Friday, May 31, 2013

There's No Business Like...

My Business!?!

Have you ever felt like there is more out there?  I certainly have.  I do love my job.  But I have always felt like there was more for me to do.  I have written a few (unpublished) children's books.  I have looked into freelance curriculum writing jobs.  I have a master's degree which would allow me to step outside of the classroom and work as a professional development resource to classroom teachers.

I have made none of the above a reality.  For various reasons.

One thing that I am certain of at this moment is that I do not want to leave my job as a teacher.  First, I still love what I do.  Second, I cannot give up the medical benefits and pay (retirement pension included).  Third, I love the schedule.

So, I have been thinking about what I could do simultaneously with teaching.  I could write books (I lost the passion for that at the moment, although I'd love to see my book displayed at Barnes and Noble!).  I haven't had any luck with a freelance curriculum writing job... although I've only applied to one.  Finally, I could do some professional development classes, etc. as a part time gig after school hours, but... I've never taught adults before and I am uncertain about the time (and how to coordinate that with my son and sitter).

What I love more than anything though is writing curriculum.  Right now, there is a little something called the Common Core Standards.  These standards of learning are relatively new and I am hoping to use that to my advantage.  As a teacher of technology, I do not have any specific standards to follow.  There are the NETS, which are national technology standards, but they are very general.  What I would love to do is write curriculum that aligns both the CCS with the NETS and come up with lessons and units that not only a technology teacher could use, but classroom teachers who have access to technology could use as well.

There are a ton of resources on the Internet to use.  However, that can get very overwhelming.  What I would hope to do in my curriculum writing would be to discover, explore, and report on a wide variety of resources... but most importantly, the most effective ones.   I would then incorporate it into my curriculum to make it easy for the teachers.

My lessons of course would be aligned with the standards.  I would also be sure to add in different options for differentiation.  I would have assessments... formal and informal.  I'd also make some connection to state tests.  Not because I believe in them, but just to show how the test can be incorporated into quality, engaging lessons without having to sacrifice what is truly important in the education of our children instead of teaching to the test.

How would I be different than other resources out there?  I should be able to answer that question, but I am not exactly sure.  I know that as a technology teacher, I have a difficult time finding units and lessons that incorporate all the standards mentioned above.  However, elementary technology teachers is a small audience.  I have always considered myself a classroom teacher (without a class) who happens to incorporate technology into every lesson.  My goal would be to create a technology/project based unit for each unit in science, math, social studies, and reading for each grade level, K-5.  I already have lots that I have created to work with, but I need to fine tune them for sure.

This is a big project and I would not be ready to launch it for atleast a year.  I need to get all of my stuff together and perhaps just focus in on one content area or grade level.  I also need to read up on copyright laws and even on how to make your own website.  I am familiar with blogs (duh) and wikis, but I am not sure what would be the best place to share and post all of my work.  I would be selling this.  Not for much.  But for something.

There are many sites out there where you can find lessons, units, and resources for free!  There are even some like, Teachers Paying Teachers, where there is a very small fee for resources.  I have wondered if I should start at a place like that just to see if my stuff would even sell.  And that is still a possibility.  This idea is very new to me and I haven't thought everything out yet.

I can envision though sharing all of my hard work that I have accumulated in the 12 years that I have been teaching.  I envision tweaking these lessons so that they address 21st century needs.  I envision them being able to implement.  I envision them to be engaging.  I envision an eye catching website with a possible blog to share more ideas... software, tips, questions, answers, teacher guests, etc.   I envision a new spark in my own teaching.  I envision business cards that I can share with family, friends, old colleagues, etc.... because it seems like everyone that I know is a teacher!  That would help in networking.  I envision making a couple hundred dollars a month.?.

Like I said, this idea is all so new to me.  I haven't thought it through very much.  It's all still so idealistic.  But I am very passionate about the idealism in it.  Now if I can make it a reality, that is a whole different story.

