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In the pause: I’m the happiest New Yorker

A month ago today I packed my rental car and moved back to New York City. Yesterday while I walked Phin in Central Park, a man I didn’t know stopped me and said, “You’re the happiest person I’ve ever seen in New York.” I think he’s right; I was smiling wide for no reason at all.

Being away from New York for almost three years made me even more grateful for what this city has to offer. Every day I wake up and think anything can happen. Possibility is everywhere. Part of making things happen has to do with my energy and efforts and part of it has to do with the energy of this city. Put them together and something is bound to happen. It always does.

In the pause: A magical New York City beginning

The move into New York City was a pretty magical day. As stressful as these past few months have been, there were so many incredible moments in this move when I felt everything going in the direction I needed. I had fantastic movers. The ride up was perfect without an ounce of traffic. Phineas was an angel traveler. My friends Moya and Dan helped me get the contents of my packed car into my apartment. The super, manager, and neighbors in my new building have all been lovely. Within our first 30 minutes in the neighborhood, I met Vinny, a man who lives just a few doors down who runs a doggie daycare and dog walking service out of his garden apartment. (Phin loved him immediately!) Now my internet is humming along thanks to insanely good customer service from Time Warner, and I’m getting my handful of belongings in place while I wait for the rest of my things to arrive in the next few days.

In the meantime, Phin and I are taking in the park and visiting all of our old haunts in our neighborhood. It feels good to be home.

In the pause: The magical combination that brings success

What if we could think about life from a place of abundance instead of a place of scarcity? What if we could see not getting what we want as a way of making room for something even better?

When I was first looking for a new apartment, I was approaching the process from a place of lack—time was running out on my existing lease, the vacancy rate in New York City is very low, and I was sad and disappointed about being priced out of my old neighborhood.

I was sulking around that old neighborhood on my trip there, feeling so at home and wishing that something there would work out with little hope of that happening. And then after a bit more searching, it materialized. From there, everything else fell into place as long as I kept working to make it so.

Working hard and having a positive mindset is a magical combination. We need both, not just one or the other. My luck turned around once I decided to not be discouraged. Instead I decided that whenever something difficult happened, I’d double down and figure out the next best plan.

As I make this next transition, I will try to hang onto that lesson. It’s tough to do in the moment, but I will make sure to post reminders around my new home so that every day I’ll be reminded to keep my head high, my eyes focused forward, and my sleeves rolled up.

In the pause: When stress arrives, take the long view

“Three months ago, things seemed a little bleak. But to be honest, everything worked out in the best way possible.”

I said this to my friend, Ria, this weekend. She stopped me and said, “Christa, that’s what always happens to you. And I’m saying this to you, making sure you know and understand that whenever you hit tough times, it does work out. So don’t freak out. It is always going to be okay. Okay?”

A couple of days ago, I mentioned that I was stressed about my move. How was I going to see all my friends before I go? How was I going to get this place packed up? Which movers could meet my timeline for a good price? (To be fair, a few were a little annoyed with me that my timeline is rather tight, but hey, that’s finding an apartment in New York City. It’s a just-in-time market!)

Today, I got a quote for half of what I thought it would be. I am able to rent a small SUV to drive some things up to DC myself for nearly the same price as a compact car. My building in D.C. can accommodate my move date and my building in New York is very relaxed about move-ins (and doesn’t charge a fee either!) It really is all going to be okay. Really.

Yes, I have work to do. A lot of sorting, packing, and cleaning. I’m going to get to spend time with friends here in D.C. before I go. Dinners, happy hours, coffees, and walks. And then I’ll drive up to New York with little Phin. We’ll move into our new place and it will all be fine. Everything will be better than fine.

In the moment, it can be difficult to remember to keep a longer perspective. What’s right in front of it feel so urgent and pressing. And it is, but we’ll get through it the way we always get through it: one step, one moment at a time.

