How Moving 5 Blocks West Improved My Overall Mental Health

Manhattan, New York
United States

I used to think that once I got to New York, things would be different: I would simply BE happier because I was LIVING on my OWN! Woo! Hazah! At last, free from the suburban cookie cutter paradigm, free from my family, on the cusp of major change. But then…. I got to my new, cheap, first place.

And the flies, the moldy dish-towel, and the mayonnaise spoon soon reared their ugly heads.  I realized that while I was free from a place I grew out of, my new space presented an amalgam of problems. I found that my neighborhood wasn’t the safest. I realized that my roommates were not the cleanest. And I realized that if I wanted to obtain a healthy mental state, I needed to leave. Getting home and breaking down because of the stench of rancid produce got to be super damaging. Six months into the sublease, I was at my tipping point: A live animal…. a CAT… came into the mix. And honestly, thank God it did, because it was my FINAL STRAW!!! I had an excuse! Finally!! All I am saying is… *achoo*.

Now I am in the midst of adjusting to a new, better apartment. With new, better people. I’ve learned a ton about what I need in a co-living situation from the tumultuous first six months. It was an experience that has me grateful for my marvelous roommates and the neighborhood I have now.

Just a mere few weeks ago I was too scared to walk around barefoot in my place or to sit on the couch because it was so nasty. I had a designated sponge that I kept in my room because the sink was just that repulsive. I felt trapped and helpless. Now, I can snuggle up on my gorgeous pristine couch all I want. There is a singular sponge, that resides near the dishes, that we all co-operatively use and keep un-disgusting. It is beautiful. A beautiful exercise in gratitude.  Thank you sponge.

This all taught me a very real lesson in how space affects your overall mental well-being. It also taught me about my own personal agency, and how empowering it feels to make the choice to leave and follow through.


Now, I must go… my bacteria-free couch is calling me.