Its funny how certain life circumstances can bring out positive opportunities.  It was not too long ago that I heard on the radio that the inventor of Spanks is the worlds youngest self-made (female) billionaire!?!  Crazy.  What about J.K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter?  Now, I am not comparing my product to theirs.  But it's worth the risk isn't it?  Especially when I don't need to worry about investing  much money into this.

This is just something that I believe in and I would like to share my philosophy and creativity with anyone who is interested, who thinks they will benefit from, and who will appreciate it... for a small price.  Hey, I am a single mom in the big city.  I don't have the boobs or the swagger for a night time job.  ;)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Money, Money, Money

Here's a topic I have yet to post about but it is something that has been on my mind as of late.  If you read my last post, this one piggy backs off of my thoughts and feelings about a new phase of life that I will soon be entering in with my son... the school age years!

One thing that I have mentioned about money is that I am very fortunate to have a stable and decent paying job.  It is because of this that I have also been fortunate enough to have the option to stay where I am and to maintain a lifestyle very similar to the one that I had when there were two incomes.  Another great benefit of being a teacher is our pensions and the retirement fund options that we have.  So when I think long term money wise, I think I am okay.  Or let me rephrase... I think I am in good shape considering that I have not lived at home with my parents since I was a junior in college, I was married at a young age of 23, moved down and up the east coast, bought and sold a house, and am now a single mother living in New York City.  My father taught me well and his advice was always "pay yourself first."  So I have, to the best that I could under whatever my circumstances may have been at any given time.  Thanks Dad!

Short term, I do have a small pot of savings that I keep for emergency purposes only.  And I am proud that I really kept my hands off of it.  I haven't even touched it for any of my trips, although I had been very, very tempted to! 

I also try to have another savings pot, this one I'd call my "penny wise, pound foolish" pot.  I'd like to be able to save a bit each month so that I could use that money to buy... a new Apple Desktop!  Or... a new Coach bag!  I don't know... something fun and "reckless."  But, this savings sees very little action... nothing is going in, so nothing can come out.  This leads to my every so often panic attacks about money.  Now, these are not true panic attacks, but I get a little obsessive and worried about money from time to time.  So when this happens, I make lists, lol.  I rebudget.  I try to cut out unneeded expenses.  And then... it passes, phew.

I just had one of these episodes because (like I mentioned in my previous post) I feel like I am at a pivotal point now where I need to make some very important (long term) decisions about the future for my son and myself. And sad but true, so much rides on money. 

Financial security, savings, and retirement are all important.  But living is also important.  It's tough sometimes to find the balance of living a life that you want to live, but within your means as well.  Next year, when my son does finally go to kindergarten, there will be more money available since I will no longer need to pay for full time day care.  What do I do with that?  Save for future needs and wants... or put that into moving and rent and live a life day to day that we want to live (in a neighborhood with a great school of course!)?  I just don't know!!  I'm hoping that one day soon, I will just wake up with a decision made and know exactly what to do without any questions or regrets.

To take this post a bit further, are you wondering how I do it?  A single mom teacher in New York City?  My son does receive social security.  It is not an exuberant amount, but it is modest amount.  That is what I use to pay his day care tuition.  Part of the reason why I have chosen and kept him in the day care that he is in is because the cost is so much cheaper compared to the majority of the day cares in NYC.  This allows me to save money for him as well.  I am so proud that just tonight I have saved enough for him in two years, to open up a 5 digit CD for him.  My parents sacrificed so much for myself and my brother and sister to make sure that we all had a decent pot of savings and I want to make sure that I do the same for my son as well.

I think this is also important to mention.  I wish I had thought about this more and had been better prepared for any tragedy that might have happened, life insurance.  This was never a topic my husband and I discussed.  For me, I never wanted my husband to take comfort in knowing that we would be taken care of financially should he ever decide to take his life.  What I didn't realize was that I could have signed up for a life insurance policy at work that would cover a spouse's death as well without him ever knowing.  However, I was always so hopeful and optimistic that he never ever would.  So I didn't prepare for that nor did I think there would be a pay out should the cause of death be a suicide.  However, it can happen.  I think that is so important for people to know, just in case someone is in a position like I was in.  It was completely unexpected, but my husband had just started a new job only weeks before his death.  This new job automatically gave him a life insurance policy.  One that I don't even think he was aware of.  Again, it is not an exuberant amount, it is a modest amount.  But I cannot even begin to describe the feeling when I found that it had been deposited into my account.  Flat, just a flat feeling.  What do you do with it?  I paid for the funeral.  :(  And the rest is untouched.

