I made my last visit to my old apartment on Monday night. I've gone to the old place a few times in the past week getting my last few possessions out of there. It's only been three weeks since I moved out and somehow I already forgot how unpleasant the 4/5 trains are at rush hour. I had an empty gym bag with me to carry some small things back, and I got dirty looks from a few people that I accidentally bumped with the bag. When I rode those trains every day, I always wanted to sneer at someone who gave me a look like that and say "can't you see we're on a crowded train? I can't help bumping into you." Instead I said nothing and turned up the volume on my iPod.
Over the weekend I'd moved my old loveseat to the curb and the rest of my furniture was already removed so all that was left last night was my bike rack and some trash. I swept the floors and gave each room a quick look to make sure everything was gone. Then without any sentimentality I locked the door and got in my friend's car for the trip back to Brooklyn. I didn't have the time to linger, nor did I have the desire. One way that I can tell I've made the right choice in moving to my new apartment is that I haven't missed anything about the old one. The old apartment doesn't have any emotional pull for me, even though I spent five years living there and going through some significant life changes. After Liz moved out, I made it into more of a space that was my own, but the apartment never felt like it was entirely mine. My new apartment has been mine from the beginning of the process, and every decorating or furnishing choice has been mine (with some helpful hints from friends). My one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn may be smaller but it feels larger and infinitely more comfortable than the old apartment ever did. Maybe these feelings are just new-apartment newness, but I already feel like I belong in my new building. That kind of comfort hasn't ever happened this quickly after a move. I've always had a bit of longing for the old place and the old commute. But not this time.
I'm going to miss some things about my old neighborhood, like the proximity to the parks, the restaurants, and the convenience of having drugstores and big chains nearby. But I'm not going to miss that old apartment. After I moved out, I saw how run down the old building really is. It's falling apart. The floors in my old apartment already sloped down from the walls to the center of each room, but without any furniture the slope feels more pronounced. When I looked out of the bedroom window I could see cracks that weren't there five years ago when I moved in. My building is settling and pulling away from the building next door. And one of the windows across from my bedroom has been shored up with pieces of wood. I'm glad to get out of there now, before anything bad happens.
Back at the new apartment, I've moved some of my non-essential belongings into my basement storage room. I'm trying to be less of a pack rat, so I'm not keeping anything that I don't absolutely need. The things in the storage room aren't essential, but they're not junk either. I've put my bike in there on the bike rack I've had since I moved to New York, so that gives me more floor space as well as room for another bike if I have a guest who rides over (or if I buy another bike someday). And I have started the process of hanging up my pictures. Within a week the place will look like I've lived there for years.