Meditation: On Housing Karma

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There's a force I've often described, only half-jokingly, as the Tyranny of New York. It's what keeps us stuck where we are because we fear that we if give up an apartment, we'll never ever find another one as good or as affordable. This week, the chains were broken: we were notified by our landlords that they're selling the building and we have to be out by December 31st.

This apartment was a wreck when we moved in. The windowed pocket doors were hidden with cheap sheetrock and the kitchen door was sealed shut with foam insulation and masking tape in a vain attempt to keep the vermin confined to one room. We (mostly E.) nursed and cleaned and painted it back to health.

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I don't know if our apartment would win the Smallest Coolest Contest, but we'd beat all comers for the title of Warmest Happiest. Our place once made a grown woman cry: in the midst of her own breakup-fueled housing search, she came over for tea and burst into tears because our home was exactly what she wanted for herself, what she'd despaired of ever finding. We had color, a beautiful bedroom, artwork, and just a sense of being at home.

So it's a blow, and the timing's really something. E. is half a world away at an artist's residency in Brazil, I'm in the middle of a career change, and we were planning another trip to Asia. Now our tentative plan is to put our things in storage, travel for three months instead of one, and find an even better apartment in our neighborhood when we return in the spring.

It's so easy to fall into anger and bitterness, but I don't want to go there. Please, no legal advice or revenge tips. We'd prefer to be happy and free. Instead, can I ask you to share your stories of great Housing Karma and hidden blessings? We have so many of our own: the generosity of friends, the excitement of new beginnings, the renewed certainty that it's people, not walls and plaster, that make a home.

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