I’ve stayed consistent with the silly pictures goal and just posted week 13. So too with the gratitude and happy lists, though I will admit the last few weeks I’ve been posting one massive gratitude and a few happy things as nothing at this time in my life can compare my gratefulness of getting a job and finally starting a life of my own.
The fates have finally bestowed their approval of my life and allowed me to get a job.
I am going to be straight up honest here: I had my doubts. I cried for a few days about this new adventure. I have not lived alone since 2005. I am going to an area where I will know people but we’re not intimate friends. Yet.
Lots of questions and anxieties abound.
- What if my new gig fired me?
- What if my contract doesn’t get picked up?
- What if I hate my job?
The “what ifs” kept stacking up and everything was almost to overwhelming to bear.
I can’t do this, I thought. I’m too scared, too old, too something.
But then I reminded myself of all the big jumps I’ve taken like moving to San Francisco alone when I was 25. Moving back to Grand Rapids more than once without knowing a single soul. Solo cross country trips without nary a thought.
The list of what I could, can, and have done began to overtake the “what if” stack. There were a lot of things I’ve jumped to that turned out to be good, I could do this.
Once I told my fucking anxieties to take a hike, I knew I had this.
The job is located in New York, in Westchester county, which is near the New York / Connecticut state lines. After laughing manicaly at the $3K price tag for one bedroom apartments in the area, I started looking at close-ish Connecticut towns / villages / cities to call home.
Connecticut, like most states along on the eastern seaboard, have their larger cities along the coast. 95, which runs from Florida to the Canadian province of New Brunswick, follows along the coast making the hop from Boston, New York City, and so on pretty easy. This makes sense as many of these towns were originally ports for trading and shit during the early days of the formation of the US.
There are a few cities inland but I wanted to be near the action on the coast. I decided to concentrate on areas around Norwalk and a few towns north. My qualifiers were fairly simple: Within an hour commute to work; Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Stew Leonard’s near by; close to a MINI dealership; easy access to Metro North, and an apartment community1.
Norwalk fit the bill perfectly.
I massaged the numbers, I cut out things that were possibly not needed. I looked for cheaper apartments but in the end I just couldn’t make it work. Even after cutting things to the bone, I would end up – $47 a month. Yes, I would be in the red with no savings, no emergency funds, nothing to help me out if the world fell apart. There would also be no going out to eat, no entertainment, no fun.
It was that bad2.
It seemed holy unfair I received a job offer, with decent pay, and I couldn’t afford to live in the area I desired.
For a brief moment I thought about rejecting the offer and staying put in L-ville. I would throw myself at recruiters and start the process of slowly integrating myself into the workforce before venturing out in the big, wide, scary world.
We all know I do nothing by halves. It’s either both feet or nothing at all.
After pulling myself together and looking at my options, I started researching apartments in Danbury.
Danbury is in south-western Connecticut. Not quite on the gold coast but close enough. Instead of the 50-70 minute commute I would have from Norwalk, the commute from Danbury is 30-45. Community apartment rents were significantly cheaper. I was close to 84, an interstate that connected me to work fairly quickly (the drive from Norwalk would have been mostly back roads) and I could get to a Metro North station tout suite. There was a Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and a Stew Leonard’s nearby and I was equidistant between two MINI dealerships.
I heard from various people Danbury was a borderline shit hole. There was huge crime problems3. When I was there in December for my job interview at a local university, it was rainy, miserable, and what I saw looked sketch. My Google Earth stalking of the downtown area made me side-eye. How in the fuck was I going to ever live here (if I got that job) if the area seemed below my standards4?
Here I was five months later and I needed to live somewhere that was relatively cheaper than what I was seeing in Norwalk, Westchester County (and New York as a whole) was out, and I wanted to be in a fairly decent sized city.
Much to my chagrin5, Danbury it is.
I started the search for Danbury apartments. The community I looked at in Norwalk has a sister community in Danbury so I made an appointment to tour the facility the Saturday after I arrived. A few other communities popped up on my radar which I put in way down on the reserve list as the Google and Yelp reviews were terrible. I started to fret I wasn’t going to find a place a live until I stumbled across the City Center of Danbury site and I felt like I had come home.
