 26-foot moving truck that was packed to the gills with our belongings. We’re out! Finito! Brooklyn no more (except for visiting friends, my wife’s haircuts, a concert next month…).
We moved upriver, to the lower Hudson Valley, where the commuter trains are plentiful, the houses are aging, and the yard is wild. Red tailed hawks spiral overhead, making for a sparse, nervous chipmunk population.
Because we care about “charm” and because our budget was lean, we bought a 200-year-old house. An amazing artist and weaver, who lived to be 100, lived in this house before us. Her creative, nature-loving spirit pervades the space.
Still though, the process of getting to, “Yes, let’s move,” and then actually buying the house was marked by fear and intestinal distress. Can we really leave New York City, the only place my seven-year-old has ever lived? Will we be miserable, decaying from the inside into a suburban dystopia like Revolutionary Road or Mad Men? There was a hot, sweaty voice that kept saying to Nomi and I, “This might be a colossal mistake.”
Naturally, as a wellness professional, I handled the stress by drinking Ginger Ale and randomly yelling at my children. What my wife and I were facing was a fairly wide-open situation. It reminded me of my health crisis a decade ago, in which things could have gone in a number of different directions: I could’ve gotten sicker; I could’ve died; I could’ve fully recovered. Fear is this recognition from some deep, embedded apparatus in our brain and chest that the future is unresolved — it’s an open question.
Will we rue the day we left Brooklyn as my wife zombie walks through her commute, my older daughter remains friendless, and my youngest is besieged by ticks? Or, maybe we will have Tuscan-style dinners on the lawn each night, candlelit and rustic, expertly cooked, with me in a white linen shirt, finally mastering my work/life balance?
Maybe it will be somewhere in between.