Friday, May 20, 2011

let's hear it for New York

I spoke to a former colleague yesterday and she asked me if I missed New York. I told her I didn't. I said I was very nostalgic about my time there but I was glad to be living here. Today I spoke to a friend who was thinking seriously about leaving New York and did I have any wisdom to share? I told her that making the decision was the hardest part; when you live in New York, it becomes a big part of your identity. I remember wondering who I would even be if I didn't live in the city I had built my entire post-college existence. Where would I work? Who would I spend my time with? What would I DO if I left? But I did leave and I gradually figured out the answers to all of those questions.

I was burnt out by the time I left. I remember being in the cab to the airport with my one-way ticket back to Seattle; just as we were hurtling out of the Holland Tunnel, I looked over my shoulder and saw the city behind me. I felt nothing, just relief to be moving on.

On a day like this, when it finally breaks 70 in Seattle and the water and mountains are so dazzling, it's hard to imagine wanting to live anywhere else. And yet...once in while I have a pang of longing for New York. I don't miss the place so much as I miss a certain feeling I had when I lived there: a feeling that something amazing could happen on any given day, that a night could lead just about anywhere. Everything was so exhaustingly extreme in New York; most of the time Seattle feels refreshingly normal, but every once in a while, the part of me that is still 23 finds it a little dull. The 29 year old part of me knows that I traded in the thrills for a more consistent sort of happiness and that adult life consists of many of the these bargains and the trick is knowing when to shift the balance.

But just because I don't want to get back together doesn't mean I don't still heart you NY, probably always will.

1 comment:

  1. I've been thinking about NYC so much lately, too! And I felt noting but pure, crazy relief when I left in that cab (well, sketchy car service, but similar if you live where I lived in Brooklyn).

    I remember our landlord wouldn't come meet us to give him the keys to our apt, and so we just left them on the counter, unlocked, and never heard from him again, and the idea of leaving a door unlocked in New York was something it took me days to get over, even though there was nothing left in that apt. So strange.