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Day 42: What New York taught me about living in Grand Rapids

January 1, 2012

As I rummaged through the kitchen of my friend’s New York apartment, it dawned on me how crazy different my life is today than what I ever imagined it would be just five years ago. Here I am standing in a tiny one-bedroom apartment in the city I thought I was destined for at 22. Just the other day, I wrote something about how the house I looked at is a bit smaller than what I would actually like.

I sliced cheese on the two square feet of counter space marveling at the lack of clutter, particularly because two adults lived here. Well, lack of clutter if you take away what I brought (my presence is tornado-like ;-). Could I have been this compact? I wondered. Had I not become a mom after college, I’d be in New York City or Chicago or Europe. Who knows. But I sure as heck wouldn’t be living large or thinking about mortgages, leaky roofs or the walkability of my neighborhood.

People often pestered me about throwing my money away in rent. I questioned myself, too. But maybe it made me feel somewhat free still… as if I’d be able to up and move across the country should the opportunity present itself. In reality, I was clinging to a fantasy, not ready to officially grow up. I would never do it because my family and Calin’s family are here. We need each other. And at some point in 2011, I finally came to terms with calling Grand Rapids home. In fact, I realized I was head-over-heels in love with this city. I can’t pinpoint the moment, though I feel it was revelational, an aha moment, if you will. Whatever it was, it was what I needed to launch the house hunt. (I could really get into another dating analogy here… settling down, fear of commitment, taking the plunge…)

As I wandered the Upper West Side of Manhattan with Kristen this weekend, a few more things dawned on me.

For one, my necessity for a Grand Rapids neighborhood is seeded in my big-city dreams left unfulfilled. But at 26, I realized that the me today wouldn’t be cut out for big-city living. Maybe my frequent trips to the Big Apple are what gave me the peace to finally settle into Grand Rapids.

Second, I’ve got this crazy thing with being able to walk to the grocery store in my new home. I can’t figure out whether it’s simply having a an excuse to take walks, or if I really do want a grocery store. Well, we woke up New Year’s Day and needed cream for coffee. Within ten minutes we had our creamer, fruit and munchies and were back inside her apartment. I love it. And I loathe driving.

Third, I need to find a friend who lives in the Hillmount on Cherry Street or somewhere with an equally amazing city view. I make good company and will bring wine. 🙂

My, how the years have quickly changed. Happy New Year!! May 2012 be filled with happy life-changing surprises, meaningful moments, aha moments and a life well-lived. Cheers!

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