Where have I been and what’s up next?
To say this blog has not been very active in 2018 would be an understatement. This post is not meant to introduce any excuses, because there is always a way. There are so many bloggers in this sphere with demanding jobs, kids, aging parents, you name it – who still somehow manage to produce a neat 2 scheduled posts a week. That’s not me. And this blog quite simply wasn’t my priority this past year.
2018 has been challenging and confronting and just hard. I think you could probably look back on most years and say that. But 2017 had felt…pretty good. Not without its challenges, but good. I was thrilled to be finished with grad school and working a steady job. I was in a long-term relationship. I moved, but only once (that’s pretty good for me!). I stayed in the same position at work. Friends and hobbies were steady and made me happy.
2018 was a year of change and transformation.
My relationship ended right at the end of 2017, leaving me in a tailspin for the first half of 2018. That breakup was terribly sad for me and something I struggled with day in, day out for many months afterward.
I had been interviewing for jobs for several months and landed a dream job in the spring of 2018. I was ecstatic about the organization and the role I would be moving into, but the job I accepted was in New York City. That put a relocation on my horizon, not just to a different city but to a different country.
I sat in limbo for months, still going to my old job while filling out visa and tax forms, anxiously waiting to hear from my immigration attorney. I was still reeling from my breakup. I felt completely lost and I struggled with severe anxiety for the first time in my life. I cried at my desk at my old job. I had my first panic attack, also at the desk of my old job. My poor cubicle mate.
I wondered when I would move to New York, how I would get my things there, how I would find a place, how this new job would go…there were so many unknowns and I couldn’t take action on most until I had a visa in hand and a tentative moving date.
Around mid-2018, my H1B was approved and I had an entry date for the US about two weeks later. In a flurry, I moved my things into storage, vacated my apartment, booked a plane ticket and said some tough goodbyes. I loved my city. And I loved living in Canada. To say leaving was bittersweet would be putting it mildly.
But New York City has long been a favourite city and I was so excited about what the new months and years would hold. I arrived during a steamy, muggy heatwave that descended on the northeast in early July. My work start date was postponed for a week and so I had a week to acquaint myself with what life in New York City would be like.
I arrived to my short-term rental in Harlem and spent most of my time in the apartment fanning myself in front of the one A/C, a diligent but small window unit in no way meant to cool a 2-bedroom apartment. I spent the rest of my time wandering around my neighbourhood, sitting in St Nicholas park, finding my spots for good coffee and cheap food. I trekked downtown to do a touch of sightseeing but the heat was defeating.
I spent the 4th of July sitting on my fire escape, drinking Campari on the rocks with a dear old friend. There was a huge BBQ going on in someone’s backyard downstairs and we people watched and listened to firecrackers being set off in the streets nearby. The music from block parties pounded off the brick and I sat, sweaty but happy, soaking it all in.
July was chaotic. I lived with an old friend for that month while I started my new job and apartment hunted for a place in August. House hunting in New York is stressful at the best of times but I lucked out and only had to look at a couple places before I found what is now my home, sharing a 2-bedroom in Brooklyn with a roommate.
The chaos carried over into August. I had to fly home to get my things out of storage and shipped to the US. I was trying to get in the swing of my new job. I was in survival mode at home and at work, trying to make sense of my new role by day and gradually unpacking boxes at night. I had visitors streaming in and out of NYC at the time as well. It was a delight to have loved ones come and visit, especially at a time when I really craved the emotional support, but it added layers of commotion on top of everything else.
And the fall has been…simply trying to be.
I have finally started to feel a little more settled, but moving is never easy and there are still many question marks. I have chronic health issues, and navigating the health care system in the US has been intimidating and scary. Work picked up a lot and I have traveled for work three times in three months. That may not sound like a lot, but it was certainly more than I had been expecting and, when paired with personal travel, means that I have been on a plane at least once a week for the last six weeks. It has been hard to start building a life here when I am in and out of town fairly often.
All of this is to say that other things were taking my time and energy in 2018. This blog fell right to the bottom of the list. What does this mean for 2019?
The short answer is…I have no idea. I am not here to re-commit to a regular blogging schedule. I cannot promise that there will be posts weekly, or monthly even. But I know that I have missed writing and as my life hopefully re-shapes and settles in 2019, I look forward to getting out of survival mode and prioritizing things I love again. Part of me wants to close down this iteration of the blog, and re-brand with a new domain and new name. I am not ready to pull the trigger, though, so time will tell on this.
I will say one thing before coming to a close on my first post of 2019. 2018 was hard and stressful and scary, but the one thing that made everything better was having money. I had a $4000 moving fund. I had enough saved for a security deposit and first month’s without being stretched thin. I had a cushion for my healthcare. I went to therapy, and could afford it. Having my money life somewhat in order made everything easier. There were moments of deep anxiety where I could just throw money at the problem – and that’s exactly what I did. It has been liberating to finally feel like I am on the right track financially and see how tremendous of an impact that can make on your quality of life and well-being.
I hope to keep sharing more in 2019, friends.