The first thing I noticed was the images of downtown places and markers were markedly different than what was on Google Earth. There also seemed to be a fairly decent list of things to shop, eat, and live.
I went back and talked to a few friends again about the area. The downtown core was booming and people seemed to love it. There were loads of amenities downtown like parks were also enticing. Maybe this wasn’t going to be so bad after all.
I had forgotten this site existed even though I scoped it out in December. I found I was intrigued with a few of the apartment places, particularly with 1 Kennedy Flats.
This complex caught my eye for a couple of reasons. First, the rent was within my budget even with the amenities and pet fees added on and it was cheaper by $350 than the places in Norwalk, which meant I could eek out some kind of life outside of work AND pay my bills. Second, it was located in what seemed to be a thriving downtown and I really wanted to make sure the walk score of where ever I lived was above 75. The complex was across from the downtown park (Connecticuters seem big on these main square parks which is fine by me!), it has reserved parking, an on community storage area, a gym for me to work out in, a pool (time to get out that fat girl bikini!), gas appliances, fake wood floors, and walking distance to everything.
It wasn’t just the apartments accoutrements and location of the community that sold me on living in Danbury, but also everything else going on the city.
- The public library is a 7 minute walk from my apartment
- There is a hackerspace and it to is located downtown
- The mall looks pretty decent and it has the ever necessary Apple store
- There is a local minor league hockey team and the arena is within walking distance
- A sports arena that does soccer and lacrosse (only local leagued)
- And a mutherfuckin’ rugby leagued team that also has a leagued woman’s team (Fuck. Yes.)
- I could get to NYC in about an hour (hello museums!)
I am relieved.
Of course moving in is not going to be exactly smooth. I’ve reserved the apartment and paid for the first month without stepping a foot onto the property so there is a chance of me not liking the place or location. My stuff isn’t scheduled to arrive until a week or two after I arrive. I will be without home internet for a week, which means I had to up my data plan6 to survive. The only furniture I will have is my bed and that’s it for at least a week. (An IKEA trip is already in the works.) Daily household items I have are boxed up and won’t arrive until the move AND there is a longer than my arm list of daily household items I know I don’t have and will need, primarily while my stuff is in transit, which means I’m spending more cash.
I should say it’s not “had doubts” but “have doubts.” Moving is stressful. Borrowing and spending more cash on the move is stressful. Starting a new job is stressful7. The dog’s anxiety on a new place and a 1000 mile road trip is stressful.
My medicating and talking therapists are convinced I can handle this. I’m tough. I’ve been mentally healthy for quite awhile now so I’m less likely to breakdown if shit happens. Even my close friends feel I can do this. And if I do cry, or get upset, or feel anxiety about everything happening, that is totally normal — remember it’s how I handle it determines whether or not I’m mentally healthy.
I’ve fucking got this.
1. I wanted a community over living in a private home apartment / owing a home as I wanted all the trappings of what a community offered such as 24 hour maintenance, on site gym, guaranteed parking, and washer/dryer in unit. I wanted to be catered to and not have to worry about a fucking thing.
2. It was around this time I was crying a lot and my anxiety, understandably, was through the roof.
3. When I think of Connecticut, I don’t think of “crime” or “gangs” or anything nefarious — after living in Detroit and Oakland the rest of the country seems like small potatoes.
4. I readily admit I am a privledge asshole. Living with TheExHusband at his condo for the last eight months has raised my bar on what I want / don’t want in my life style and Danbury seemed fairly far from that making that reach. Turns out I was wrong.
5. I associate things with things. Memories with music, people with smells, and so on. Pre-me 2005, TheBassist dated a woman who lived in Danbury and she went batshit crazy when the relationship ended (She stalked me for awhile.). Even without direct association, Danbury has always equaled batshit crazy to me. Yes, this is silly.
6. I have a 2gig a month plan which is normally more than enough for my phone data needs. I am paying an extra $40 or $60 (I forget which) to bump that up to 18gigs month. If I don’t, the overage, per gig, on my original plan is $15. So I’ll be able to hotspot my laptop, conservatively, but not kill myself with the overage charges.
7. Everyone is apparently really excited I’m coming and there is plans for everyone to meet me on my first day. No pressure, none at all.
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