In the pause: There’s only one way to get through challenges

Moving brings up all kinds of fears and concerns. I’ve been facing a few this week: comparing quotes from movers, worrying about the actual packing, saying “see you soon” to friends I’ve gotten used to seeing all the time, and renting a car and packing it up to make the trek back to New York. Every time I would cross something off my list, I’d find that there were two more to-do items to replace it. I started to get nervous that I wouldn’t get everything done in time, that something would make my move impossible. It was keeping me awake and making my mind fuzzy.

I got home last night and took a deep breath. I’ve been here before, many times and not that long ago. If there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s move and begin again. And if something does come up, some wrinkle in my plan, I’ll invoke my favorite mantra: “I’ve got this and I’ll handle it.” The only way out is through.

In the pause: I’m moving back to New York City

It’s official: I’m set to move back to New York City next month. There have been so many synchronicities in this move: from my friend, Ria, telling me not to feel pressured into taking what would have been a terrible apartment because I thought that was the only option to finding my new place completely by chance with a building manager willing to show it to me via a Whatsapp video call before turning around a lease overnight. It’s on the Upper West Side, my very favorite neighborhood in the world where so much of my history lives and breathes. I’ve got many preparations to make, much to be grateful for in D.C., and much to look forward to as I return to New York. I’ll be reflecting on all of that in the coming days, weeks, and months. For now, I’m just smiling and feeling so thankful for this journey.

Phineas and I are excited to visit all of our old haunts in Central Park, and spend time with our New York friends—human, canine, and feline! Phin’s particularly looking forward to Dachtoberfest this Fall when hundreds of dachshunds from all over the New York area congregate at Washington Square Park to celebrate their breed. (More on that later.) New York, here we come!

Wonder: Be an explorer every day

Since moving to our new apartment, Phineas has become a morning dog. He’s up at the crack of dawn, and that means I am, too. This morning we took a long stroll / walk / run past Union Station, the Folger, the Library of Congress, and on to the Capitol. Phineas was rolling around in all the grassy areas and greeting everyone who wanted to talk to him. He had the time of his life.

It reminded me that we are constantly explorers, everywhere we go, every day. We take in what’s around us, we learn, and we make the most of it.

Wonder: Journeys great and small

Journeys

Go slowly in taking the step;
and fast when counting stars.
Make music with your heels,
give back the place to Place,
sing to the sound of the road
and break the spiritful track
with your wide beliefs
in what passes underground
and rises wrung and right: unbound.

~Dolores Kendrick, 2002

In my new neighborhood, there is a sculpture by the metro stop called Journeys by Barbara Grygutis and it has a poem also entitled Journeys by the Washington poet laureate, Dolores Kendrick. I walked by it this morning with Phin and it gave me a magical, cosmic sense of well-being. While these last few months have been intensely stressful in many ways, I now feel a new chapter has opened.

I have so many stories to share in the coming days – about my moving day angel, the value of journeys great and small, taking time to play with puppies, lower chakras, and taking time to settle and root. I am taking it all in—the good and the challenging—and learning.

Wonder: We live and move bit by bit

13435309_10102751897676806_5171304354613830104_nAfter a restless night, Phin and I are making progress. I put together a reclaimed wood entertainment center, bought a cool rug, set up my wi-fi, and got my roku TV working. Phin unpacked his toys and got his bed just the way he wants it. Little by little, it’s getting done. Now we’re going to go play with puppies.

Right now, everything feels scattered but I can see it starting to take shape. I’m looking forward to the day when this feels like home.

Wonder: Theater saved me while I was moving

I’m moving to my new apartment today. As I was taping up the few remaining boxes, I felt another wave of nervous wash over me. And then theatre saved me, again, the same way it’s saved me so many times before.

I started humming the beautiful song I’ve Been Here Before from the musical, Closer Than Ever. I have been here many times before. I’ve felt these feelings. I’ve dealt with uncertainty and change in inordinate amounts. And you know what? I’m always, eventually, just fine. By some miracle, it always works out because I work. And work and work and work.

This time is no different. If anything, it’s far easier than my last move. I took one more (very) deep breath and went back to taping boxes. That’s how every move everywhere gets done: one box at a time.

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