By Caitlin Heikkila Fusco
I live a double life. I’m not secretly in the mob or have three kids stashed away in another state. I’ve found the ideal New York City living situation: an apartment in Brooklyn where I live all week, and a house tucked away in the Catskill Mountains on the weekends. The ability to escape the city’s clutches for a couple of days has made the work week life more tolerable, with a strong balance of crisp country air and street cart coffee.
But despite seemingly having this all figured out, I’ve begun living for my Saturdays, planning my next one before the current is even completed, and spending each Sunday in an identity crisis spiral, wondering, how long can I keep these two halves up?
Image: @caitlinheik via Instagram
I wake up slowly on Sundays, unlike my Monday through Friday, where I shoot up from my sheets and race the clock before I hop on the F train. On Sundays, I sip on hot coffee and nibble on cinnamon and apple-topped oatmeal, and pull out my laptop, a stack of books, and bottles of wine for the day ahead.
Relax. This isn’t going to take a dark turn where I tell you about how I begin drinking wine at 8am. I started a group five years ago called Book & Wine Club, a community connecting women through books and wine. It has quickly grown and expanded to cities beyond New York: Los Angeles, Portland, Chicago, Miami, and Toronto. Here’s my schtick: I select one book and one wine per month, which is announced via newsletter and social media. At the end of the month, we discuss the book and drink the wine together. Book & Wine Club means a lot to me because beyond what we’re reading and sipping on-- it brings women together and provides a space to have important conversations about work, relationships, lately, politics.
To be clear, this is not my day job, so planning, answering emails, and creating content usually happens on Sundays. At the same time, I am also in sommelier school--so when I’m not reading my Book & Wine Club book, I’m pouring over a thick textbook of wine regions and writing stacks of flashcards so I can remember the difference between “assemblage” and “remuage,” when all I can really recall is “something to do with Champagne making.”
I spend my Sundays doing the things I really care about, in the home I designed for weekend-ing. It’s a two bedroom, not large, but more than double the size of our one bedroom apartment in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Set on five acres of woodlands, we have an expansive deck, a cozy fireplace, and a collection of carefully curated furniture, art, records, and books (without the clutter of everyday living). The home is drenched in sun, with large windows and sliding doors, and there’s a sturdy wood dining table where we can host dinners and play board games. There’s a television nook, but it’s not the focus of the space; we’d much rather sit by the fireplace and pull vinyl out of our collection one by one with a bottle of French Gamay. My husband and I love everything about this house and what our life feels like here.
So on Sundays, you can imagine, it’s hard to leave.
“What if we just stayed here another night?”
“What if we drove down tomorrow morning? We could do that!”
“What if we moved up here full time?”
“What if we worked remotely, could we make that work?”
I enjoy this chunk of time as much as I loathe it. I like to imagine what life would be like waking up to peaceful sounds of the forest, driving to a full size grocery store, leaving the subway commutes and constant crowd fighting behind. But the “what ifs” stress me out, too.
Can I risk being late for work tomorrow?
Do I really need to be in Brooklyn tonight?
Can I leave city life behind?
Would I miss it? Would I feel isolated?
Would the appeal of living up here wear off if it wasn’t all the time?
A year ago, my city self would win the internal battle. Yes, I need to be in the city. No, I have meetings in the morning. Yes, I would miss it terribly. But lately, maybe it’s age or getting closer to our 10 year anniversary to moving to New York, my country half is winning out. Perhaps I don’t need my city side anymore. Maybe this is where I am supposed to be all week and all weekend. Maybe we shouldn’t be living for each Saturday and wasting our Sundays over the what-ifs, but have seven days a week that blend into each other without the deep dread and anxiety over choosing one over the other.
Image: @caitlinheik via Instagram
Despite the needle tilting in a new direction, we continue our weekly routine, enduring Friday night traffic so we can wake up in the mountains on Saturday morning, doing the things we love, and spiraling into Sunday, hoping that someday, every day can feel like this one.
Caitlin is the founder of Book & Wine Club and the manger of digital content at Revlon. She loves all things beauty, wine and the coziness of the Catskills. Follow her story at @caitlinheik & @bookwineclub