Three years ago today, my family and Joe and I packed my belongings from the Somerville attic apartment I shared with my college roommate into a U-Haul truck, which Joe and I then climbed into for the drive to Brooklyn after celebrating with some cheap pizza at Mike’s in Davis Square. It was a strange feeling, an intense crush of excitement and anxiety and sadness and nostalgia, as we began our journey. I was worried, of course, about the drive itself, if I’d left anything behind, where we’d park the moving truck when we arrived–all those common moving fears. On a deeper level, there was the sheer terror and intimidation of moving to New York City–it was New York City! I grew up in the suburbs, in the smallest state in the country–Boston was by far the biggest city I’d ever lived in. New York was all noise and speed and beautiful people and expensive cocktails. How would I fit into that world? Boston had been my first official home away from home as an adult, and I’d loved living there. I had created a life and a career and friendships and a relationship and a blog and a home from that city over the four years I lived there. Would I be able to do the same in such a giant, intimidating city as New York?
As Joe piloted the truck through Harvard Square (not the easiest feat), “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros came on the radio and I started to cry, just the tiniest bit. But I wasn’t crying because I was sad to be leaving Boston behind, even as we drove through one of my favorite parts of the city. I was crying because the lyrics of that song were coming through in a way I knew I would never feel again in quite the same way–“Home is wherever I’m with you.” I knew that despite all my fears and trepidation and anxiety I was absolutely making the right decision and I couldn’t have been happier to be on my way to the home that Joe and I were going to build together.
Now, three years later, I’m happier than I’ve ever been and though a lot of it is due to personal factors (great husband, pretty good job, excellent puggle, wonderful friends & family, overall health and wellbeing), I have to give some credit to New York. Over the last three years, the city has shown me that I have what it takes to make a life here, and more than that, a life that makes me happy and creatively fulfilled and inspired.
Of course, living here is not without its challenges. I’ve had days where I’m ready to pack my bags and call it a day more than I’d like to recall. The city can be ugly, hot, crowded, freezing, wet, miserable, vastly overpriced, screamingly loud, and incredibly fast. The people can be rude, disgusting, and downright crazy. The subway makes me want to commit some kind of crime on most days. BUT! Then there are times when you run into friends walking down Second Avenue on a Tuesday evening; when you watch the sunset over the Manhattan skyline while you grill under the Brooklyn Bridge; when you hang out with your neighbors on a hot July afternoon at a block party; when you sit with coworkers you now consider friends in the park eating lunch; when you see celebrities on the street; when you catch an amazing off-Broadway show on a whim on a Friday night; when the best new restaurant in the country is blocks away from your apartment (and it’s delicious); when you get to know many of the dogs in your neighborhood by name; when the barista at the local cafe knows your name and your coffee order; when you have a legit office with a window and a door and a business card with your name on it that says “Editor”; when you get to see favorite writers read at favorite bookstores; when you never have to go far to find something fun to do that you’ve never done before–the list goes on, and when it comes down to it, New York is just another place you can make a home out of.
So, thanks New York for giving me a really great place to live for the last three years. (But thanks especially to Joe and Chief for really making it a home).
*image via the Village Voice blog