Twenty-eight seems very far from twenty-two, but is six years really such a big difference? Well, yes it is. What were you doing when you were 22? Graduating from college and figuring out life? Or maybe you already had a clear picture of what your life path was and were immersed in it already. When I was 22 I had just graduated from college and immediately after that I
migrated escaped to New York City. Four years in Los Angeles, prefaced by a lifetime of small-town living left me feeling suffocated and the only way I saw to escape it was move 3000 miles away to the greatest city in the world.
If you follow this blog for any significant amount of time, you know that all I talk about — besides cupcakes and baking with alcohol — is how great California is and how much I am itching to move back. Well, I do love it and I do want to go back. But those ideas didn’t creep their way into my head until my New York lifestyle was in full swing and I embraced my bicoastal lifestyle. Twenty-some years of catty girls, mean boys, overly competitive sports, and privileged people that I came across everyday, left me with a very sour taste in my mouth and I came to the conclusion that everyone and everything about California had drained the life out of me.
And then I came to New York. Without a job, a place to live, or any friends. And it was amazing. And really scary. But mostly amazing. I started babysitting and freelancing. Exploring the city, dating in the city, and pretty soon I had an amazing group of friends exploring the same adventures as me, dancing on bars at 2 am on a Tuesday, and reminiscing over brunch, and baking brownies way past midnight. I came to the city with a pessimistic outlook on life, little faith in people, and just trying to figure out where I fit in and what I was supposed to be. Over the years, I fell in love with the energy of Manhattan, discovered professional passion, and made the best friends ever. There is nothing that New York can’t do and I spent 5 years figuring it all out.
After living in NYC it is hard to live anywhere else. Washington DC is fun, full of interesting people, delicious restaurants, and history everywhere you turn. But to me, it seems boring. After giving New York my all I was looking forward to embracing a new adventure in a new city. Except over the past few years I haven’t really found my footing. I am missing out on adventures my friends in New York are having. Missing out on the energy that is native to New York. Missing the people who bump into you as the rush to catch a subway. And I miss the homeless man who sings Marvin Gaye on the A train, ridiculously off-key.
You never forget your first love. You know what I’m talking about: head-over-heels, infatuation, lusty love. Love so intense you can’t imagine a life without the object of your affection. But then things get jaded. And you grow bored and you need to “date around.” Steamy date nights and walking through the park at sunset are foiled by drinking too much and hedge fund boys who break you in more places than one. Wait, what? Yes, it’s true, I fell in love with a city. The greatest city. And escaping to another “city” isn’t really the best solution for any jaded New Yorker.
I call myself a New Yorker, because I don’t really know where else I fit in. I love the sun and 70 degree days but I also love excitement and adventure, and I can’t get all of those from California, all the time. I feel a pull to New England because it’s where my mom is from, and it just feel right. But one can only stare at trees and go to Dunkin Donuts so many times before I’m itching for more. And then there is NYC. It doesn’t judge. It doesn’t spit you out if you don’t drive the right car. Or wear the right jeans. It loves you back. No questions asked. Nowhere else is there a greater melting pot of rich and poor, fashionistas and yogis, businessmen and hipsters, spoiled kids and surprisingly well-adjusted kids. And all of this totally works. Maybe my infatuation with New York is still alive because I’m not a native New Yorker. But in all the moving around and all the times of being the new kid, I’ve never felt more at home that when I’m rushing to the subway, or falling asleep to yellow taxis honking in Morningside Heights. The City is my city. And oh, New York, I want you back. I’m sorry for leaving you like that. This time will be different. Give me one more chance.