I Love it When it Rains in New York

It was raining when I moved to New York, exactly three years ago today.

I sat at the Charlotte Airport, resting my elbow on my overstuffed carry-on bag and my purse while nervously applying chapstick in small, mindless circles. My mind was everywhere. I had planned this day perfectly and now that it was here, everything that could go wrong, had. It was foggy and misty outside and in Manhattan, my destination and hopefully, my permanent location. My flight was now delayed almost two hours, and I spent every passing minute desperately obsessing over my decision to leave my family and take the biggest, greatest and most important leap of faith I had ever made. I didn’t have much in savings or any job offers or even job interviews. I didn’t have enough rent money for much more than a month or so and I currently only had a futon to my name. On loan of course, from a girl who technically speaking, I had never met before.

I grew anxious as we prepared for takeoff, silently saying a prayer that everything would work itself out. And that all those dreams I had invested in for so long would turn out to be more than just lofty, unrealistic ideas about a life that I’d never actually have.

Once I caught that cab from LGA and headed toward Brooklyn to meet the kind lady who was giving me my first break in the form of a comforter and shelves to put my minimal things on, it was still  ugly outside. I had never ventured too far away from midtown at this point in my New York journey and the thought of going to Park Slope — a place I had never read or heard about except for random Craigslist postings — was terrifying. I knew that I wouldn’t always have this friend around and I’d need to vend for myself — little did I know that the scariest thing about the zip code was the tantrums of the toddlers in their very expensive strollers.

I watched the droplets roll down the taxi’s window and I tried my best to soak up the moment instead of glancing at my phone and taking note of landmarks, trying to figure out where I was. Where I was headed.

What the hell I was doing.

I had similar thoughts six months later, walking home from the grocery store in Harlem to my studio a few days after starting the blog. The rain was just heavy enough to need your hood and not dangerous enough to warrant an umbrella, and yet I managed to go the entire day dodging them. It had been one of those difficult 9-6’s — too much work and too little time, so many questions and nothing on the subject matter of small business I cared to answer. I had made another decision and took another chance — overcoming my own love addiction — and I figured it was probably a terrible idea. I ached for love just as crazily as I wanted to work for a different publication or website. I had found footing here but it didn’t fit me quite right. I was showered with luck but somehow the fortune that was supposed to be in my favor, was off. I hadn’t found the love. I hadn’t found the job – so what had I actually achieved here other than much higher bills and boxed noodles?

“Oh my god, you really want dumplings and noodles aaaagain?” I implored Mr. Possibility. It was the third time we had gone to his place by his job in Rockefeller Center that month and in the middle of February, raining, freezing, and I had no desire to leave the comfort of my apartment to take a train 10 stops downtown. Let’s go, Tigar! I have a surprise for you,” he pushed and eventually, I threw up my hair into a sock bun, wrapped myself up in a white coat and snuggled with Mr. P until we reached 50th. But when we rose from the toasty heat of the underground cart, it had started to downpour.

And we didn’t have umbrellas.

He swiftly wrapped me in his arm and we ran, hand-in-hand from 7th avenue to 5th, to eat $5 shrimp dumplings and attempt to eat thin, stringy japanese food with chopsticks. Admittedly, neither of us were very good at eating properly, but with matted hair from the rain and his fancy loafers nearly ruined, we savored the dry space with florescent lighting. I’m all wet — are you happy now? I teased and though we had just officially made things official, he reached over, planted a big wet one on me and said, Ha! I love you! I’m always happy when I’m with you.

I wasn’t happy anymore, that was the sad truth.

And as I sat there in Williamsburg in late July, counting how many pairs of Hunter boots passed our window, watching him chew his mac ‘n cheese and go on about something I was no longer listening to, I summoned up the courage to tell him that something needed to change. He held me as I cried that night, promising to be better, pleading for another chance and I told him that chances were what I took and that I’d give it to him, but he had to really, really try. With my blessing that goodbye wasn’t coming just yet, I felt his body relax and drift to sleep, but I laid awake, listening to the rain hit his pane and trying so hard to convince myself it was louder than the pain I was feeling. And that somehow, the rain would drown out the fear in the pit of my stomach.

