I’ve lived in Brooklyn, New York City, for 12.5 years. And by the end of this year, we will be moved to the country.
We close on *this* house in just two days. It’s been a long journey to get here, but here is our “new”, totally romantic, 200-year-old house. With an abundance of light, space, and nature, it is absolutely beyond anything I ever thought I would live in.
A little backstory, I’ve never owned a home. For much of my adult life, the thought of owning property filled me with a sense of over-responsibility and aversion. I liked the idea of freedom untethered to ownership. Not having to invest very much in the space I dwelled. Transience, and convenience. But as I have realized in my 35 years on earth, life is constantly moving as a current underneath you. No matter what certainty you feel within your own identity and compass, the dissonance of the quickness and slowness of flowing life leads you through many cycles of death and rebirth. And it should.
This year, I have felt I have been on a precipice of great change heading into the next chapter of my life. Things had started to feel like shifts, endings. Activities that used to fill me with inspiration and energy, now felt a little more itchy and constricting, like a sweater that doesn’t quite fit anymore. I’m sure there is a predictability to this new desire, this earth-phase of life where I now crave space to BE, a home to create an oasis within for myself, my family, my friends, my business, and my FYF tribe. But I don’t care much for how predictable it is. I felt the truth of this in my bones.
Murray (my husband) and I began talking about the prospect of leaving the city for a little while now. He isn’t a city dweller at heart, and while I HAVE been for over a decade or more, it has now been long enough here to build a desire contrast for a new daily experience. On that note, never underestimate the power of building up a desire for your own contrast. This is a valuable part of life (of everything, really), the impermanence and inevitable change of things being the actual creator of genuine appreciation for both sides of the coin. My desire to leave city life built…. while walking on too much concrete all the time, seeing too much concrete all the time. By noise. People, people, everywhere. Crowds of people. People who can’t respect your own boundaries, because space and awareness just doesn’t allow. Chaos, that you build denial and suppression up against to convince your energy is not there. Not enough space. Smells. Traffic. Relentless ambition. Pretentiousness. Competition. Garbage. Chaos. The fact that *time* in NYC feels tighter, restrictive, that there isn’t enough (any NY’er can attest to this odd distortion/illusion of our sense of time).
Of course, these things **are the reasons I found my true self here**, found what I wanted to do with my life, found my love, my people, my dance, my creativity, my autonomy, my business, found so many absolutely irreplaceable things. New York birthed me, in many senses. And will always be a beacon of inspiration to me. But what doesn’t change, doesn’t change. Someone told me once a beautiful metaphor about reliance and dependency. A pair of crutches are a life-saver when you injure your foot. It allows you to get around when you can’t, it supports you in a time when you need it the most. But if you don’t let them go? If you keep using those crutches when your body is ready to walk on it’s own, it becomes your handicap, your atrophy.
So, what my life pulls me towards now? To be able to feel more space for the energy in/outside of my body, rather than walk around constricted because of the denseness of people, activity, and chaos. A desire for the access to the abundance of more natural things. Grass. Plants. Trees. Forests. Animals. Sunsets. Stars. I feel my creativity needing more time and space as well, this city is one of total DOING, constantly, and while I am comfortable in that pace, and productively I may thrive in bursts, I feel that the creations within me that will be born in the next decade need a different environment. I want to create from BEING first, this is where the root of what I feel the best of what I have to share is. And New York just makes it difficult to create in this way. It makes it difficult to make space for it.
I felt the manifestation of change begin to root awhile back, but the journey to finding this home was accelerated on a path we did not expect. I mean, it was FAST. We found this house over the course of two days, in two consecutive weekends in September. Walking through this house felt like a natural confirmation. I was awed by my own growing certainty, and sense of rightness in this space. I have to be honest, when Murray first sent me the online listing I gawked. I said to him, “THIS IS TOO BIG! HOW ARE WE GONNA CLEAN IT? ARE YOU CRAZY, IT’S A BEAST!!!!” But, as things go, you never know what your second (third, and fourth) impression will be. Walking around on those welcoming hard wood floors, after driving along beautiful, sunny, country roads, I saw space for Murray and I to eat better (near the farms we love), to spend more of our time doing what we love (get outside as we were doing most weekends anyway, now at our backdoor), to have family and friends visit and also have ample space and privacy to enjoy. I saw my business expand with space for more events (and inventory), I saw two whole movement rooms (one for pole) to train, teach, and film in (watch out for online FYF sessions), I saw a meditation/therapy room that offers sunlight on all sides to feel contained, safe, and warm. I saw a deck and a huge yard for yoga, cartwheels, coffee, maybe singing loudly? I saw a tub that will probably become my favorite pastime, ha. This house also had a richness in detail, a weight, a history, a solidness that felt more beautiful than any other home we saw, even the brand spanking new ones.
I respect this house deeply. I want to be a good caretaker of it. To honor it’s age, and it’s character. I want to open my doors to others who want to come get out of the city, to move, to take in nature, to drive 10 minutes to The Body Art Barn (also 200 years old, ha!) for some movement and training. To be a place of healing, and happiness. Stay tuned for that, my ideas loom large.
As far as NYC? I’m going to be a less frequent commuter, I’ll still be teaching my classes and producing marketing at Body & Pole with my team who have been more than supportive about this (THANK YOU GUYS I LOVE YOU). But I will be able to appreciate it that much more because I’ll head home to wind chimes and crickets, Murray and Toto.
If you read this far, thank you. <3 Thank you for being witness to my journey, and to the start of this next chapter. I appreciate you more than you know. Thank you to the friends and family who we have leant on as we stressed, made decisions, worked through hesitations and fears, squeals and celebrations. Thank you to our parents who have been… absolutely wonderful. Sallee Pittman Kafer Scott Kafer Irene Stephenson 2018? Hello there. – Tracee Kafer