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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
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Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it.

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Monday
Aug072006

Questions, questions.

How can you tell if a place just isn’t right for you?

When do you decide you’ve had enough?

At what point do you tell yourself, I’ve given this a fair shake, and I don’t like it, and at least now I know?

We don’t like it here. We just don’t. It’s not the house. We love the house. It’s everything else.

We’re terrible homeowners. The constant deterioration of one’s home and the resulting need for regular maintenance fills us with panic. We resent the weekends being used up by trips to Home Depot or the nursery.

We’re farther from both our families. Our days of getting free babysitting from the grandparents are over. Henry misses them.

I never realized how much I would hate not being able to walk to something.

There’s so much else. But in the end what it comes down to is: it’s not Brooklyn. Which I knew, moving in! Didn’t I know that? Why am I so surprised? I suppose because I lived in the suburbs growing up, and thought I knew what I was getting myself into.

We’re thinking of returning to Brooklyn and renting. Finding a place we can afford in a good school district may actually be impossible for us, but we’re looking into it.

I feel like a failure. We will undoubtedly take a loss on this place. All I can think is, why did we move? Why did we listen to everyone else telling us we had to leave the city, and not to ourselves?

Or are we being premature? Should we tough it out? When do you really know something isn’t right?

Reader Comments (160)

If you still feel like you're transitioning, then I'd say give it some time. Three months sounds like it might be frustration over how hard transitions are, but to each their own! It took me a year with a big transition before I felt any pride of ownership or happiness with our decision. Now, I'm content with our new life, I still believe our reasons for doing it, and have decided to just live with the things I miss and visit the city as often as I can. It's sweeter that way.
August 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterProudMary
I don't know, but my aunt has lived in the city nearly her entire adult life. When she was pregnant with her third or fourth child (I forget), she decided that the next logical step was to move to NJ. They packed up, bought a gorgeous house in the suburbs, and spent about 9 or 10 months hating every second until they found a new place back in Manhattan. Where they have been ever since. Four kids and all. For her, she just knew.
August 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLori
I'm with the people who say Wait! Moving after three months would be insane. It takes a long time to get used to a place, longer than a year even, probably.

And you can blame the pragmatic streak in my personality for my dour words - but, getting on with it is one of the boring bits of adulthood in between all the drinking; however the ability to just knuckle down and not give up and keep thinking of the good things is ultimately very positive.

You love the house! This is great. You've mentioned before that your husband's career is not the stablest so your house ix also your future retirement fund;

It does take a long time to get used to a place. I've moved countries three times and cities five times since I was ten (I'm 26 now). And I still say it - I know I live here, and I'm used to it- but ultimately I don't feel completely at home in England. I miss my old country - so many things about it! Living in England always feels a little like being a guest in someone else's house - where you feel very good, but not ever completely at ease.

You love your house. That is a good start. I love my house. That's something I focus on when other things tick me off, just like I focus on the fact that I love my husband when he does something that irritates me and does it several days in a row. 40 minutes is not such a terrible commute - you can still get into the city, and true it's not as convenient as walking BUT also suburbs don't have the incovenience of quite so much smog and crime and grime. And if you have another baby you could afford to raise it somewhere other than a shoe cupboard!

Ultimately if you hate the burbs, then go! But don't make that decision before you've given the place a fair chance.Good luck.
August 10, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterN
Wow. Several things. I've read your blog for almost a year, LOVE it, LOVE you. This is my first comment, and I just couldn't NOT comment on this one.I must thank you for helping ME and my family justify the decision we're about to make. We moved from Arkansas to PA 9 months ago. Thought it would be a good move. My husband and I both grew up in PA, all our family is here. Been in AR for 13 years, went through absolute hell for a while, but it really felt like home, although we missed the family terribly. Moved back to PA, thinking it was the right thing to do, but ever since getting here, we've both been in a funk. It just isn't where our hearts are. So what's in Arkansas? That FEELING, that comfort, that sense of peace in just BEING, no matter what the physical circumstances are. The result, I'm leaving in two weeks to go back to AR, find us a place to live, and he'll be down soon afterward to start rebuilding our life and looking to the future. I don't believe it's what you "grew up with," but what you've learned about yourself as you go through life. Although we're going the opposite way, all our family is in PA, and we're going to AR alone, no babysitters, no family cookouts, to make the best of the schools and other resources there. And to make our hearts, and our lives, the happiest we can make them. That, I believe is the best lesson and gift we can give our kids.I feel for you Alice, and wish you comfort and peace with whatever decision you come to.
August 10, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSARPudel


I am a very firm believer in the old addage that "you only get to live once and you should enjoy every minute of it to the best of your ability"...or something like that. :o)

Especially if you and hubs are feeling resentful, it's time to move on.

