You have to assume that word gets around quickly. My decision to move out of New York City wasn’t a quick one, and it hasn’t been as easy as some might have thought. And since word does get around quickly, I may as well write about it; this fall I’m moving out of New York City and clear across the country to California.
New York has always been like an abusive boyfriend to me. A lot of people use that analogy to describe their relationship to this city, but for me it’s a little different. I think of it more along the lines of someone who is afraid to be single. You’re not sitting in a dark corner wishing your significant other improves and things get better, you instead think there’s no viable alternative to the current situation. When you say to yourself maybe this is just the best I can do…right? I may as well stick around because it’s better than going to weddings alone, then you know it’s a pattern of abuse that has you by the throat.
I was afraid that maybe leaving New York would eliminate all possibilities of success, but I am slowly coming around and finding that’s horse shit. And the reactions people have had have given affirmation to my theory that there are three types of reactionary examples. My friend and I discussed this today, and I couldn’t imagine thinking any other way, especially after sharing my relocation news to the masses.
Type 1: The Scared Malnourished Kitten
There are a select few who come into NYC with wide eyes and absolutely no fucking clue what they’re getting themselves into. I was DETERMINED that this would not be me and though I stood at the ready to do sexual favors for money, or at least for a used microwave, I pushed myself to find meaningful work instead. The city is about hustling to make it. Whatever “it” is; a dime, a train, a life. And we all know this, right? But the vast majority of the frightened pups won’t last a year once they realize what must be done. You scrimp and save and don’t go out at night. You become totally fine with needing to pole vault over the sink to get to your toilet because “this is NYC” you say, and it’s completely fine to live in squalor and/or an apartment that rivals the roominess of most commercial office space cubicles and storage closets.
These folks, the ones who left shortly after arrival, have responded with “YES FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MOVE AND GET OUT.” They’re the ones who believe we create hell on earth. And that hell is New York City.
Type 2: The Temporarians
If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere, they say. I’ve spent the past 30 years trying to figure out who they are and how to join them. Now I know that they are a group of people who have been beaten down by life and made gross, horrid mistakes and can tell you about it while you’re still bright-eyed, youthful and full of hope. Cool.
Basically, I’m a member of this type. We’re the kids who come here for a couple of years, cut our teeth (usually without dental insurance….no…definitely without dental insurance, or any insurance) and go. I always wanted to be able to give savvy directions and offer up things to do to people planning a trip to New York while I stayed behind in the moderate, unwavering climate of southern California. I also always wanted to complain about the lack of quality bagels in my new city. Now I can do both those things, and I look forward to it with gusto.
My fellow 3-5-ers (which sounds like a sentence, and in many ways is) assure me that I am making the right choice. And they do so without a second of hesitation because in most cases they aren’t that far behind me and know the goal in mind.
A solid number have said something along the lines of “I could return to New York. But I’d have to make enough money to live high up, with a view, away from noise, get my food delivered to me, and take cabs everywhere so I don’t have to deal with the subway.” ….so essentially, they’d live in New York, but wouldn’t really live in New York at all.
Type 3: The Lifers
They just don’t understand. “I’m moving to ((insert new city name here)) and I am so excited to go,” you’ll say, really excited to go. They will try and squash your dreams and reiterate what I said before – that you can’t achieve anything outside these Bloomberg-managed confines. I’m not on the other side of the bridge or tunnel yet, but I have a feeling they’re wrong.
So, there’s my news and there are the reactions I have received thus far. If you have a different one, I’d like to hear it. For the time being, I will refrain from quoting Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel as they get behind the wheel of their car in anticipations of months of “very special episodes” of their show.
But yeah, I’m moving.