My parents think that Jay & I are crazy. Maybe we are. However, as they have been suburban dwellers in Connecticut for the majority of their adult lives, I appreciate that it’s hard to for them to understand circumstances that they have never lived through. Very much in the same way that I cannot understand parenting to a degree that they can, I don’t expect them to understand how it is to be a married, childless, city-dwelling, city-loving couple, whose lives are in very much in flux.
If you asked either of my parental units, they would quickly tell you that they think I am making a slew of rash,, “wrong” decisions. However – listening to the “right” decision making has not gotten us very far either. I was brought up to believe that owning a home was the best option. “Putting your money” towards an investment. Ha! Even my parents can admit that luck has not been on our side with real estate thus far. After being overbid time and time again, we finally bought our home at the height of the market in 2004, and then tried to sell one week before the market crashed in 2008. Now, in 2014, after ten years in our “starter” home, in a market where our neighborhood is still filled with foreclosures and shorts, we’ve just decided to cut our losses (and sell for a loss), just to move on.
Granted, our choices may have be a little out of the ordinary, some may call them extreme. I left a perfectly decent career in NYC, spent my whole life savings and opened a cake studio, only to turn around five years later and quit that to come back into NYC – working for peanuts at a non-profit. Luckily for me, Jay has taken a completely different, albeit more lucrative path (balancing out our ever precarious financial see-saw), from architecture to IT management, to now, digital forensics.
However, with only ourselves and three furry kids to support, we have been able to make crazy decisions – changing career paths entirely mid-stream. We’ve been able to try things. Granted, sometimes these are big, expensive things, but they are life experiences we’ve actually gotten to have.
It’s not cheap to live here. It’s not easy to live here. And yet, so many of us do. Believe it or not – many have chosen this life over other, simpler, easier ones they could have had. More monetarily rewarding ones. Less stressful ones.
But like with all dark, hard, crazy things – the city has a soft underbelly. There’s beauty here. There’s a life force. There’s things here you can’t find anywhere else. And for now, it is going to be home.
In all honesty, my end goal is not to live here forever. My end goal, as anyone that knows me will tell you – is to have a tiny, comfortable cottage at the shore, where I can work from home until I’m too old to work anymore. Diametrically opposed to city life? Yup. The yin to my city-loving yang I suppose. I’ve always felt at home at the shore, even though I’ve never lived there. But I’ve always felt like my ocean chapter was at the end of my story.
I’d also like to live abroad for a while before then. I’ve put some feelers out about how this could actually happen already. I don’t know whether the opportunity will present itself to me or Jay first, but when the right one does present itself, I want to be ready to jump on a plane and go.
But for now, Brooklyn is calling. And as crazy as it makes me to know I’ll be writing a *gigantic* rent check, it’s the price we pay for this experience. So, can we “afford to go backwards” from owning a home (which I don’t know how forward thinking that is nowadays) to renting? Our first stint at home ownership in this crazy market definitely made us feel like we had an anchor tying us down. For now, renting allows us the freedom to be flexible and leave if the opportunity comes up.
I am continually reminded that even the healthiest, best-planning, most financially-sound people can reach their expiration date sooner than expected. When my time comes, I want to have checked off as many things on my bucket list as possible. And while a giant bank account may help with some of those things, others require spending – this move from the Jersey suburbs into Brooklyn being one of them.