Weekend Reading
July 24, 2022

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

This post is being written from atop a mattress on the floor. I luckily found my sheets and two pillows at around 11pm last night, after about twenty minutes of rifling through mover’s boxes.

But here I am, fully moved. As far as moves go, this was a smooth one, all thanks to Junkluggers NYC and Roadway Moving. I couldn’t have finished clearing out my old space or gotten my stuff into the new one without them.

Essentially none of my furniture came with me. I have a nightstand, a mattress, two sets of sheets, my clothes, and a lot of kitchen stuff. I’m glad, if for no other reason than practicality. In my new, small space, there would be no room for my mover’s boxes if I also had a bunch of furniture around.

I sold and let go of so much in the weeks before this move. I discovered Facebook marketplace and smiled as kind strangers showed up at my front door and left with what were once my belongings. I all but begged a lovely young couple to take my giant sofa off my hands (ultimately, Junkluggers broke it down and took it away).

When I compare, I can see plainly that most of the people in my life who are my age have lives that seem to be physically expanding. Most of my friends are finding themselves in bigger homes, with bigger families. They have more stuff (and increasingly nicer stuff).

I guess I’m in the opposite place. This move has shown me how little I have that’s of material value. It’s shown me how little I need, which is a good thing in many ways.

The tough part is being on my own.

The reason I didn’t move sooner is that I thought I’d meet someone soon after my last big breakup. I assumed that, when I left my uptown apartment, it would be because I had someone to leave it with and for. This isn’t a very independent way of thinking, I know, but it’s the honest truth and what I wanted for myself.

Anyway, it’s not how life has gone in the last five years, in spite of the fact that I’ve tried to put myself out there. And I’ve realized that I can’t wait any longer to experience the change that I so desperately need.

I never thought I’d spend my fortieth year in a tiny studio downtown, with twenty-somethings as neighbors and no furniture. It’s not what I always imagined for myself, and I’m exceedingly good at turning this fact into a narrative about how I’m failing, personally, professionally, and financially.

But this is a very exhausting story to tell myself all the time, and it doesn’t help. It’s also one-dimensional and limiting. There’s a lot I don’t have, but so much that I do: an extraordinary yoga community, chosen family, wonderful friends, the gift of living in a city that I love with all of my heart, work that I cherish, a yoga practice that gives me joy. Good food and good drink. Coffee and cake.

When my mom asked me how I felt about moving into a smaller space, I told her that it was only smaller in one sense: square footage. My bustling, vibrant new neighborhood will now be my home, which means that I’ve moved into a bigger place than the one I was in before.

I’ll have more experiences, make more human connections, and find more fun here than I did uptown. My world is expanding, whether it looks that way or not.

Speaking of expansion and contraction, one of the few things I was brokenhearted to part with when I left my apartment was my small collection of ceramics. I’ve accumulated bowls and plates over the years for food photography. Some of what I have was created for me by independent makers, and the pieces are really beautiful.

I texted two neighbors who are also close friends, and I asked them if they wanted the ceramics. I sent them photos.

One of the friends was able to take many pieces. She has a family that has grown a lot in the last five years. It gives my heart so much joy to know that she, her husband, and her three children will eat off of those plates and from those bowls.

Another friend simply said “they’re beautiful,” and then she offered hang onto them. When I tried to clarify which pieces in particular she wanted, she told me not to give anything away. She said she’d keep them at her place until I needed them.

It’s not this friend’s style to make big, demonstrative gestures or to announce her perceptions. But in addition to offering me free storage, she was communicating something important to me in her understated way: what’s right for right now is not for forever.

My ceramics won’t fit here. But there may be a future home and a future life in which they do fit.

When I look back on the life I’ve lived so far, I can identify periods of sweet, exciting expansion and periods of simplification and paring down. It’s cyclical. Nothing is forever; there’s only ever the next right step.

This past weekend, I celebrated living below 14th street with a wine class, solo dinner at a new restaurant, squeals and hugs with my absolutely awesome across-the-hall new neighbor, and a much shorter commute to yoga.

In between all of that, I chipped away at my mountain of boxes.

It was fun, full, sweaty, and chaotic. It was the next right step.

Life’s expansions and contractions often happen simultaneously. I have a lot less stuff and a leaner budget than I did a month ago. I have a much more fun neighborhood, new acquaintances, more great food within walking distance, and a sense of freedom that I didn’t have before.

I’m here for it. All of it.

That’s all for tonight, friends. Till soon,


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  1. You sound so light and open, Gena. Now that you’ve joined the tiny home movement, you’ve created more space for what you want to be able to enter your life. This move sounds so good for you. Very happy for you and look forward to hearing about your new neighborhood and your adventures. The best is yet to come!!

  2. I relate to this so much and really appreciate your vulnerability! I turned 48 on July 25th. 5 years ago I had been married for 17 years. Now I’ve been divorced for 5 years and I live in a sweet shed in my mum’s backyard, where we have ridden out the pandemic together. None of this is what I had pictured for myself, but I’m happy most days. And, honestly, that’s more than I can say for the 17 years of marriage!

  3. Hi, Gena.

    I just wanted you to know that I did not meet the love of my life until I was 43. Now we have been married nearly 20 years and have not slept a night apart since the day we were engaged. I guess I had a lot of learning and growing to do before that happened, but two of the main points were 1) that I was happy with myself by myself, and 2) that I should not settle for less than I deserved. Those were hard things for me to learn, but when I did, Bingo! Every day we are together is better than the last.
    Sending you best wishes for much happiness in your new home.

  4. It sounds like the absolute best choice for you right now. I’m so happy for you, congratulations!

  5. Congrats on your giant leap forward. I wish you loads of new experiences and joy in your new home.

  6. I love your writing and your vulnerability. Congrats on the new place and all the expansions and contractions that will come with it. Xo

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