So. Many. Butterflies.

That’s what I told my mom when she asked me how my final interview went at iVillage. It was a hot August day and it had been raining off-and-on, causing my hair to frizz in ways I knew were not professional, but very-me anyway. I’m never quite fully put together in the way I look, but almost always in the way I express myself. And still, my tummy couldn’t have been more upset, excited or anxious detailing the highlights of my meeting with the company I so badly wanted to work for. I was standing in the phone booth near 14th street, protecting myself from the unpredictable summer showers and using my hand to cover my face because my grin was just that big. I couldn’t explain it — even to my mother who I could tell everything to — but somehow, the rain must have seeped through that glass of the booth and right into my bones, telling me that something amazing was about to happen. I was getting ready to run straight into the next best thing that ever happened.

What’s nextWhat could possibly be next? I wondered a few nights ago, walking home with my red raincoat pulled tightly around me, Lucy pacing at my side, intensely interested in everything we passed.

I could see the storm coming from the North, gray clouds were taking over the Upper West Side and I patted myself on the back for finally remembering to check the weather every morning. I checked to see if I brought an umbrella (I had) and considered how many towels I had in the closet — was there one to dry off the pup? Three years later — and the rain is still following me. But now I know how to prepare for it.

How to embrace it.

How to actually love it. Maybe that’s why a black umbrella is the shelter for all of these posts, surrounded by silly little red hearts, floating their way down the page. Maybe it’s why I moved to New York — to face the pressure, to face myself. To be overcome with challenge. To be pleasantly surprised with sudden down-pouring, infectious, love. To walk and make it through every weather this city can offer me.

Because honestly, I kind of love it when it rains in New York.

The glistening of the buildings. The sound of the droplets on the roof or the window. The sparkle on the street. The sound of kids splashing in the puddles and the sight of couples canoodling to stay dry. The best part of rain in the city is what’s so great about New York itself: after the storm passes — whatever it may be — everything that was bad or grimy or unsure from before is washed away.

And what’s left is up to you create. You just have to decide if you can put up with a little rain to get there.

So Very Worth It

In a few weeks, I’ll celebrate the third anniversary with the city I love.

It’s seen me through for better and for worst. It’s pushed me out of a love I hoped would last and into days I never wanted to end. I’ve seen it transform itself and me with it’s ever-changing, ever-beautiful ways. It’s still like living in a dream, but it’s more like living in an interesting world I created. That I achieved. That against the odds, I found and made for myself. The streets don’t scare me anymore but they do entice me. I don’t feel like I’ve finished all the things I came here to do but I know I’ve done quite a lot in not a lot of time.

I flow better with the rhythm and the speed of the people and with buildings that surround and challenge me. I’ve given into wearing black, yet I still let my colorful intentions radiate. I understand and have experienced the harshness of the land and the field I’ve decided to pursue. It hasn’t always been easy, not at all, but it has always been a journey, with every step and certainly every stumble. Not matter if there was something — or someone — to break my fall or… nothing at all.

I’ve dated and fallen in love with the natives here — men I used to refer to as businessmen, but now adequately equate as investment bankers or financial traders, even though it all seems like all business (and all cold-hearted) to me. I’ve fished on all the dating sites that I can and I’ve met a few good ones among the constant crash of terrible matches. I’ve tried my hand at the bars on the east and those on the west, but I’ve settled into neighborhoods that fit me better than the rest.

I’ve learned to judge in ways I’m not proud of, but I’ve also developed opinions that I now stand firmly beside. I’ve left the island only to feel in my bones that I would never feel as much at home as I do in this strange place. I’ve missed trains and opportunities, passed by strangers who could have used my help and given too much of myself to someone who didn’t really need it. Or want it. I’ve been embarrassed of ignorance in a city so full of brilliance, and I’ve savored my Southern roots for all that they’re worth and all that they’ve made me. I’ve missed people I’ve yet to meet and hungered for days I have never lived but I’ve also finally learned to settle into the skin and the place I’m in.

