reentry

Brooklyn, Brooklyn, take me in

It’s wild to think we’ve been back in New York for four months now. It was four months ago today, actually, that I returned to work at my old law firm, walking the same familiar corridors, gazing out at the same familiar view of the city stretched out for miles and miles from my perch on the 52nd floor.

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I will never grow tired of that view.

I’m working with many of the same folks I worked with years ago, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt a catch in my throat at hearing the words “welcome home” from co-workers here and in our other offices.

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It really has felt like a homecoming, a return to a place that, in many ways, I feel I never should have left.

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We had our reasons for leaving New York. We needed a break. We thought we were moving toward something… a home, stability, a safe and quiet place to set down roots and build a life. And it wasn’t all bad – our time in Rhode Island gave us Julian, and I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the whole entire world.

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But there were big things, ugly things that happened while we were there, things that still cause a great deal of pain. The wounds have healed, mostly, but we still bear their scars.

There are times I wish we could get those four and a half years back.

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When I left Detroit and my first husband in 2001, I swore to myself that no matter what happened in life, I would live with no regrets. “Everything happens for a reason,” as my beloved and very wise Grandma always says. I would learn from my inevitable mistakes; even the bad stuff holds a lesson. And yet…

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Reentry has been hard. Much harder than I expected it would be. And while I am still absolutely certain that moving back to New York was the right decision for me, for Mike, for Julian, I’ve been struggling with what to do now that we’re here. What is this next phase of our life going to look like? How do we make this new life, this second act into everything we want it to be?

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We landed in a neighborhood we knew next to nothing about, coming in, and which we have fallen in love with quickly and hard. We’re slowly establishing routines, gradually getting to know our neighbors and other parents and kids in the area, exploring the markets and greenmarkets and restaurants and bars in our new nabe, venturing out to revisit our old favorites and old friends when we can.

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We’re shopping and eating our way around our new neighborhood and our new-old city, and we’re cooking our way through the rough spots, because that’s how we make connections, that’s how we persevere. It’s just what we do.

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We’re settling in, hopefully for the long haul.

But I still feel like something isn’t quite right yet, and I can’t put my finger on it.

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Maybe this is like seeing your high school sweetheart for the first time after being away at college… you’re still the same person you were before, and you still recognize the things you loved about him or her back then, but you also know that you’ve changed, and you are acutely aware of what’s new and different about yourself and that person you shared so much with.

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Maybe it just takes time to figure out what your relationship is going to be like as a couple of adults, with four years of heartbreak and healing and loss and recovery and growing up under your belts. Being together is comfortable and blessedly familiar. It’s safe. But is it right? Is it meant to be, built to stand the test of time? I know who I am, now, but who are we together?

heart of the cauliflower

How do we move forward, and get back to that sweet space where we once were, where we fit together so easily and well?

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Time will tell, I suppose. And in the meantime, we’ll be shopping and eating our way around our new neighborhood and our new-old city, and cooking our way through the rough spots, because that’s how we make connections, that’s how we persevere.

It’s just what we do.

6 thoughts on “reentry

  1. Thank you!!! I love this quote: cooking our way through the rough spots, because that’s how we make connections, that’s how we persevere. I may make it a mantra.

    I’m going through a god awful break-up–I just left my lovely apartment in Park Slope for Portland. My ex (who destroyed our relationship and family because of his addiction to his student who happens to live in your new neighborhood). I also left my stepchildren behind, and I loved being a mom. My ex criticized me for not fostering connection and spirituality. He just never got how I did it–through the food I cooked and home I built for us. And he loved that about our relationship.

    I bounced around for months. Only recently, have I been able to cook again. And I finally feel like myself (although parts of depression are also returning now that I’m settling in).

    Thank you…

    • Thank you – and I’m so sorry about all the crap you’ve been through… are still going through. I know all too well how hard depression and the fallout from an ugly breakup can be. Thinking of you, and sending you hugs from BK.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Thank you. I think the risk of depression is behind me–always scary when intense sadness hits if it’s going to turn into depression. Posts like yours help.

    And btw, if you haven’t figured it out, I’m beanaling

  3. Lynn K says:

    J, M & J – I am so happy for you that you are back in NY – however I am still sad for all of us in RI that miss you!!! I hope you continue to enjoy your new community…sending you lots of love from here…

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