My Sabbatical in Seattle

“I’m leaving on a jet plane” …and I’ll be back when I can afford to live in NYC without a roommate.

On Friday, I left my beautiful Upper East Side apartment and came back to the West Coast for a much-needed sabbatical in Seattle (technically Bellevue, but New Yorkers always assume I’m referring to the mental hospital). Although this plan has been in the works since last year, I didn’t tell many people about it. Partially, because I’ve been too busy and exhausted to answer the same bloody questions from dozens of different people, and mostly because I didn’t have the emotional capacity to really think about it and “explain myself.” Even when I made it clear I didn’t want to discuss the details, some people were unintentionally pushy/nosy about it, which only stressed me out further and made things worse. So I wanted to keep things quiet until I left.

Without going into the gory details, this past year in NYC has been brutal in terms of my living situation – not to mention, disappointing. My roommate had a baby, which snowballed into a huge mess including a baby daddy who peaced out (he has “statistic” written all over him), leaving me to live with a screaming rugrat full-time, and have my days interrupted with unannounced guests. There were even a couple instances with strangers bursting into my room without knocking, waking my ass up after three hours of sleep. By the end of it, I couldn’t help but laugh at the level of blatant thoughtlessness, disrespect, and straight-up trashy aspect of everything I witnessed. I’d be a bit more understanding if I was dealing with some Teen Mom-aged kids who are just trying to figure out how life works; but when the culprit is several years older than me and pushing age 40, it’s not so cute. In fact, it’s downright gross. And I was embarrassed to share the same roof as that entire situation.

Needless to say, as someone who works from home, my business and finances took a huge nosedive with the added noise and interruptions. We’re talking tens of thousands of dollars lost. When you live in NYC, that’s not something you can recover from easily. After more than 60 days of crying myself to sleep every night out of stress, anger, anxiety, and frustration (yes, I counted), I finally came to terms with the fact that I had to leave the city for a little while, just so I can get back on my feet.

SIDE NOTE: For whatever reason, some people have a hard time comprehending the concept of being broke. I guess it’s because everyone says they’re “broke,” yet go on shopping sprees all the time. Not me. By “broke,” I meant “there’s $9 in my checking account, my credit card is maxed out, I have no savings account, and I haven’t eaten in two days.” So I was royally insulted when people made “suggestions,” assuming I hadn’t already thought of every possible way to stay in NYC, and not understanding that I HAD NO MONEY. Aka “not even enough for the deposit on a cheap studio in the Bronx.” UGH. Anyways…

Taking a sabbatical in Seattle is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made – especially since I literally put six years of blood, sweat and tears into New York, only for my hard work and goals to be compromised by someone else’s poor life decisions. To be honest, that’s the part that pisses me off most. I’m okay with “failing” or dealing with the consequences of my own mistakes. But I’m not okay with being at the mercy of another person’s mistakes. That being said, I’m finally at peace with the fact that my break from NYC is only temporary, and now I know that I will never again put myself in a position where my life can be compromised by a roommate. If that means I need to wait a little longer until I can afford my own place in New York, so be it. There’s worse things in life than not living in the big city for a year or so. I love NYC, but it doesn’t define me. Plus… if I had it my way… I’d still be living in the UK.

At the end of the day, I’m no good in business, relationships, or any other area when I’m clinically depressed or severely unhappy. So I’m incredibly grateful that I have a West Coast home to come back to, which will allow me to work in peace, save up money, catch up on sleep, and just BE for awhile. In fact, when I looked out the window of my non-United Airlines plane and saw the Cascade mountain range, I felt a wave of relief. I don’t even like the West Coast, but I haven’t had a break in six years; and I’m truly spent financially, mentally, and emotionally. This hiatus from NYC is going to be an exciting time filled with travel, rest, and career stuff, which I haven’t been able to do or enjoy since I moved there.

It’s bittersweet when I think about it – because when you take away shitty roommates and financial stress, my life in NYC is effin’ epic. But I’ll be back. The only thing that would keep me away is if life throws another weird curve ball at me, and I end up somewhere like… I don’t know… England again? *WINK* I might even be back in New York later this year to cover fashion week, so this is definitely not the end of my NYC life. I’m just taking a break after having my ass handed to me. And when I make my “triumphant return,” I’ll be stronger and in the right frame of mind to do it all over again.