I never knew for certain that I would make it here in New York, an urban jungle that determines making it anywhere else in the big old world with all it’s big old cities. I didn’t doubt my abilities or my talents or my humble, caring attitude that I still believe gets me further than anything else. It’s even more powerful than the sound of my heels clicking miles before I appear. I wondered if I would become anther listless writer, another hopeless dreamer who lost her way somewhere between New Jersey and Queens. I didn’t know if I could convince someone to give me a chance or if I could even survive on the minimal salary that I knew would come with my very first big girl job.

But I did believe I should try.

Even if failed to a disappointing demise and had to tuck my Tigar tail and catch a flight to the bittersweet Carolina, I knew I had to give it a go. Remorse I could live with, regret I could not.

It all worked out– as I imagined it possibly would. And I worked myself out in the process. It’s easy and probably sensible to argue that these changes and these growths were mainly due to my age — so much happens in the years between when you’re old enough to buy a beer and when you face the big three zero. But I have to give credit to the city that made me brave. That made me a fighter. That knocked me down and encouraged me to never stay sitting for too long.

I often wonder if I’ll stay here in this island forever– if New York is where I’ll want to raise my children, should I be lucky enough to have them. I think about the days when I’ll move in with a man into a (nicer!) apartment and when I make more money to do more things, and yes, give me more responsibility and accountability. Though I feel like so much has happened on these avenues and in those changing wintry or steamy seasons, if I’m really honest, it’s really just begun.

And the beauty of not knowing my fate with my sweet and seductive city is just like not knowing my fate with anything else: it’s a little scary. But it makes me hopeful more than it makes me anxious. If so much good has happened and I’ve been able to move past the bad to find the parts that I can learn from — surely what’s ahead of me is even better than what’s behind me. Perhaps the heartaches and headaches and growing pains are far from over — but I do think that a love, an apartment, a moment with my wonderful Manhattan are silver linings I’ll one day be able to experience.

No, moving to New York has never been completely, totally perfect. Not my life here, not the dating adventures I always blog about. But you know what? That’s what makes it so amazing. That’s what makes it — and will always make it — so very worth it.

Baby, I Need Space

I’ve never actually lived with someone, though I’ve written on the topic several times. For whatever reason, the two times in my adult life I’ve had a gap in between leases, I’ve been lucky enough to be dating men who offer their apartments. Both times, I went into the situation attempting to view it as a mini-vacation with someone I care about…minus still having to work 9-6.

And yet, though each relationship is vastly different and the arrival of the “homeless” period arrived in varying points of the dating duration, at the end of both of my staycations with Mr. Idea and Mr. Possibility, I’ve found myself arriving at the same conclusion:

Baby, I need space.

Don’t get me wrong – Mr. Possibility is truly wonderful. I won’t go into the history (if you’d like, you’re welcome to research yourself, is not impossible to find) but in the last few months we’ve made significant progress. We’ve developed into a functioning couple that has yet to have a knock-out, drag-down fight, and we’re respectful of one another’s needs. There is intensity and fire, but I’d also consider him one of my closest friends – which to me, is more important than butterflies and channeling Prince Charminglike similarities.

But he does things to get on my nerves. In fact, he does several.

He’s not the tidiest person I’ve known, though most men are not (with the exception of his roommate who keeps a remarkably clean abode). He has his own set of mood swings and preferences of how he choses to carry his day-to-day life, and how he likes his apartment to be organized. His idea of grocery shopping is getting what’s on sale, even it is two-for-one ketchup, regardless if he needs ketchup or not. He doesn’t rinse the sink after he shaves and when he needs to work, he spreads his things as wide as the living room will allow him, and if I dare touch a paper, I swear I may lose a finger.

These are not bad things and they do not change the way I feel about him because I’m no different.

