I’ve lived in Brooklyn for five years. That’s half of my adult life, which is weird to think about. Weird to think that I’ve been an adult for ten years. Weird to think that I’ll be attending my 10 year reunion on Saturday. But mostly it’s weird to think that we won’t always live there. Someday, we may leave Brooklyn. We may buy a car and have a yard to play in. We may have a guest room, a “spare” bathroom. That kind of thing.
I’m thinking about that right now because now is the time of year when many of our Brooklyn friends move on. To other states and other cities and other places. This week we are missing as two great families we have known for years move across the country. And we just heard that two more friends will be leaving in the next few weeks. Another friend moved a few weeks ago and recorded her thoughts about leaving on her blog:
“I am a different person now than I was when I stepped off the plane at JFK airport and wandered through the streets of Brooklyn for the first time. Moving to New York changed my life for the better. I am more capable, confident, and charitable . . . . We have been stretched and pulled and pushed out of our comfort zones. We’ve been lonely and frustrated and scared. We did things we never thought we would or could do. But we did it!”
I identify so strongly with Catlin’s sentiments. Brooklyn has changed me. The people — those I know well and those I have barely noticed in passing — have shaped my life and my thoughts and my actions. I feel that I have become strong and independent and unafraid, but also that I have learned to co-exist and give and take and be needy and needed as well. I have embraced challenges and become more resourceful.
As we watch so many friends leave year after year, and as we know that there will be a time when we will likely follow them, it helps to know that although we will leave Brooklyn, it will not leave us. All that we’ve learned and experienced will come with us. The people we meet will stay with us. We will laugh and cry about the time we’ve spent there, we will marvel at the things we were able to do, we will count our blessings that we were able to count as neighbors and friends so many others who were working and striving and trying to better themselves and to make it in this hard, dirty, difficult, diverse, beautiful place.