Money is such a weird thing.  It has way too much power over us.   The only good thing is that power can be used for good, just as it can be used for evil. 

Money has inspired me to seriously consider doing something.  I am nervous and unsure.  But I am very, very excited too!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Into the Future

For these past two years, I have been living in and planning with a short term mentality.  In the beginning, I really was living day by day.  Then as time passed, it became easier to look ahead and make future plans that were a bit more long term.  For the past two years, I have taken where I lived one year at a time. This year, I have also decided to stay here for another year.  I have also chosen to keep my son at the day care center he is currently in.  My son will be of preschool age this September, but instead of sending him to our "home" public school for Pre-K, I have decided to keep him where he is for another year.  The day care also provides Pre-K services and he can stay there all day.  I will not have to worry about where he goes before and after school since being a teacher, I will have the same hours as him.  It will make life easier... for the both of us and I am all about that.

Another big decision that I have made, which I consider much more long term, is my decision to stay here in New York City.  It was just this past winter that I realized that I am exactly where I need and want to be and it ended up being a decision that was comfortable to make.  I even felt relief for having had made such a big decision and I am still happy with what I decided.

Now I am entering a new phase.  This new phase is making me think about and make some even longer long term decisions.  I am still planning on staying here in Brooklyn, but now I have begun to think about where I want my son to go to school next year when he does begin kindergarten.  I know, its a year away... but I honestly have to give it some thought now because there are some big arrangements that may need to be made and that takes time.

Option #1:  Stay put.  Our home school is not a bad school.  It is actually quite good and I would be very comfortable sending him there.  However, I would need to find some place for him to go after school (for sure) and possibly before school (from time to time).  Also, my rent is going to be going up again next year.  That will be $300 in 3 years!  But I do love our location.  His school is only blocks away and is only about 5 minutes from the school I work at.

Option #2:  Move... but within the neighborhood.  We are just one measly block out of zone for an even better school!  This school has a great academic program with lots of extras.  It even has an after school program which would be wonderful!  If we moved to this zone, it would only put minutes onto my commute and distance from my son.  I would do this in a heartbeat except that the rent is significantly more (even more than what my new rate will be next year) and I am quite sure that I will also be sacrificing space as well.  :(

Option #3:  Move... out of the neighborhood.  There are lots of great elementary schools here in NYC.  But there are only a few other neighborhoods that I would consider moving too.  A couple that I would consider I am sure to find very good schools in.  I am also sure that I would be able to find apartments that are larger, nicer, and possibly even cheaper!  The drawback, location.  Although these are nice, clean, and safe neighborhoods, they are much farther away from where I work.  And, they are much farther away from what we love most about where we currently live. 

I realize that I am very fortunate to have options.  And I am very well aware that I can always change my mind at any point.  I know that my son will not be traumatized if he has to change schools at some point in his elementary school years.  However...

Thinking about these future long term plans have made me very aware of how alone I am.  It is strange to have to make such important decisions without any input and without compromise because of somebody else.  I am solely responsible for making these decisions and they all do revolve around my son and his education, but he is too young to have an opinion.  It's entirely up to me and it has created a very lonely feeling to know that I have to make decisions based on the fact that I am alone. If there were another income, Option #2 would be more than doable.  But I can't bet on that.  Realistically, it could take years for me to find someone to take it to that level.  Option #1, perhaps the wisest, almost seems though as if I am just taking the safe, waiting route until something does happen.  Is Option #3 the best?  Should I be more fiscally conservative since I don't know when and if and how much someone else one day will be contributing financially to this family? 