I have a tendency to shed, leaving him with strands of reminders of me on his shirts, his briefcase, and his coat. I will use the same cup all day long, refilling it with orange juice, then pouring the last little bit out, and repeating. I want to sleep in on the weekends until at least ten and he is programmed to wake at eight, no matter what day it is. I packed ten pairs of shoes for a three-week stay, and they’re strung about his room unorganized, even though I’ve made several attempts to keep them straight. In an effort to be helpful, I shrunk some of his shirts when I did the wash, and when I decided to bake cookies, I forgot to check the cleanliness of the oven and set off not one, but two smoke detectors.

It’s not just the quirks either though – it’s sleeping under the same roof, eating the same dinners, having actual discussions about domestic tasks and purchases, and not only watching TV on a Friday night together, but going out together the next Friday. It’s constantly being connected to the hip and feeling like you’ve lost some part of yourself, even if you’ve gained the coveted key to your guy’s place. And that kind of closeness, though intimate and ultimately what marriage may very well look like, can bring a girl to her knees – or to a bar in Union Square, frantically telling her friends how badly she needs space.

Usually requesting space brings anxiety and fear into the relationship, almost as a signal that it is nearing the end or facing rocky waters. Such is not the case with Mr. Possibility because emotional room isn’t what’s on the table. Rather, it’s just literal space.

Keys that belong to me. A closet to fill with my belongings, freeing them from a suitcase and one mini-drawer. A bed to collapse on that I paid for, that I can choose to make or leave messy because it’s mine and I don’t have to share unless I extend an invitation. An area to sit and write endlessly, without being interrupted, without the sound of a television blaring in the background, or debates about going out or staying in.

A space to be alone.

In the past, I never could wrap my head around my friends claiming “space” was a good thing – but now I see their point. A couple can spend too much time together. You can be around one another far too much. Shared interests, friends, and pursuits help bring you together, but if you overdo them, it can be what tears you apart. Without demanding and sticking to an individual regimen that gives you what you need outside of the relationship, even a duo that barely argues will feel smothered and bothered. And from there it only leads downhill – heated arguments over silly things, miscommunication under stress, less sex and play, and at the very worse, breaking up just to find an hour to exhale in privacy.

So maybe I’ll give space a break. Sometimes it is the remedy that doesn’t separate you, but ultimately bring you closer. But not too close for comfort.

A Daunting & Determined Dresser

Finally, the time has arrived for my new apartment move-in.

While I’ve enjoyed my time with Mr. Possibility, there is something about having your own room to be…well, you. I rose early this morning, ate breakfast with Mr. Possibility and headed across the river and uptown to my Upper West Side dwelling. When I arrived at my new place, grabbed the keys that are now officially mine, and peered into the empty space that would soon be filled with my things, I felt the same sigh of happiness I’ve felt with every budding residential beginning. Somehow, it feels like a second chance or third or tenth, whatever it may be.

I waited for Ikea to deliver my things, chatting it up with my new roommate, and the sublet who will be leaving soon. He is tall and intelligent, a fellow blogger, and a dude who moved to New York partly for his girlfriend. He will start Teach for America next month and they will be moving in together, and it was nice to hang out with a heterosexual dude discussing our own relationships, lives, and backgrounds. It was even nicer of him to help me piece together my furniture – or at least my dresser – when two non-English speaking, quite rude delivery men came and went without any exchange of words, just nods. Maybe a grunt or two.

With time to kill and wanting to shape my bedroom into some sort of functioning space before I sleepover there for the first time in a handful of days, I decided putting together my dresser would be the smartest move. I have more clothes than I do books, so the desk and bookshelf could wait longer than my piles of t-shirts, bras, and sweaters. The bargain-priced $150 six-drawer dresser in black/brown came in two extremely heavy boxes that my new friend carried into the other vacant bedroom.

We opened the boxes, listening to Queen, and drinking beer, and when the first cardboard hit the wooden floor, my jaw went with it. There had to be at the very least, hundreds of pieces – if you count the screws, plastic-things (yes, that’s the proper name), nails, and rollies (again, proper name). I was instantly a tad overwhelmed but once the package is opened, you’re better to put it together or you run the risk of losing essential parts. As we discovered once the dresser was assembled, Ikea doesn’t provide extra-anything in case you lose or mess up. The Swedish, apparently, don’t make excuses.