There's something to be said about "sticking it out" but..."Home" is NOT a residence, an address or an "all american dream" of living in the suburbs...it is where your heart and happiness lies.

I was in the same boat recently....I divorced and had the opportunity to "hold on" to the house (with a fight of course)but I realized that the house was a major chore for me which was financially, physically and emotionally draining me and I realized that the "dream" I had dreamnt of home ownership had becme a nightmare.I liked the permanance of home ownership and yet I HATED the permanence of homeownership.

I didn't realize until we had actually sold the place what a weight had been lifted from my shoulders and the feelng of freedom that came along with it.

I no longer feel "tied down", a slave to the house. I am now renting or flushing my money down the toilet (as I used to believe) but I still have the pool, I just don't have to clean it, I still have the gorgeous yard and landscaping with flowers and shrubbery, I just don't have to mow, maintain, fertilize, prune and pay for it anymore.

Right now....this is what works for me and until it no longer does...this is where I will stay. I am happier now than I have been in many years. I have no regrets.

Do what your heart is telling you to do and decide where the hearts of your family members lie. If it's not there then it's time for changes.

Best of luck and happy hunting!!Dawn
August 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDawn
I say give it some more time.

Don't further compromise your finances by rushing into and out of things faster than you can handle them.

Sure, you can move back to Brooklyn - any time you want - but why rush it? At least give your furniture time to create dents in the carpet where you are before you go deciding anything!

Slow down. Breathe. You don't actually have to make any decisions right now. Whatever you do today, you can change tomorrow. Just because you own a house now doesn't mean you have to own one forever.

But you own it now. Be the owner.

Give it a chance! Of course it's not the same as the place you left - but that means that there are also benefits and great things that you will discover (unless you run away immediately) about your new place that your old place could never give you.

Try to remember the reasons that you moved out. They were probably pretty good, or you wouldn't have gone through all the hassle of moving in the first place - right?

All these people telling you to "follow your heart" and move back right now have the luxury of the fact that THEY don't have to do the packing, the moving, the losing of money on the house, the finding of a new apartment...

It sounds great in the movies, but reality is a bit tougher.

- M



August 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMarcheline
We did this. Moved from Manhattan to Westfield NJ. And 6 months later we were back in the city looking at apartments. We didn't move back to NYC but we did move from New Jersey a few years later back to our home city, Chicago. I never assimilated. But I will say that lots of ppl have done what we did -- move from the city to the suburbs -- and found much happiness. Give it a little time. You have the luxury of choice.
August 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCassandra
We did this. Moved from Manhattan to Westfield NJ. And 6 months later we were back in the city looking at apartments. We didn't move back to NYC but we did move from New Jersey a few years later back to our home city, Chicago. I never assimilated. But I will say that lots of ppl have done what we did -- move from the city to the suburbs -- and found much happiness. Give it a little time. You have the luxury of choice.
August 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCassandra
Maybe just not the right place for you? I grew up in NJ, in a small town 30 miles from the city. I walked to my elementary and high schools, convenience store, pizzaria, deli, and the Lakeland bus stop and NJ Transit trainstop to the city. Maybe you are in too much suburbia. Could there be a more happy medium.

PS, I grew up in Boonton. It really is a nice place, despite the Sopranos.
August 27, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterlaura
Life is too short to waste time in places you hate. As it is, the real estate bubble is over, and if you put your house up tomorrow, you could still be there for six more months. With this in mind, you'll have another 1/2 a year to change your mind. But I'm betting on Human Nature that you won't.
August 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

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