Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The (impossible) dream unfolds

One door closes. Another door opens...

It's been about six months since my husband and I hatched our crazy idea of moving the family across the country from sunny California to (now storm-drenched) New York City. Six months of waiting, praying, hoping. When you're looking at the next chapter of life and you want it to start NOW, the days seem like weeks. Weeks seem like months. Your new adventure is just within reach, but you're still on the tarmac waiting to take off. 

Our plan = sell our home, use the money to start our new life in NYC + I would pursue the journalism career I've always wanted + my husband would set up shop in the most creative place on the planet. We had the highest of hopes when we put our OC loft on the market last summer. "We'll sell it, pack up and start brand new in the city!" we cheered. Then we heard nothing but crickets. Some interest, some potential buyers, but no offers.

Every time our realtor called to say someone was coming to look at our place, we would do this mad dash to get our home "show ready." Throw the kids' toys into their closets, hide kitchen knick-knacks in the pantry, swipe countertops of every crumb, sweep the floors, fluff the pillows. It was exhausting. And not just because we were physically doing the cleaning, tidying up, etc. It was more of the emotional toll. The anticipation coupled with anxiety: "Will this be the ONE?" "When will we be released of this place?" "Will we EVER get to New York?"

Life in 43 boxes.

Six months is a long time to watch sand fall through the hourglass. At times, I felt like an ancient Israelite wandering in the desert, wondering hoping complaining to God to take us to the Promised Land. But I forgot that we would have to slay giants, just as the Israelites were told to do, on our journey to a land flowing with milk and honey (or in our case, skyscrapers and power brokers). Though our "giants" weren't men seven feet tall, they were just as menacing: fear, doubt, disbelief. These things are crippling if you allow them to seep into your heart.

And finding a writing job in New York is no small feat. This is definitely a snarling, scowling giant. There's a tiny space in my head where a doubt monster screams, "How do YOU think you're gonna make it in a city as great as New York?" "You're just a minor league player wanting to play with the big boys!" "Do you know how many writers try to make a career there and fail?"

That's when I take a deep breath and tell the little bugger to please f*ck off. I politely thank him for the tension he's creating between doubt and belief because it's only making me stronger. "You think I can't do it? Well just watch me!" I tell him. Then I put words into action. And I feel my power again.

It's funny how life can change in a day. Especially when you're living in a dry season. Here we were, our six months-worth of savings down to the last drop. No prospects of selling or renting our home and no job offers yet. Life felt stagnant and then we got the phone call. "We found your new tenants!" our realtor gleefully proclaimed. A retired NFL cornerback and his girlfriend were looking to start their new lives in California. The moment they stepped foot into our loft, they fell in love. They wanted to move in right away.

And that's how our impossible dream unfolds. 

Last days in our OC loft. So many good memories were made here.
So many more will be had in NY!

Our Thanksgiving holiday was one cranker of a week. Packing boxes and shipping via FedEx, selling stuff on Craigslist, donating to Goodwill and giving things to friends and family. It was a lesson in materialism and being less of a consumer. Ten years building a life in California and packing only what you need for a new life on the East Coast? By the end of the week, I had sore muscles in my fingertips and my body ached down to my bones. But I'd never felt so alive. I was so thankful. "It's finally happening. We're doing this. We're starting our adventure..."          

So at the moment, we're homeless. My folks have been generous enough to let us crash at their house through the holidays. Then Christmas Day, we fly to Cleveland and stay with the husband's family until I get that job I really, really want. We're slowly but surely inching our way to the city. 

New York, we're on our way!!

Never lose faith.

Read the first post about the (impossible) dream here