But R reassured me we could do it and he was determined to put his “manly-skills” to use, while listening to Maroon 5, John Mayer, and a random assortment of music that we both happened to like. The further we got along, the more the dresser started to actually look like a dresser…

…and the more impressed with myself I became.

I have hung curtains by myself, along with photos and mirrors. I’ve built a tiny bedstand that came in a very light box from Target. I own a toolbox I was given for high school graduation and I’m pretty comfortable doing simple projects. But I have never attempted something as complex as a dresser. Yet to my great surprise and satisfaction, I had created (with help from R) a functioning, standing-tall and strong, ready for my belongings, dresser.

After situating it in my room strategically, thanking and friend-requesting R, and grabbing sushi because I was near-starvation, I caught the train back to Brooklyn to finish packing up my “vacation” suitcase at Mr. Possibility’s. Proud of my accomplishment and sending pictures of my “pet” dresser to my friends, to brag about my craftsmanship, I thought about how many times, even in a week, we experience the daunting feeling of an unassembled dresser. And yet, with determination, find a way to fit the pieces together.

Earlier this week, I received some disappointing news about a freelancing gig I badly wanted at a magazine. The byline would have been great for my career and ego, and no matter what anyone tells you, rejection always sucks. It may become easier to stomach the older we get, but if we’re human and heartfelt, our hopes will always rise. And with that email turning me away, I felt the same dread and daunting feeling come over me as I did when I first saw my unassembled dresser in its box. But I pushed through, I emailed the pitch to other publications and I didn’t give up or give in to that ice cream sundae I thought I deserved, and by Friday, I attracted another bite. Another opportunity. Or with Mr. Possibility who sometimes can be as moody as me, especially when he’s stressed. Though we’ve never had a true argument, there have been times when I’d prefer the company of someone else over him. But give it a day or two and I’ll find myself missing him.

Life is often in a million pieces and it’s up to us to find a way to make them all connect. Because daunting feelings only last so long, and it really is determination and visualizing the finished product or scenario that gets us through it all. If we can always have the will to make it to the end, that sense of pride never gets old. Even if it is just over a dresser you made with your own two hands.

Just the Way It Is

A week from Friday, my current apartment’s lease is up. Two weeks later, my new apartment is ready for a proper move-in. In that span, I also will attend two weddings, close two months of magazines, organize two volunteer projects for children’s literacy, write around 21 blog posts, submit two revised freelancing pitches for national publications, collect two paychecks and a tax return, start to pair up a buddy system I created, and well, hopefully have drinks and adventures with those I love the most. If I’m lucky, I’ll get in at least four runs a week, too.

Oh my.

Everything I own, which is way more than I thought it was, is in piles of boxes, bags, and suitcases scattered across my studio, and all that remains unpacked is my planned attire for tomorrow, a bag of popcorn I’m counting as dinner tonight, a few dishes, and my bedding. For the next weeks, I’ll be living out of a suitcase while figuring out how to schedule a mattress delivery and deciding if I’ll buy a new dresser from Ikea or scope out Craigslist. Considering if took me nearly a month to commit to a comforter and sheets, I should probably start researching yesterday.

All of these changes and stress, both emotionally and physically, have not only caused an unexpected breakout at quite the unfortunate time, but I’ve found myself irritable and cranky, and overall, just exhausted. With a million worries circulating my mind, I haven’t been sleeping well and I wake up continuously to scribble a new task on my ever-growing to-do list by the light of my cell phone. For a few days now, I’ve been complaining to my friends, family, Mr. P, and really anyone who will listen to my so-called troubles. I don’t have enough this, too much of that, too little fun, too much work, too little help, too much going on to manage.

And in the middle of singing my woe-is-me song to a friend who’s been in the city far longer than I have , she interrupted and asked, “Linds, I love you – really. But do you really think you’re the first person to move apartments at an inconvenient time? This won’t be your last move and really, it may be your easiest.”

