I moved to New York City when I was 23 years old, with too many possessions and too many hopes. It took me a whole year to get here — symbolically of course. In reality, I took I95 transferred to the FDR and drove all the way through to my East Village apartment, which took about an hour and a half.
But I had spent a whole year trying to move to New York City, and now that I made it here I couldn’t decide if it was everything I wanted it to be or nothing at all.
I lived two lives in this city. One where I went to art galleries, rooftop concerts and expensive Sunday brunches. And one where I heated up frozen food, took work home with me most nights, and wondered if adulthood was just a huge sham.
In keeping with those two lives, I spent 50% of my time breathing in that New York City magic that Friends and Sex and the City convince you floats in the air. The other 50% I spent crying or anxious over whether or not my life was what it should be at this age. I mean, 23 is young but shouldn’t I be trying more things, dating more, cooking real recipes, or at a spin class?
So three months into my stint in the Big Apple, I had fewer answers than I did a year prior. 12 months ago I had a dream I could bank on. The very dream every New York City newcomer has. Now the dream was gone, replaced by an overpriced apartment, a so-so job, and a general anxiety that I might get mugged, or assaulted, or killed by a terrorist on my way home from a friend’s house at night.
It was about three months into living here that I realized that I would be the last girl at the dance. That my friends were each living in New York City for a finite number of minutes, hours, days and years that they had pre-planned. Each of them had already parceled their twenties out into chapters — New York City was just the first chapter in their life stories. And when I looked at the rest of my twenties I saw nothing beyond right now.
To be continued…