Too much thinking I know.  But these are real issues that I want to start to consider now.  Because like I said I am lucky to have these options and I am also lucky to have the time to consider all of them.  I do want to make the best decision for the both of us.  Perhaps it is best that I am thinking about all of this while I am very much single.  I wouldn't want just anyone to influence my decisions.  He would have to be very special and someone that a future with would be a very likely possibility.  Who knows what will happen between then and now...

Life can throw things at us at any time and when we least expect them.  I am hoping that something good, no... amazing ;) gets thrown my way and I know that one day it will.  I just don't know when that will be.  I cannot wait for it to happen.  There is something exciting about walking down this new path into the future with my son.  It is going to bring about so many changes.  But at the same time, it is a lonely path too. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Pieces of You

It's been a while since I posted and I last did on the eve of the day that marked it had been two years since my husband's death.  The day came and went... quietly.  Like I wrote in my last post, it really was a day that I hoped would come and go as quickly and as quietly as it could.  I did go to work that day and honestly, it helped.  I picked my son up immediately after work and we went to the beach.  My son loves to dig in the sand and I wanted to do something with him that would make him happy.  We ate hot dogs for dinner and had ice cream for dessert.  He was happy.  When we got home I did pull out some pictures and asked my son if he wanted to look at them along with some home movies, but he wasn't interested.  At first, I found myself wanting to persuade him to do so.  I felt like we should do something in honor or in memory of his father.  But at the same time, I didn't want to force it upon him and that is what won out.  There are 364 other days in a year and I do make a point to show a picture or tell a story or just say good night with my son to his father to keep his memory as alive for my son as I can. 

This second time around was much different than the first.  Last year, I remember as soon as May 1st hit, I felt like everything in my life was paused.  For 17 days I lived in dread and was full of angst thinking of that day as if it were was the apocalypse.  I remember that night of, thinking back and wondering what was the timeline of events that happened for him on that day.  I think it was planned.  So I had wondered trivial things like.... what did he eat?  what was he wearing?  what did he do that day?... This year, I let my mind be at ease as I did not get lost in the wonder of what the last day must have been like for him.  It just was as each May 17 just is and forever will be just that for me. 

Pieces... that is what's left and what we have to take along with us as we continue on journeying through life together, my son and I.


This blog title also served another purpose as my parents came to visit last weekend.  Instead of bringing my dog Skye along with them (as they have every time they have come since taking her full time) they brought her ashes.  Since she had to be put down and I wasn't there to say goodbye, my parents had her cremated.  So I have this beautiful box which contains what once was my peppy, fun loving dog.  :(

It was very strange to have my parents here without her.  I caught myself many times looking to her usual spots hoping to see her but only finding disappointment and heartache.  I spoke to my parents about that who also felt the same thing at their house.   That dog definitely had a presence and I could hear the sadness in their voices when they said how lonely it was to come home to... nothing.  I understand that sadness and quietness all too well. 

I am not sure what I will do with all of her ashes.  I do plan on taking some to my husband's grave and releasing them there.  I will probably do the same for where my other dog is buried.  My son and I are making a little garden plaque for her as well to place at my parents' house and I will bury some of her there too.  The rest?... I am not sure.  I would like to go to Rochester as some point, which is where we got her and where we lived for a couple of years with her, to release some of her ashes in the park where the four of us spent so much time together.  And, I'd like a keep a little bit with me.  She was the epitome of a loyal companion.  A guard and protector.  Living alone, it feels a bit comforting to have a piece of her with me. 

I loved that dog to pieces but like I posted about her when she was put down, she also represents to me so much of my life with my husband.  Scattering her ashes around, especially when I do make it back to Rochester, is so much more than about a dog.  She was my family, all three of them were.  I just so happen to have something to physically let go and I feel in many ways that it's all three of them that I will be releasing back to the universe, and I am hoping to do that in the places that mattered most to all of us. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

2 Years

Two years ago today marked my husband's last day, hours, minutes, seconds of life.  Even though on paper it is May 17th which marks his date of death, today is the toughest of all days.  He was found shortly after midnight so I know that his passing occurred sometime around this time of night on this day.  This is a day where there is no silver lining to be found.  It is a day that I wish could be erased, much like the 13th floor from a building. Instead it is a day that will haunt me year after year. 