Touché , E, Touché .

While my blog is about me and can come off as self-absorbed, I promise I’m not. This is a space to spew and discuss, and while I’ve never considered myself the crème de la crème of New York women – in my weeks of transitions and in thinking of the ones to come, I’ve forgotten that this is just how the city is.  Just how being a 20-something is. It is, just how it is.

People unpack and then vacate their apartments – hence why they are apartments to start with. We rent until the lease ceases and then we find another place to call home (unless we stumble across rent-controlled, then we stay put forevermore). Landlords expect cash-flow to change, they raise prices and lower them, give deals to those who are good tenants, and if we’re tenacious enough, we may find a no-fee broker to help us get through the dirty work of the search. Up until we get married or decide we don’t need a ring to have a mortgage, we will continue to be in the cycle of the move: experiencing the freshness of a new space with a clean slate, and remembering fondly or in remorse of the address we used to claim.

And as fate would have it, my friend M from college will be taking over my apartment on May 1. Just as I did, she’s moving sans job but with bountiful determination. We’re in similar industries and an entry-level salary fits the price tag of this place, plus it comes with a glowing recommendation from me. Or maybe it’s appeal is that it allows her kitten to can come along on her new journey, too. While packing up my things, I continue to think of her and remember how I felt in those days before I made my big move. I felt a lot like how I do now – uncertain and a little frightened, but more ready than fearful. This change of ten blocks isn’t as huge of a leap as hundreds of miles like moving from North Carolina was, yet any scenery development can be worrisome.

And while I’m not her and I can’t speak for her feelings, I know what those shoes feel like before New York breaks them in. As every dreamer and overachiever does, she’ll find her footing and she’ll land on solid ground, while crashing-and-burning a few times along the way. If the ideal position doesn’t open up, she’ll hostess or be a temp until her career path leads her where she is moving to the city to follow. It won’t be easy and she will probably doubt herself a dozen or so times, but in the end, it will all make sense and it will all be worth it.

To remind her to take it day-by-day and to not let a tired spirit get in her way, I’ve hidden some notes here-and-there and I’m passing down a gift that was given to me that’s kept me going when my going got tough. And though I may not always listen to my own advice or the cautions of others, getting caught up thinking I’m the only Manhattan nomad –  I will pass along something else, written carefully and with love on an index card for M to see:

“It is just the way New York is. But really, you wouldn’t have it any other way.”

It’s the Little Things

My apartment smells like cardboard and glass cleaner. I’ve been sneezing for the last twenty minutes and if I squint my eyes and look intently, I think I can see my floor. I can’t tell if my throw-away pile or my climbing mound of packed boxes is higher, and I really never noticed how white my walls were until right about now, sitting and wondering if this room was always this big, or if it somehow grew in the last few hours.

I’m moving to a different part of New York and I couldn’t be less prepared. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve moved in my life and unlike other things, it never gets easier. In fact, I’d like to think it gets harder because I continuously accumulate more and more stuff. But like an evening following a stressful day and cooking in a tiny kitchen – I prefer to pack alone.

So, with a discovered airplane bottle of Grey Goose in the back of my fridge and orange juice, a green masque from the dead sea (thanks Mr. P), and the Best of the 80’s with some Sean Kingston and Adele mixed in (no judging of my musical eclecticness) – I started pulling apart and piecing together the contents of my tiny studio.

Admittedly, I’ve only given my apartment a thorough and heavy-duty cleaning once or twice in the entire time I’ve lived here. As my life become increasingly fuller and I found myself distracted from my address, I let things sit around and I forgot my in-the-moment organizing habits. I collect antique cigar boxes for decoration and occasionally for storage, and such a collection usually leads to random discoveries as well as many searches that leave me empty-handed. In a rush and without a conscious thought, I’ve tucked away things for safe-keeping and then kept myself away from them for months.

But maybe that’s the fun with boxes anyways, you open them and never know quite what you’ll find. Luckily for me, the surprise has never been a cockroach in an empty wooden container, but some findings I found yesterday were almost as scary.

