After six (exciting/awesome/stinky/stressful/irreplaceable) years in New York City, I’ve decided to leave the Big Apple and head West.
An Indiana native, I moved to New York immediately after graduating from college. I visited the city during my senior year, and I met with an older alum who told me that “New York is for people who want to be at the center of the universe.” So I packed my suitcase for launch.
Turns out one suitcase doesn’t hold a lot, and you can’t afford to buy things like balanced meals (let alone new shoes) when you don’t have a job, and getting settled here was a heck of a lot harder than I thought it would be. I temped, I worked retail until 2 am, I ate off the Mickey D’s dollar menu, I lived with roommates, and eventually, so slowly I almost missed it, I made it here.
I looked around me one day and had amazing friends, knew how to navigate, and had some crazy stories. Since we are prone to melodrama, people living in New York often compare it to being in an abusive relationship – NYC can beat you down pretty hard, but then she always redeems herself with something as amazing as it is unexpected.
For example, where else will your friend ask you to volunteer at an event for her job, which turns out to be at the Plaza and require you to wear a cocktail dress and allows you to drink free champagne all night?
Slowly, the things that frustrated me about living in the city began to outweigh the fun, but I was hesitant to leave. I think this attitude is common among my fellow transplants, but there was a sense of shame around leaving New York (see the above reference to “abusive relationship”). I didn’t want the city to win, or to shame me into ceding the field. I wanted to conquer it and leave on my own terms. Plus, I have great friends here – a luxury I try not to take for granted.
I had been so focused on moving to New York during college (lord only knows what sparked this plan, but I suspect it was my dream of becoming a writer, moving to the big city, etc.) that I hadn’t allowed myself to consider any other places. The transition here was so rough I didn’t want to think about starting over. I didn’t want to go home, so where would I go?
Through a combination of fear and a passionate love for the adventures I was having here, I simply did not allow myself to envision another life. I had no plan, and that terrified me. I had always had plans, and I wasn’t willing to face my shapeless future. And I felt, for whatever reason, I just wasn’t ready to leave.
Then, halfway through year five, I met a lovely guy, and we had a lovely time for almost half a year. For reasons out of both of our control, it didn’t work out, and for the first time in a very long time (maybe ever, if I’m being honest), I allowed myself to really feel what I was going through. I was incredibly sad, but it forced me to think about myself and where I was and where I wanted to be.
And something kind of magical happened. I realized how much I’d grown since I brought that one suitcase and a head full of dreams to this city, and I felt so grateful for this perspective and all the experiences that had brought me here. I felt liberated from many of my old fears, and also from this life. I had a vision of what I wanted my life to look like, and I felt a responsibility to get as close to it as possible.
That vision…was COLORADO!
I’ve always been happier outside in the woods. I love a slower-paced life. I enjoy the convenience of a car. I’d like to have more than 175 square feet of living space. Dishwashers are extremely convenient. I’ve had a weird fascination with snow shoes since middle school. Seemed as good a foundation as any, and I wanted to be brave enough to try.
Once I decided to take the leap, I discovered I had a great network in Colorado already – college friends, people I’d known since childhood, two sets of cousins, even a friend from New York was planning to move in the next month.
So while I’m still scared, and I still feel unqualified for most of the jobs I’m applying for, I’m still going to send my resume anywhere that might be convinced to take me. And hopefully, so quickly I’ll almost miss it, I’ll make it there.
And I’ll be able to shout a big Rocky Mountain “Hi!”