Of course, of course I had to write something. Are you ever really leaving New York if you don’t write a big long note about it?
New York for me has been a lot of things. It’s been home for nine years, a college town, the city where I had my first internship, my first job. It’s the city where I learned to make friends, to pay my own bills, trained for a marathon. It’s where I got my first apartment with Andrew.
It’s also the place where I fell out of love with cheerleading, where I’ve felt the most lonely, where I’ve lost more than a few friendships. I’ve had my happiest moments but also my saddest. I’ve been proud, frustrated, hurt, discouraged, inspired, and loved. It’s been a long time.
And now I am exhausted. And Andrew is exhausted.
When he first told me he wanted to leave New York, I lost it. What do you mean you want to leave New York City, the greatest city in earth? I demanded to know. Aren’t we thriving and having so much fun? And if I leave now, won’t it seem like I’ve given up? That New York won?
After (several) long phone calls with my mom, though, I realized it wasn’t as big a deal as I first thought. I did it. I lived in New York, I loved New York, and now I can love somewhere else, too. And if I didn’t love it, I could always come back. There’s no rule that once you leave the City you can’t go back.
As I came around to moving away, more and more things about New York started grating on me. Having to schlep laundry to the laundromat and plan my day around it. Lugging groceries across town in the summer. The fact that it takes no less than 45 minutes to get anywhere. The feeling that I can’t just get out of the city for a day or weekend without an extreme amount of planning. The idea of a new, more manageable city didn’t seem quite so bad anymore. It actually sounded pretty good.
So we started talking about where we could go. Where would we be able to have a little more space, a car, a dog? Where could I still do work I love and also be able to go back to my parents place for a weekend?
We decided on Philadelphia. It’s still a big city, incredibly walkable, easy to get to New York if we want, and much more affordable. And even better, my best friend lives there.
For so long, I’ve lived in cities away from my best friends, incredibly jealous of my sister living in a house with her childhood friends, and two of my other friends who got to live together for years. Now I’ll have someone I’ve known for decades just a few minutes away.
As opposed as I was a year ago to moving, now I couldn’t be more excited. We hope to find a place close enough for me to walk to work. And have a spare bedroom. A dog. A car. An in-unit washer-dryer.
We get to see our friends essentially whenever we want. I’ll be able to see my New York friends, too, given that I’ll be in the City regularly for work. And I’ll still be able to pick up bagels to bring back to PHL (one downside).
This is a big step for us, but also not as catastrophic as I thought it would be. I’ve lived in New York 9 years now, the longest I’ve lived anywhere aside from my parents’ house, and I’m excited for our new adventure together.