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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

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. → 

« Tartar-sauce-loving witches will dislike me after this one. | Main | Questions, questions. »

The answers! My god, the answers!

Never let it be said that you people don’t have opinions. And my word, how much you’ve all moved. I must be unusual in my fondness for remaining in one place. If I moved to a new apartment in Brooklyn, I had to break out the smelling salts and spread myself across my fainting couch for at least the first month. But you, you adventurous types! You’re all when I lived in Tanzania I also felt some ennui and the first few months in Bangladesh were fairly tough. And here I am, living FORTY MINUTES (gasp!) from my old hometown, and weeping into my neckerchief over it.

First of all, I apologize for writing a post like that, which captured my feelings at that exact moment, feelings which changed fifteen minutes later and why don’t I wait an hour or so before posting something? It’s lovely, the way I puke all over the Internet, and all you nice people come rushing to clean me up. (Not that fifteen minutes later I decided I loved it here and we would never move—but as the day wore on, the need to GET OUT certainly felt far less desperate.)

That said, your insight was quite valuable, and you are all fine citizens of the Internet. The comments fell squarely into two camps: 1) We should give this place a year, and then reassess, and 2) We should move right now because life is too short to be miserable. Then there was the occasional “get over yourself” comment, which okay no one actually SAID, but I know some of you were thinking it. I know this because I can read your thoughts. Right now you’re thinking about dinner. You’re going to have chicken.

At first the comments that shrieked GET OUT! filled me with delight. Yes! We’re city folk! Back to the city we go! I still have my library card! And the comments that urged us to wait and weigh the pros and cons and give it time --oh, how they chafed. How tiresome, I thought. You sensible people are a total bummer.

But then this morning I re-read the comments, and the “wait it out” party all of a sudden sounded far more appealing. Because honestly? We’re not utterly miserable. We’re not surrounded by rednecks, as some of you seem to be. (And for this I am sorry.) We have nice neighbors. There’s, like, culture, and stuff. I suspect we can find ways of making ourselves feel better, here and now. (Not spending a sunny Saturday arguing in Home Depot, for instance.)

Then, of course, there’s Henry, and his school is all set for next year. Pulling him out of school a month early this spring near to killed me, and he loves his camp (which will hopefully become his school in the fall if someone pulls out and we get off the waitlist, oh please oh please), and I’m not taking that away from him.

So: we’re going to continue on this rollercoaster ride of adjustment. It’s a decidedly undramatic decision, but on the other hand it doesn’t entail buying multiple rolls of bubble wrap. Meanwhile, we’ll act as if we’re moving back, we’ll get prices on rentals, maybe we’ll even look at a few. And come spring, if we’re still feeling like Brooklyn is home, then we know what to do.

Or we’ll be just as clueless as we are now, and I’ll be back here, begging you for more advice.


Reader Comments (87)

Yay! I'm glad you're staying for a bit.
August 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJ
We live next to rednecks, too. But they are rednecks with a POOL and a stocked fridge of beer! So, you know, don't knock it till you've tried it.

I know you will work it all out and if I ever think of any actual useful advice, I will share it.
August 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterchristy
I'll say it - get over yourself! stick it out - decide to make the place your home, and it will be. That was my theory when I moved to the city I live in now - I felt displaced for a few months, but once you decide it's your home, you make it so. Our family is getting ready to make a cross-country move to a new city where we know no one and will be about a 14-hour drive away from our family - if I took your attitude I think my kids would never get over it and neither would I. I'm convinced that if I decide the place will be great and I'm going to throw myself into it, and help my family rather than drag them down, then the experience will be a positive one and our new home will BE our new home. (at least I'm giving it that chance rather than weeping daily and infecting my kids with negativity; I could be wrong, but I hope I'm right). Love your blog, but toughen up.
August 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commentercsb
School and meeting all the moms and finding new friends should help. In the end it's all about the people rather than the place, they are what make up the community and keep you sane or send you insane.

If your heart is still in Brooklyn after that, just follow your gut feeling and find out what is in the next chapter.
August 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKit
I doubt you will ever read this, comment #80, but my conscience won't rest. If moving back to Brooklyn is a concern because of Henry's education--that's a problem that can most certainly be solved. Homeschool him. It isn't difficult--and it isn't JUST for right-wing conservatives with a bajillion kids! Honest. Check out Mental Multi-vitamin's blog--you will relate to her! Chech especially her older posts when the family lived in Chicago. Wishing you all the best!
August 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAlana
Alice, it's possible that what's making you hate where you live is the Horrible Fact of New Jersey Summers: Even though there are more trees and grass here, and we're way north of the Mason-Dixon line, it's somehow hotter and more humid than frickin' Florida, everyone is on vacation and all of the kids are away at camp, so it's both hot AND desolate and lonely. I really do think things will improve in the fall, when school starts and everyone gets into a routine. I know I feel a lot better when I have things I need to do, plans, a schedule. And I definitely feel better when it's cool enough to enjoy sitting out on the porch. For no other reason, you should stay there for a year so you can see if you like it when it's not inner-armpit season.
August 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDebl
If you met someone for a first date, and they showed up on your doorstep and threw their arms out and said, "MAKE ME LOVE YOU!" you'd look at them like they were nuts, right?

Why do that with your new home? Until you develop some history with another person, you cannot feel attached to them. It's the same with a house.

One of the tricks to becoming emotionally attached to your new home is very effective, but it is so simple that you may overlook it.

Create, within your home and around your property, little sacred spaces that are your own. Put a some of your soul into your new house.

Plant a little herb garden (even if it's just in small pots on your kitchen windowsill) and decorate it with a figurine or piece of driftwood - any little thing that is special to you.

Take some small gift that your mom gave you, and put it where you will see it every day.

Decorate your new home with photographs and mementos of your favorite people and places (on every wall of my cottage hang photographs that I took in Scotland).

In short, make your home the place where you are surrounded by your favorite memories, and it will become your favorite place - the place where your heart wants to be at the end of the day.

Also, don't let some dork in a glossy magazine tell you how to decorate your home. Let it be an expression of who you really are. Then you will be as comfortable in your house as you are in your skin.

Might sound too easy, but it worked for me, in each of the eight places I've lived.

- M
August 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMarcheline
But that's how I met my husband!
August 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteralice

Good one, Alice.

Everybody loves you so much. I must visit more often.
August 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterShiz
Oh, and kudos on the use of the Simpson's reference.
August 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterShiz
Alice, you are *so* not alone in your preference for staying in one place. Not only do I want to stay in the same city for the rest of my life, I'd like to stay in the same house (although after 23 years in our "starter" house we're starting to outgrow it).

When I was little my parents moved six times in my first twelve years, and I hated--*hated*--being uprooted all that time.

When I got older my goal was to find a little spot and make a nest for myself and stay there.

Now I'm willing to move once more (to make a slightly bigger nest for myself) but that's it.

By the way, I adore your blog.
August 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
Hi, lurker here.

I read all the comments on your last post feeling conflicted. We are considering moving from Los Angeles to the South and I'm terrified at how we'll feel once we get there. At the same time, unlike so many of the people who say 'go with your gut'... my personal gut doesn't know anything. My gut is full of shit (hey, that's actually true.) and it leads me astray and it waffles and it's kind of mean sometimes. Although it was right about that one guy.

If your gut is also a little misleading at times, different than Oprah's gut which she describes as a laser-guided missle, then I'd let all the gut screams settle a bit and wait until the quiet voice in your head speaks up loudly and helps to guide you.

Wait! I just gave you more advice!! SORRY.

August 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie

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