My Journey…8 Months Later

8

April 22, 2013 by Colleen Morris

Well, I’ve been living here in the suburbs now 8 months. I came here with one foot still very much in Brooklyn, and still will always consider myself a New Yorker.

12 years, I resided in NYC. I survived 9/11, met & married my husband in Manhattan, was a regular at a true NYC Irish dive bar, went to grad school at NYU, lived in a 5 story walk-up on the fifth floor, ran a half marathon in Central Park, survived the concrete corporate jungle, bought a condo in DUMBO, birthed 2 babies, upgraded from single to double stroller status, survived the Brooklyn preschool process, was on a first name basis with my sushi delivery guy, and met some of the most fabulous mamas and friends a girl could ever have ALL in the best city on earth. I think this qualifies me as a New Yorker more than anybody else as far as I’m concerned.

Moving here to CT made me feel like I was losing this identity. I’ve never connected with any other place more than NYC. This was my home, who I was, and who I am. I had a very difficult time the first few months in the burbs. I felt very out of place. I cried often. I pleaded with my husband to go back.

I think it was culture shock. Here I was dropped in a small town with what seemed to be a tight knit community. It was difficult to penetrate. Fit in. And make friends with people who I really found a connection with. Drive everywhere. Let me repeat. Drive everywhere.

It was pretty rough the first few months. I won’t lie. I was in a negative space. Not happy with my decision moving here. Not happy with my husband’s commute. Not happy with my son’s preschool. Not happy with the thought of not being me. A confident, opinionated, liberal, occasionally outspoken, karaoke, spinning, running mama who has big dreams, loves to dance, and get crazy every now and then.

Where had this girl gone? She was there at MNO in the city with her girls. But how could this energy and personality possibly survive in this new sleepy town? How could my dreams possibly survive here in the burbs?

I was in a funk. Some might call it. And if you ever find yourself in this state of mind. Wake the fuck up! Do something. It took me 5 long months. I regret not doing something sooner. I thought I was just suppose to accept my new life the way it was. I thought that this was the way it was suppose to be. Not true.

SO I joined the highly recommended YWCA Newcomers group to meet new friends. I changed my son’s preschool which immediately had a positive impact. I started spinning at Stamford’s Chelsea Piers and Darien’s YMCA. I met some fab mamas in my new town and joined a weekly playgroup. I went on more date nights, couples nights, and local MNOs. I met with a graduate advisor. I went to a TESOL workshop. I started volunteer teaching. I found my groove. And I became me again. I kicked out my negativity and started seeing all the positives around me.

I now love my new town. It’s actually pretty friggin’ awesome. It’s not NYC. But that’s OK. When I need my city fix, it’s an easy car or train ride in.

I love the openness here. The space. The fields. The beach. The greenery. The nature. The cleanliness. The water. The tranquility. The peace.

I love my bagel place, and downtown cafes, restaurants, bars. I love my grocery stores. Stop n’ Shop, Whole Foods, Palmer’s Market, Trader Joe’s. I love my library. Love. My. Library. Love my son’s new preschool and parent community. Love my new friends. And new friendships forging. Love my new babysitter. Love my new volunteer work. Loving my new life.

I still feel very new here in my new town. Mostly because I still have so much yet to discover. I have yet to find a hairdresser. Yet to shop in all of our little mom & pop shops. Yet to explore all of our neighboring towns. Yet to have a summer here. Yet to try paddle tennis. Yet to go to the Darien Diner. Yet to do wine & pizza at Weed Beach with a group of friends. Yet to buy a house.

I finally realized I don’t have to give up NYC, or my identity with it, in order to be happy here. Yes, Darien, CT is extremely different than DUMBO, Brooklyn. It’s apples to oranges. But in the end, it currently suits our family’s needs better. Not saying it IS better. Just better for us right now. I will always love you Brooklyn but I’m ecstatic to finally say that Darien is my new home.

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8 thoughts on “My Journey…8 Months Later

  1. Sheri Silver says:

    I loved this – a lot. A born and bred Brooklynite (and graduate of Pratt) I never lived in NYC but worked there always and consider myself – of course – a New Yorker. I’ve lived in Irvington for 21 years and raised my children here exclusively. But I consider myself a New Yorker. I go in ALL THE TIME and it’s my preferred place to hang on the weekends. Now that I’m in “new mom” mode again with my toddler, we’re thinking of leaving NY completely for a totally different place and I can relate to the struggles you had as I forecast the struggles I may have. New York gets a grip on you and you truly think you can never ever leave. I admire your decision to take charge of your situation and make it great. Darien is lovely and it sounds like you’ve made a real turnaround. I enjoyed this piece so much!

    • Colleen says:

      Thanks for the comment, and sharing your experiences. Good luck in your next chapter. Change can be scary but good. Just have to find out how to embrace it!

  2. Thank you, your post made me laugh out loud remembering my panic attack after closing on the house in the burbs.

  3. Great post. I’ve been here a lot longer (five years this August, can it be?), and I still struggle a lot with missing the city and appreciating the ‘burbs for what they are.

    • Colleen says:

      Thanks for sharing, Jacquie. Some people flee the city happily when they get married or have kids, and others struggle like us. Thank goodness we’re only an hour way! Lol.

  4. Great piece! I moved here from the East Village with no kids, no golden retriever, and no office to escape to (I freelanced). I was despondent. Sixteen years and one ten-year-old later, I think I’m pretty lucky to have landed here. And ironically, the city has changed in ways that make it less appealing as a place to live–more homogenized (said the Darienite), less uniquely New York, in many ways. “A nice place to visit,” as they say. Thanks for the perspective.

    • Colleen says:

      Thanks for sharing! Lucky indeed. Great place to live. And even better place for your kid to grow up. Happy summer!

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