I've mentioned before that since jumping the broom in January, people frequently ask me, “How's married life?” My answer used to be that this was a question best suited for people who had been married for years, because in the newlywed phase things are usually very good. In hindsight I didn't foresee the major life change that would force the tests to the strength of my marriage to really begin, and force my true answer to the aforementioned, proverbial question.
I had a full-time job when we began planning our wedding last summer and the idea of leaving New York City wasn't a thought that the hubby and I were serious about. Today, almost four months into the married life, everything has changed. I got laid off in March (for the second time within four years by the way, but that’s another blog) and that became the event that would cause the tipping point in our newly married lives. Shortly after losing my job, I blasted an email to my network about being back on the market and one of my colleagues responded with great information. She mentioned that she might have freelance opportunities available for me but that my email made her think of a full time position that would be really good for Mr. Rocque, but we would have to leave New York City if he took it. The Mr. and I were born and raised in NYC (with the exception of my four years of college in Virginia) and despite our love/hate relationship with the Big Apple, we felt that this was the best place for journalists to live.
But when confronted with the idea of leaving for real, for real, we realized that a change might be in order. New Yorkers—even transplants—tend to think that NYC is the center of the universe. Very few cities in the United States offer what NYC does in terms of diversity (culture, festivals, restaurants, epic free stuff, etc), independence (you don’t need a car here), access to unique media events (movie previews, album listening sessions, panel discussions, TV appearances etc), festivals and more. However, the quality of living in New York isn’t the best. It’s filthy, landlords get away with providing vermin-infested coffin-sized, one bedroom apartments for $2,500 a month because, “It’s all about location” (but you still end up living in the hood), and you find yourself angry and defensive for no reason during your morning commute because some rude jack ass decides that it’s ok to bump or lean on you and not apologize.
Career-wise, the fact that we both got our starts in the media in NYC says a lot, because that’s not an easy feat in the industry's number one market. But we’re at a point where the market is so oversaturated that we have become bitter, frustrated and stagnant. So, after consideration of the aforementioned factors, hubby and I realized that change could be good. I gave him my blessing to take the job and soon Chicago will be our new home base.
Chicago was never a city on our radar to visit until last year, when hubby's best friend coincidentally packed up his family and relocated there. We weren’t even engaged when we decided to visit them and were pleasantly surprised by how much we liked the city.
It's bittersweet because we’ll miss NYC, especially Brooklyn (Bup! Bup!), but change is an important catalyst for growth, so we're embracing it. Hubby has begun phase one of the move. He flew out last week to start his new position and find a place for us to live. Although I recently spent a weekend away from him for business trip, being away from him for two weeks as we begin to transition into this new phase of our lives is the second hardest thing I’ve had to do since agreeing to relocate. After accepting the gig, we had a month to pickup everything and leave our friends, family and familiarity behind. By the time anyone reads this I'll be a couple of days away from reuniting with Mr. Rocque as he returns to NYC to get the rest of our things (including myself) for our final move, two more days following his return.
I'd love to move back to Brooklyn one day but this is the ignorant, inexperienced version of myself typing. I don't know what our future in Chicago will bring so I’ve decided to let go and have faith. But when it comes to how the married life is, it’s always unpredictable and there’s never a solid answer to that question, even when life is good. Right now things are hectic but the Mr. and I are on one accord, ready to tackle our new city together after making the biggest decision we've made since saying, “I do.” Game on.
Mr. and Mrs. Rocque are the couple formerly known as Anslem Samuel and Starrene Rhett, New York-based journalists who found love in between bylines. Follow the newlyweds’ musings of a marriage in progress here, on Twitter and via their joint blog.