Today was and I know tomorrow will be a quiet day.  Quiet... as if I were in a bubble.  The rest of the world is continuing on and I am a part of it, but everything seems muted.  I feel like I am going through the motions and everything else is only scratching at the surface.  I'm not sure how else to describe it.  These two days  are both very long days as well as my hoping of them passing quickly seems to slow the pace.  I have decided to go to work tomorrow for that reason.  Last year I took the day off and spent it with my son.  It was a gorgeous day and we spent most of it outdoors.  But it was a long, somber day despite being grateful for having such a beautiful day to spend with my son.  I am hoping that keeping busy will help keep my mind distracted and to help time pass more quickly. 

Two years... it's hard to believe it has been that long, yet it seems like forever since I have seen him, felt him, and heard his voice. 


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Truth and Understanding

"You always made me feel amazing."

That's what I got back in return. 

There was an apology, more sweet words, and well wishes of happiness.  I've been told and am learning that you need to teach people how you want to be treated.  I think that my initial text, which was also delivered in good spirit, made it comfortable and possible for this response to find its way to me.

And I am happy that it did.  Amazing.  That is my word.  I use it all the time.  I want amazing.  It is an incredible feeling to know that you have the ability to make someone else feel amazing.  It's incredible because our time spent together was always very simple.  It's incredible because I was my true self with him, cheesy dork and all.

I wish I had a definitive ending to tell you.  But I don't.  We exchanged more texts and we ended up confusing one another.  Me and my wordy words, him and his vague ones.  We need to talk... in person.  We need to move beyond the written word.  I don't want to just hear them either, I want to see him say them. 

Even though we have not set anything up, I am nervous.  I have really stepped outside of myself here.  I've initiated contact with someone who did hurt me and with whom I didn't know would have wanted to hear from me.  I've opened up and shared my thoughts and did so honestly.  I would never have considered myself a persistent person, especially in an area in which I am so uncertain, but that's who I have been in this case.  I am seeing different parts of myself that I didn't know truly existed.  I'm not sure what to make of it... why am I doing this and is it the right thing? 

How do you know when it is better to leave something be?

How do you know when to let go?

How do you know when to step out of your comfort zone and pursue something you are basing mainly on a feeling?

What if it is a gut feeling?

I have no idea what is going to happen.  I feel that in this case that I don't want to error on the side of caution.  I would rather make the mistake of letting him back in and potentially getting hurt again than to make the mistake of letting a person who has the potential to be amazing go. 

Above all, I need to know his truth and take it one step at a time from there. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Following My Heart

Where have I been for the past week?  I have been following my heart.  It led me to swallow a bit of pride and to initiate contact with that guy

Timing... for the past three months I had wanted to hear from him.  But timing is everything.  If it came too quickly, then it didn't leave enough time for either one of us to learn and grow.  So as much as I wanted to hear from him in the beginning, I knew it was better that I didn't.  However, there was no guarantee that I would hear from him at any time, that was something that I couldn't count on.  So, I did my best to move on and I did so by exploring  and improving upon my own self which included conversing with other men and going out on dates.  I tried to keep an open mind and I tried not to compare any of the men to him and I honestly feel like I did a good job with that.  But I felt no spark with any of them.  I did learn something from each experience, but I must say that without manipulation, that guy just seemed to fit even more (all while I am still fully aware of what he had been lacking in as well). 

During those past three months, I also went on the journey of exploring the stages of grief surrounding my husband.  One of the triggers for this journey was what had happened with that guy.  His lack of communication with me really pushed my buttons of pain and hurt and in a way put me in a panic/protection mode.  I feared walking down the same path that I let myself get lost on with my husband.  Everything (the relationship) was so new to me and I wasn't sure of my own strength yet.  So... I panicked, I assumed, and I said goodbye.  Shortly after is when I shared my thoughts and feelings on the stages of grief and what I came out of that, forgiveness. 

