After all of my bitchin'-n-moanin' over the past 2 years about missing NYC/Weehawken and feeling trapped in Austin, etc., I just recently realized: When I get my last paycheck for my temp job ending August 31, I will have $10,000 in the bank. More than enough to make the move back up north if I wanted to. Wow. Freedom to do EXACTLY what I (thought I) wanted to do.
The thing is, though: I'm still TIRED. Still scarred from the trauma (it was a HUGE trauma) of both the year-long decline while still up north (no regular work, the inevitable having to leave getting closer each day) and of the coming home 2 years ago, then all the shuffling around from place to place getting re-situated (my mom's old house in San Antonio, then her new house in Austin a month later, then the apartment I'm now in, 2 months after that). It was a nightmare that I don't feel quite ready to potentially re-visit just yet.
Of course, the second time around, I'd know a little more and do a few things differently:
[Picture here the movie "Bonnie & Clyde," where, in bed while they're on the lam, Bonnie asks Clyde contemplatively what he'd do over again if he had the chance. She's hoping for something like "Get a job at a store, get a little house..." but instead he muses, "Well, first, we'd pull our jobs in different states..."]
(1) Sign right up for temp legal proofing that it took me 8 months to figure out how to get, for one thing. (And this time I'd be a veteran, not a newby that people were taking a chance on.) Take ANY temp job offered me instead of declining secretarial stuff. And this time, I'd already be in with one publishing company that's been sending me stuff every couple of months for the past 2 years.
(2) Avoid roommates from Craigslist! :) Sublet a place for one month. That time allowing me to search for apartments. Focus immediately on New Jersey: Weehawken, West New York, Union City---where rents are much cheaper than NYC but travel into the city only takes 15 minutes. (Last time I went in totally blind, not knowing ANY area, and certainly being scared of Jersey!) :)
(3) No cat to worry about this time. (Poor Gracie!) :( And having a lot less stuff sent. (Last time, my poor mom had to mail me my computer tower and boxes-and-boxes of books, clothes, etc.) This time I'd carry my laptop on the plane with me. Have my iPod dock and ONE box of books/ONE box of clothes sent, the rest in my suitcase with me. And know that I could find a cheap TV for $20 and a cheap bed for $200, and cheap plates/glasses/flatware at dollar stores. It really doesn't take much to set up housekeeping. I've found that you just really need a bed, a table, a TV, and a computer.
Hey, maybe I'm talking myself into something! :)
Nah. Even given the above, I pretty much don't feel like Starting Over YET AGAIN! I did it in New York the first time, I've been doing it back in Austin for 2 years now. I kind of want to RELAX just a little bit!
And I'm also much more aware of the negatives: The pay for publishing jobs up there is about the same as the pay down here. And the rents are more than double. (Half of monthly income going to rent, as opposed to a third or so.) The first time, I thought I'd find a glamorous job in a publishing house. In fact, there are billions of girls from the city and from Ivy League schools just as good as I am (and with much better pedigrees), and who, because they're subsidized by their parents at first, can easily work for $30,000 a year while making their way up the ladder to better jobs. I'm no spring chicken and don't have the luxury of starting at the bottom any more. And, after nearly 30 years of renting, I'm ready to spend my middle years in a nicer place. In New York, I'd be able to afford a tiny one bedroom, if that. I want the 2-bedroom house I rented from 2000 to 2007 back!! :) I can have that here in Austin, eventually. I can't ever have that up north. I also want REAL furniture again! No more particle-board bookshelves, etc. I've been stretching and straining for 5 years now, up until the last few months of this temp job. I LIKE having clothes and new books and new CDs! I LIKE the idea of my current building up instead of tearing down and starting from scratch YET AGAIN.
Still, the feeling's melancholy. A final seal on my Youthful Dreams and Ambitions. And a definitely middle-aged adult want/need to "hunker down" and try to salvage what I can. (My new "dream": Not to live in a one-room apartment when I'm old!) :) It's personally sad, but it's not tragic.
I had to laugh at myself when I saw the below cartoon from Roz Chast in The New Yorker a few weeks ago. I kinda feel like those people as far as what my meager impetuses are at the moment! :)
The dream is over. What can I say.