I moved to Northern Westchester in 1988 from a Hoboken condo when I was pregnant with my older daughter (who is now 34 and a mom). Like many young families, we were looking for a true neighborhood, extra living space, good schools, and green lawns.
Fast-forward to 2003. I left my corporate job and brutal commutes and started my own marketing consulting and writing business. I met Grace Bennett along the way and contributed an Inside Press series called “Townhopper” to spotlight food, shopping, and activity gems, ‘beyond’ our immediate ‘hometowns’, and encourage Inside Press readers to explore fun communities all over the county.
Now, fast forward again to 2021. I’m single. My kids are grown and flown. The Westchester house was sold to a young family.
I moved to Scottsdale, Arizona to be closer to my mother. She passed away last year at 95 and I’m officially an empty-nester, solopreneur, free agent, and digital nomad.
The towns I’m hopping to are now global, and I publish a series called Route 66, about how the women of the 1980s are reinventing their lives and defining how to live in our “free” years.
Growing Up and Giving Back
Every few weeks I return to the East Coast to visit family and friends and get a much-needed dose of New York snark and a decent flagel with lox. I attended the Yonkers Partners in Education* 15th Anniversary gala. I play with my grandkids on the same beaches I frequented as a little girl.
And, of course, I visit Grace and see what’s new in Northern Westchester. A lot has changed over the years. Cool restaurants and retailers in the area abound.
I also drove past my first-ever office and realized how much my business has evolved since then, about how far I’ve come since then–personally and professionally.
Going back to one’s roots can be a powerful experience.
I recently read Daniel Pink’s The Power of Regret and loved it. He believes that regret is a great emotion because it causes us to reflect on the choices we made over the years and the lessons we learned. Although I now see myself mostly as a city girl, my years in the ‘burbs brought many great things into my life.
• My daughters both enjoyed a safe and relatively wholesome environment. They played sports, which contributed to their leadership and team skills.
• We felt relatively safe in our walkable neighborhood and we woke up to trees, deer, and the occasional fox. I shared Brownie troop mom duties with other working mothers and the girls were able to “unplug” and learn about the great outdoors, albeit just a short drive away.
• I met other working mothers through a local group. We spent so much time on Metro North and dealing with childcare that we had little time to get to know each other. This era was long before social media, so staying in touch with friends was virtually impossible.
• I even did short stints as the President of a local Chamber and my homeowners’ association. I learned that I did not want to pursue a political career and have virtually no tolerance for neighbors who bicker. My non-profit board stint was gratifying and eye-opening and I remain committed to organizations that provide programs for those people who don’t have the good fortune to live in the bougie burbs.
• I wrote my first widely published article at my Chappaqua kitchen desk, and it opened doors to a cool career as a published author (eight books, several websites, and a regular column for the Rolling Stone Culture Council and the Forbes Agency Council).
What Town Am I Hopping to Next?
My latest revelation (at 66) is that no geography is ever as important as that place that lives in your head and your heart.
Restaurants, retailers, and traffic lights will always change. Our kids will grow up and move on. Technology enables us to work from anywhere at any time.
Northern Westchester will always represent an important era in my life. Returning to it energized and inspired me and helped inform my next moves. And, the pizza, soft-serve, and paninis in the area are still world-class!
To read more of Nancy’s musings, visit: badgirlgoodbizblog.com
Visit Yonkers Partners in Education: ypie.org