I have not been shy about sharing what I have learned about myself and about life during the past year and half.  I even have concrete reminders in my charm bracelet which I have also not been shy about sharing.  What occurred to me was that it was all fine and good to learn all of these lessons, but what is the point of learning lessons if they are not actually practiced and used.  Isn't that the true test?  Everything seemed to lead back to that guy. 

On my drive back to my hometown for my grandmother's funeral, I had eight hours to think about whether or not I truly wanted to be the one to initiate contact and what exactly I had wanted to say.  I had so many thoughts running through my head, but the one thing that I knew for sure was that I needed to be completely honest.  What would be the point otherwise? 

I also knew that the timing had to be just right.  I felt it getting close.  And last Sunday, I did it.  I sent a text with nothing but my truth.  I had told him that I was not writing to disrupt his life or to change our paths.  I told him that I had thought about just asking if he'd like to meet for drink, but because of the way it ended, I decided not to because I never really knew what had happened, his truth.  I didn't want to create a situation with potential expectations or pressure when I honestly didn't know what I wanted to have come out of it.  I had no agenda.  I told him that I hated how things ended and that I hate drama and nonsense and especially didn't want that with him.  Then I got to the true reason, I had wanted to change the ending.  {Through my growth in the past 3 months, I can see the big picture.  I didn't take what happened personally and by having him in my life it allowed me to learn and move on in so many ways I couldn't do on my own.  I wanted to practice all that I learned... forgiveness, the 4 Agreements, expressing my own thought with truth and dignity, etc.}  I told him that I am writing entirely for my benefit and went on to tell him that I was happy to have met him, I hope that things have settled down in his life, and I wished him the best. 

That was absolutely my truth.  I couldn't say to him that I wanted to try again because I honestly don't know if I want to.  As I have always felt with him, everything is in the moment.  I would first need to just see him and take things from there, no agenda.  But, I also felt too that even though the timing was right for me, it wasn't for him (either there is no time for me aka no spark or still he's just not in the right place for a true relationship).  But, I can't wait on that, so I needed closure and I wanted a more positive one with him because he was special and he did mean so much. 

My text did elicit a response and it was one that I didn't expect.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Follow Your Own Heart

It has been over a year since I have entered into the dating world.  Before I did, I made sure that I truly felt ready by being both mentally and emotionally healthy.  I explored and discovered myself so that I knew who I was so that I wouldn't get lost and would stay true to myself.  I explored and discovered my own thoughts and beliefs on love and relationships based on my own experiences, experiences of others, and even books that I read.  Last year I was optimistic. I was focused.  I knew what I was searching for and wasn't going to let jerks or bad experiences get in the way... they were just a learning means to an end.  An amazing end.

This year I teeter back and forth on optimism.  I am not as focused.  I know what I am searching for but I am not enjoying the process.  I feel like I am learning and gaining something from each experience, but I am ready for the process to end.  I miss having someone by my side.  I am adding pressure to the situation and its taking away any of the fun that could potentially be had.

Last year when I heard "horror" stories about dating and men, I listened but I felt like I let it go right out the other ear.  I knew I wasn't going to be pardoned from any of those potential disasters, but I felt that I was coming from a different place as well.  I felt as if I held a different perspective.  I didn't want to be negative.  Now when I hear these stories, I feel like I have some of my own to contribute as well.  The negativity has started to seep in and I don't like it.

I don't want to lose my dating optimism and focus because things don't seem to be going the way that I would like them to go.  One of the worst mistakes that I have made was to Google relationships.  When I began dating, I did so with the belief that I was going to follow my heart and listen to my gut.  I didn't know what the dating "rules" were and I had no interest in learning or following them.  I have to admit that I have been tainted a bit, sadly it comes more so from stories that I have heard and read from women, not the men that I have met myself.