Or at least, when I first saw them, I thought they’d be.

Unknowingly, we all attach emotion and sentiments to objects. It is why we started having “ex-boxes” in high school, to keep us from lingering over a lost love. Or the reason why as children, we grow attached to a blanket, a teddy bear, or a doll and carry it around to give us the comfort a sippie cup or bottle simply can’t. It’s why the engagement ring is something so many lust after – the symbolic meaning that you’re taken, that someone wants to love you forever, that someone gave you such an expensive, beautiful, or historical thing that tells the world you’re to-be-wed.

But as time passes, our attachment to things changes. Or maybe, it just lessens.

As I was going through my jewelry, safely placing in padded pouches the ones that meant the most to me, I came across a necklace Mr. Faithful gave me, nearly a decade ago. Still in good condition and still the same mini spec of a diamond it was then, it glistened in the light of my lamp and I just smiled. When we first broke up, I couldn’t look at it,  but by the time college was over, I found myself wearing it without even thinking of him. When I packed up my pajamas, I came across a pair I threw on the night my mother and I had to rush my father to the hospital when he was ill. After a night from hell, spent worrying and pacing, and attempting to get some sleep on uncomfortable waiting room chairs, I almost threw away the cotton pants out of disdain. Once my dad recovered and returned to the same adoring man I always knew, the pants stopped being so difficult to wear, and eventually, I grew quite fond of them and even took them with me to New York.

I stumbled across all sorts of things, frames that have seen a cascade of photos, from boyfriends and friends to family and pets, year after year as new friends, men, or experiences changed. Outfits I bought for a specific purpose, ones I bought with the intent to be ripped off of me, sweaters I bought for the first day of school that somehow still fit, and jeans that will no longer fit, no matter how much weight I lose or miles I run.

I came across dresses I wore frequently when I very first moved, but now can’t bear the thought of wearing in public, much less in Manhattan. Books that I read while riding the subway to my internship or laying in the Great Lawn in Central Park or the quad at my college. Notebooks from interviews I can barely remember conducting and quotes from sources I can’t picture in my head anymore. Shoes with a half-way broken heel I meant to get fixed and a skirt I loved that ripped at the seam and I swore I would learn to sew for the simple fact I badly needed to wear the skirt again (that’s still on the bucket list of skills to master). Notes from Mr. Idea I saved because they meant something to me, the pennies I found in my window seal of this apartment, and to-do lists I never finished.

All of these things, in significant or insignificant ways, meant something to me at one point. Some words in books I read or places I went while wearing specific shoes, or people I met while sporting a tight number – changed my life. But it wasn’t the book or the shoes or the dress that made an impact, those are just reminders of the experience. And while those memories stay with us, the emotion we attach to objects that really didn’t matter too much to begin with, fade away. We pack them up in boxes to donate or to sell. We decide to give some things a second chance and we forget how good we looked in shorts and tights. We stop seeing items as things that hold meaning and see them for what they are: just things.

And like us, they will go on to someone else. Someone who picks it up at the library or bookstore when we donate books, or someone at a consignment shop who sees potential in an old scarf we couldn’t see. Not just stuff, either, transforms in the hands for a new person – my apartment will gain a different inhabitant in a few weeks. They will make this space their own, they will bring their own meaningful things, and set up shop differently than I did, and in a manner diverse from the dozen or more people who have called this place their home before me. In a brownstone that’s nearly 100 years old, there is no telling how many residents have made a home in the very place I’m sitting as I type this blog, in 2011 at an antique desk, someone else has sat, too.

But things don’t need emotion, really. Nor do apartments. They just need people to use them, to fill them up with life, to give them a purpose, and then to let them go. Onto to the next person or the next use or maybe put an end to their functionality. Even then, trash often turns into Earth that molds into something new decades later – but I digress.

The point is, the cycle continues. People come and go, and so do things – but won’t people always continue to collect things? Collect memories attached to those things? And then let them go as easily as they came? Of course. It is the little things that matter, but keep in mind, the little things will always change.