Life May 18, 2021

Moving Northwest

“Don’t be afraid to start over. Because this time you’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience.” -Unknown.

It was the end of what I thought to be the worst year of my life. Yes, the dreaded 2020. For those of you who don’t know me, I was born and raised in Everett, WA but have spent the last 13 years in New York City first for Modeling and then as a Real Estate Agent (with the last five years in Brooklyn). Like everyone else, I was just trying to figure out how to navigate life (especially since I had just had a baby not too long before this all happened). Being a single mother removed from my family and in quarantine was just too difficult.

For those of you who don’t have children yet, there’s nothing against you but -you really just can’t understand. It’s extremely taxing, like extremely. It’s a whole other job on top of the job you already have. Doing this without your tribe is essentially impossible. Why do you think so many women stay home? For one, childcare is ridiculously expensive and for the other, it’s impossible to juggle a job and children at the same time. Not saying that there aren’t single mothers (or fathers) who are out there who can survive & thrive. But the majority of us don’t do it very well (without help).

FF it’s the Pandemic, you’re alone and all the transportation is no good. For many of us who didn’t have a vehicle in NY. Schlepping your kid on foot in the early spring (just like winter) to a virus-ridden grocery store just to get the side-eye is not a great feeling. Luckily the weather did start to warm up a bit by May but having a small apartment in the cool part of town sort of lost its appeal, you know? Who cares….right? If you’re still in a cramped space.

No more socializing, no more restaurants. Still high prices for rent. NY just didn’t make sense anymore.

All the people who “stuck it out” in New York didn’t have any other options. Either A) they didn’t have money for a summer house or B) They didn’t have a family home to escape to. No one in their right mind stayed too long there by choice. The whole city looked like an I AM LEGEND movie because the city was deserted. Zombie-type people not making eye contact and moving slowly through the streets.

There were some perks though, There were ALOT fewer people on the subways and streets. You actually got to see what a normal amount of people living in the big city would look like. If you were able to get a car, it was crazy. You could find parking and not only that, you could basically park everywhere for free. It was a zombie town in a way, but it was beautifully eerie.

But alas winter came along again and showed its frigid face. I was confined with a one-year-old in my apartment and after my second position falling through because of Covid restrictions, I had had enough of the big city. I guess after 13 years I really wasn’t that die-hard. My priorities changed especially with having a kid. I no longer cared about the cool places. I just wanted somewhere with a yard and some fresh air. Not to mention, a dryer. Do you know how hard it is to have kids without having a washer and dryer unit in your apartment? Many might think that this is pretty standard for rentals but it definitely is not the case in New York.

So cue a couple of happy circumstances. My father ended up buying a Mid Century Modern home in Everett Washington. This was where I was born and this is where I never thought I could return. I dreamt of someday living by a golf course (although I didn’t anticipate it would be from my hometown) and with my dad for that matter.

Yet somehow it was looking like the best option and it WAS. My dad had a three-bedroom home with a large backyard and close to the famous Marine View Drive. The homes on Rucker and Grand Avenues in Everett are historic and can come with a stellar view of the Puget Sound. People thought I was crazy for deciding this so quickly (and maybe I was) but New York was no longer my reality.

I envisioned myself at the starting line again, you know when you assume the position. With one hand on the ground for stability and the other behind you unsure of where you are going, but ready to let go of the past. It took me a couple of months to get my Broker’s license in Washington. But I just knew that even though the New York market had been cold and uninviting to me, my hometown would be a better place to lay my roots and be fruitful.

How could I have been so blind to the overall beauty of what is Washington? Just walking outside and breathing is like a refreshing glass of water. Nature is so majestic and healing. Suddenly I was seeing Washington for the first time like waking out of a bad dream. The people here are kind, what we give up for dreariness in the winter months we make up for in the glorious summers. The water is fresh, the flowers are in full bloom.

Every day I have been making a habit of writing a full page of what I am thankful for. Gratefulness for this second chance. Grateful that my little boy will grow up around our family and be able to run play in nature. How wonderful life can be if we are grateful for every opportunity at growth. Let our greatest challenges be our teachers.

Brandiebowman.contemporary.