This is my post to kick me in the ass.  I want to go back to my roots.  I want to follow my own path and my own heart.  I need to take my own risks and make my own mistakes.  That is the only way that I am going to find what I am looking for.  Heartfelt advice is welcomed and appreciated, but in the end it has to be all me...

"Follow your own heart, regardless of what others tell you to do.
When all is said and done, it’s you who has to live with your decisions and how your heart feels about it."


This is one of the harsher lessons that I have learned through my experience with my husband.  Neither one of us were very social people to begin with.  We were both more the type to have a few good friends.  But with time we did become more isolated over the years.  Moving to Virginia was a huge factor in our isolation as well.  We did make some friends, but we didn't have great friends which would have been helpful and important since we lived so far away from our families.  It was not only our low level of social exuberance that created an isolated feeling, his depression did as well.  My husband wanted to appear and to be thought of as "normal."  So, revealing and talking about his depression wasn't something that he nor I did.  I didn't even tell my parents... for nearly 14 years, they had no idea.  It wasn't until he had about reached crisis mode a bit over two years ago when I finally told them.  The rest of my family... grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins... they had no idea and his death seemed out of nowhere to them.  They just didn't know. 

Two years ago as my world was crumbling all around me I was forced to be humbled.  There were events, stories, and information that had to be shared with particular people and I was forced to open up and reveal parts of myself, my husband, our marriage that I could hardly understand or admit to myself.   It was such a difficult thing to do.  What happens when an already humble person becomes humbled?  That was me, and for me it was the foundation for me to rejoin the world once again. 

These past two years I have had to rebuild my life.  Making sure that I didn't become isolated was very vital to my own mental health.  I am very independent and I function well on my own.  It comes more natural to me to just do something on my own rather than to ask someone to join me, even if that includes my needing help with something.  It was uncomfortable and sometimes still is, but I have had to step outside of the box to establish and maintain friendships (especially) here in New York.  I would still like to create stronger ties with the friends that I do have and I would also like to expand my group of friends as well.  That is both a work in progress. 

Where I live is also a determining factor in my fear of isolation.  No one needs to tell me that it doesn't matter where you are, its the company that makes the difference.  I also know first hand that you don't need some one's physical presence to take away the loneliness or isolation as well, it can be done emotionally as well too.  However, where you live can and does make a difference too.

I remember over six years ago when we decided to move to NYC, I was excited to move here because of its energy.  There's people everywhere and there is always something to do.  It may not have been my energy or my endless list of plans, but just knowing that it existed was enough for me.  Six years later, some of that energy is now mine.  I like the business, I like the pace, I like knowing that there are people around. 

Yesterday I posted about my concerns and thoughts on moving to a different neighborhood.  I must admit that I don't think I could find an "isolated" hood in Brooklyn, lol.  However, there are some that are out of the way.  They are away from the things that I enjoy most in this city.  They are further away from friends.  It's like I don't have to go to the party, but just knowing that I am invited can be good enough for me at times.

This thinking has seeped into my world of dating as well.  Last month, I went out with this man a couple of times who lived in New Jersey.  He was divorced and had a couple of kids.  He talked alot about wanting to own an home with a large yard, etc.  Now although we didn't get far enough to discuss specifics, what I did know about him gave me some real reservations.  School aged kid he had every Wednesday, large back yard.... he wasn't ever going to move to Brooklyn.  The question... could I move to NJ?  (He didn't live far, he could actually see Staten Island from his apartment!)  The answer... at this time, no.  I couldn't.  I need to feel a part of things right now.  I don't want to loose any of the connections that I have worked so hard to establish and I don't want my life to become unbalanced.  I need more people than my significant other in my life.  Location is a big factor for me right now as far as isolation is concerned. 

