Saying goodbye

Throughout the years, I find that my dreams seem to grow smaller in range and scope. I suppose, as reality sets in, I cling to what seems manageable — the smaller victories don’t seem so sweet, but then again, there are more of them. I got out of bed! I got a paycheck! I paid my rent! These were not the goals I set out to have in life.

In reality, though, I’m moving on and moving up. And I know it. Because no matter how bad things get and even the fact that sometimes I have regressed in both living situation and career, as they say in the stock market, I was simply experiencing a mild pullback — a correction to support, if you will — before ascending to new highs.

Accordingly, it looks like I’ve been fortunate enough to regain my momentum and yes, I feel ready to continue the uptrend. But first, I had to leave behind the old trading range.

All right, enough with the metaphors!

Last night, as I left behind my keys and life as I knew it in Alexandria, Va., I realized that what used to be my “dream” apartment is a dream I had actually outgrown and that it will be someone else’s dream to grow into now. I have bigger dreams — and a bigger, nicer pad — to grow into.

In my head: Vonda Shepard, “Neighborhood”


The building’s going to be gutted in the coming weeks, and to me, that’s only fitting. I spent three years there — I moved in with such hope, such trepidation as to whether I’d be able to afford it, and such joy that I was poised to do great things with my life.

And that apartment saw parties and dates, and it welcomed me back from Oregon, Las Vegas, Aspen and Manhattan. But it also felt like the walls were closing in when I didn’t have a job for five months. It’s where I died inside by myself knowing my best friend had left the city for the other coast. It’s where I missed my family in Pittsburgh and where I, in recent months, had come to dread coming home to and thus spent all my (precious little) free time eating out and shopping.

Leaving my couch behind was a necessity because it wouldn’t have fit through my new doorway (the apartment’s fairly spacious, but the entryway is sort of screwy). But it was where I slept during troubled times. I spent the whole summer of 2001 sleeping on that couch during a horrible era of my life. I spent the winter of 2004 there as well. I don’t know why I develop an aversion to my bed during tough times — it’s like I don’t feel like I deserve a good night’s sleep when life is falling apart.

I kept my couch cushions, though. One is serving as the top of a wrought-iron otttoman that needed a cushion anyway, so that worked out well. The other, well, the cats and I are watching TV on it these days in my new place.

Anyway, I’ve digressed. I guess where I was going is that while we get all sentimental about places and objects, we need to move on from them — to start over, untainted by the past. Leaving the heartbreak behind and only taking with you the good. Not to say there won’t be growing pains, but the stakes are higher. And we’re smarter and better able to handle more magnanimous challenges.

Of course, that can only come after saying goodbye.

It was an easy goodbye, for the most part. It was kind of funny, actually, as I spent the evening at my neighbor’s apartment across the hall, watching a movie. We’d barely socialized in the years we’d lived there. Isn’t that always the way? We forge our relationships when we’re leaving cities and jobs at the last possible minute. But it’s better than never making the connection at all.

At my new place, I made some new acquaintances in between trips back to the mother ship. (Did I mention the number of good-looking men in my building? *fans self*) I’m pretty much the only one who leaves my blinds/windows open, but when people do emerge from their abodes, they’re pretty pleasant. It’s a different world here, it seems. And I like it.

In any event, late last night in Alexandria, I went to the Wendy’s that never once got an order right in three years. And surprise of all surprises, it was perfect. And fresh, on top of that! Go figure. I stopped by the park I’ve always loved and, like the apartment, I realized how small it was — how there are different places in my new ‘hood and in the ‘burbs where I can now go to expand my mindset. I’m going from a small neighborhood park to — well, I don’t know where yet. But I’ll find my secret escape where I will lug my journal as soon as I unpack it.

I got some really bad news yesterday (fucking student loans seized my tax refund AGAIN even though I’ve been paying out of my a$$ every month to make up for lost time). I had the pity party moment of wondering why the universe never seems to let me get ahead — why I can’t manage to save some money just in case I end up destitute like I once was — why I can never have any peace of mind, financially.

But I’ll overcome it. I have to. I have no choice. I need to stop looking at things like that as punishment and know that while, yes, I have not a spare dime to my name right now, that unexpectted seizure of my hard-earned money means I’ll be done paying that loan three months sooner. (OK, so that won’t make a difference when my loan is paid off when I’m 80!)

Maybe, in keeping with the theme of this entry, I’m just saying another goodbye (to my money). But it also means that good fortune is due to pay me a visit, to make up for it. I just hope it gets the memo that I’ve had a change of address.

And believe me, the welcome mat is out for it.

2 Responses to Saying goodbye

  1. Neil Morse :

    I’ll miss having you as a neighbor, but you’ll always have a home in my heart!

  2. Mel :

    Saying Hello…. I know the feeling about moving from one place to another. I have moved about 6 times in my adult life. I moved to 5 different elementary schools. Moving sucks to an extent, but the again with every end there is a new beginning.
    the website that I am linking back to is my own personal blog. I wrote a blog about you. Enjoy.