Written on my iphone on 8/29/2012.
I’m sitting on the train on the way to my new apartment and feeling, of all things, sad.
(Okay, maybe not sad. Melancholy might be more accurate. Because let’s be real, I’ve wanted to move out of my old apartment since the moment I moved in.)
People told me I was crazy to move to New York, and I won’t deny that that’s probably true. But at that point in my life, it was probably my most defining moment. Yet as I sit here, watching the stations fly by, I’m starting to think this move — from Brooklyn to Manhattan — might be.
15 months ago I touched down in New York with nothing but a dream to guide me. I had no money, no job, and nowhere to live. These days days I’m doing okay. More than okay. I’ve found all three of those things, and it’s that job, my friends, and the prospect of new adventures that keep my life interesting. I can navigate the subway without having to reference a map, if you ask for a brunch recommendation I have plenty (and by ‘plenty’ I mean an obscene amount), and I’ve seen almost every Broadway show that’s playing. Honestly, I can’t see myself ever leaving this city.
(And let’s be real, the theater industry might tank without my added revenue if I did.)
But moving onto the island of Manhattan really marks the end of a chapter in my life. When I first moved here, all I could afford was our three-bedroom in the Brooklyn ghetto. But you want to know something? I’m glad. I learned a lot about myself while living there. I learned how to handle myself in uncomfortable situations. I learned how to be more careful with my money. I learned how to be tough and to fight back when I’m unhappy. I learned how to stand up for myself. I feel like I’ve lost a lot of my Midwestern sensibility, and that makes me a little sad. But in a way it’s good because I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t been forced to grow up and fight for the things I wanted.
L and I had dinner a few weeks ago and were talking about this very thing. She’s moving in with her boyfriend in Park Slope and I am moving to the upper upper upper West Side. Places very different from where we started. But both of our moves signify a new beginning, the next chapter in our lives.
For me, this move is huge. I’m going to be in a bigger apartment with only one roommate (in college I had 8), and living in a safe neighborhood. I’m closer to work (hello, 17 minute commute) and the majority of my friends. I’m giving up some things to pay more money for a better living situation. I couldn’t be happier with these changes.
But looking back at those first 15 months here, I can’t help but smile. I remember the night I arrived. It was mid-June, pouring rain, and I was wandering around 34th street with no idea where to go. It took the better part of two weeks before I ventured out on the subway alone, and 85 applications before I found a job. But I had two roommates that I’d known since high school and who weren’t afraid to teach me about this crazy new place I’d decided to call home. I remember flying back to NY after Christmas this past year completely depressed and wishing I’d stayed in Wisconsin. They say it takes about a year before you feel like you really live here, and now that I’m on the other side of that benchmark, I think that’s a fair statement. Finding my way at work, exploring the city, meeting new people, there were plenty of ups and downs. Some high highs and some very low lows. But I came out the other end, and I’m happy with where I’m at.
So as the end of my ride approaches, I look back on the girl I was when I graduated college, and the person I am today. Different, for sure. But confident that I’m headed in the right direction.