Last week, I also met a man who brought about different isolation issue.  It wasn't location, it was his lack of friends.  He had recently moved to the city (about six months) and I had asked him about his friends.  He replied that the only "friends" he had here are his coworkers but that he didn't consider them friends because they would take any opportunity given to stab him in the back to rise up the ladder in the business world.   Yikes... that answer freaked me out!  I could have completely understood if he said he didn't have as many as he'd like because he recently moved here, he's busy at work, yadda, yadda, yadda... but he went on to say to only had 3 real friends and they each lived on a different continent, no joke.  This completely turned me off from him and it scared me actually.  I do not want to be in a relationship with someone who doesn't have other people (family and/or friends) in their lives that they want to have an active relationship with.  My guy needs to be balanced too.  My husband became too emotionally attached and dependent on me and I will never let that happen to me again.  It is not a position that anyone should hold, except yourself. 

Isolation.. this is a scar.  I wouldn't call it baggage... I think what I have learned is a healthy influence and it is influencing where I choose to live and whom I choose to date.  Hopefully, I will be able to fully reap the benefits of this knowledge in the near future in finding a happy and balanced life with an amazing man to create a warm and loving home (in NYC of all places, lol, who'd ever have guessed this is where I'd end up and want to be?!?).

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Raising the Roof

But not in a good way.  My rent just went up $100 this month.  It wasn't supposed to go up this year since it went up $100 last year.  However, my landlord told me that he was "forced" to raise it this year and he will again raise it another $100 next year.  That means that my rent will have gone up $300 in 3 years.  That's pretty severe. 

The truth is, I am sure he could ask even more than what I am paying and will be paying next year, if I decide to stay.  Location, location, location.  I cannot find a 2 bedroom apartment in my neighborhood for the amount that I am paying.  They run atleast $200 more than what I am now paying.  So, what do I do?

I am planning on staying put for this next year.  My son has one more year before he begins kindergarten and I plan on sending him to the same day care that he is at which also has a pre-k program.  I am all about making life easy and doing just that will make life easy for the both of us. 

However, I have some big decisions to make in this upcoming year.  The biggest decision is deciding where to send my son to school.  I need to research the public schools in the neighborhoods I am willing to move to and make a decision that will be best both for my son academically and the two of us financially.  It is also important to me to try and make life as easy as possible as well.  I need to consider before and after school programs or child care watch as I will need to commute to and from my job as well. 

Atleast continuing to stay here is still an option for me.  When the rent does go up again next year, I can find that $100 to cover it.  But, it will have to come from somewhere.  I am fortunate that I can find places to pull it from.  Also, when my son starts kindergarten next September, I will also have the extra money from not having to pay for day care.  That will help tremendously. 

Our home school right now is a pretty good school.  I just found out that we are only one block out of the zone for an even better school, bummer!  I have to admit that I am considering paying more for rent in exchange for a better school.  Growing up in the small city that I did, I never would have had to think about such things.  We all ended up at the same middle and high school.  But living here in NYC, it is a very different story.  Middle schools are very competitive and students have to apply to get into the ones they are interested in.  So, that means the education he receives in the elementary years is extremely important.

I also have to admit that I love the neighborhood that I live in.  The location is great.  I'm just next door to the "most desirable" (I know, depends on who you ask) neighborhood in Brooklyn and it is with good reason.  We are so close to parks, playgrounds, zoo, botanic garden, even Manhattan.  But most important, I feel safe and comfortable living here.  And I don't want to leave.

There are a couple of other neighborhoods that I would consider moving to.  One is the neighborhood that I actually first lived in when I moved here almost 6 years ago.  I really liked that neighborhood.  I am sure there are good schools.  Our Dr.'s offices are all in that neighborhood.  But, it feels a little isolated to me.  The other one, even more so.   Feeling isolated is a scary thought for me (perhaps that will be my next post) but I am willing to look and consider, especially when there are so many things to consider.

The good news is, I don't have to make any of these decisions right now.  I have plenty of time to explore neighborhoods, schools, apartments, and options.  It is comforting to know that I can stay right where I am as well.  Perhaps by next year it will be time to move on to a new place, maybe it will be symbolic in taking a further step into moving on in all areas of my life.