Three weeks ago, I dropped everything I knew and loved in Boston and moved to New York City. The concrete jungle. The Big Apple. The city that never sleeps. A world that is some people’s nightmare, and other people’s oasis. I came here for more reasons than I can count, but as I round my 1 month anniversary in my new home, I am in a headspace that is far from safe, confident, and comfortable. I started a new, and very challenging job, I haven’t moved in to my own apartment yet, and I have loose ends unresolved back in Boston. I have relied too heavily on some, and not enough on others. I have been heads down adapting to my new environment while trying to be aware of my mental and physical health. I have had to ask questions to strangers, and react instinctively, but above all else; I have had to be patient. Patience is something I have struggled with my entire life. I have a very low tolerance for unhappiness, transition, and discomfort. I have dealt poorly with change and sudden adversity since I was young. Which truthfully, is probably the main reason I came to NYC in the first place. I needed a good old fashioned ass kicking. I wanted to scare myself a little. There is not one thing about this place that is predictable or static. So here I am.
I signed up for a month of intense turbulence. I dove in to this new chapter willingly and understanding that until July 1, when I would sign a lease with a friend from Boston, I would be couch surfing, overstaying my welcome, lacking sleep, and living out of a duffel bag. Still… even though I volunteered to do this without being held at gunpoint, I have cried almost every day that I’ve been here. I have missed my stop on the subway, skipped showers, re-worn outfits, and slept through alarms. So much of what I used to love about myself feels repressed, and trapped, and I wonder every day if I’ve made the right decision. Aren’t I known as the happiest person people know? Don’t I smile and laugh at nearly everything? Aren’t I the one that breaks into mom dances in the grocery store? Where is my sense of humor? Where is my light? So far this month, I am and have none of those things. I am sensitive and clingy. Grouchy and pessimistic. I’ve never been so homesick for my parents, for Maddy, Gretch, and Muzz. For my cousins, for the Boston J’s, and for the simple comfort of a world I worked for years to craft around me.
Yet suddenly, it’s June 19. I’ve almost been here a month. I don’t even remember yesterday at this point and, in retrospect, I’ve done a pretty damn good job keeping my shit together. My boyfriend has been a saint, and hasn’t once thrown me out when he needed a moment of peace and quiet (though many times he’s heavily contemplated doing so). My new coworkers have been compassionate and eager to get to know me on a genuine, personal level. They laugh a lot and that’s healthy to be around. My family has picked up the phone no later than one ring after I’ve called to complain about something arbitrary bullshit like my shirt having a coffee stain or a trash can that was overflowing. They tell me to grow a pair. Facetime has saved my life. All in all, I have a lot to be incredibly grateful for. Things are actually pretty great when I’m able to zoom out enough to take in the larger picture.
So maybe I haven’t yet convinced my heart to let go of the peaceful, comfortable life I lived just 20 days ago. But I will. Already I’ve been forced to grow fast, listen more carefully, and take diligent mental notes. Within the next 10 days, this stifling burden of not knowing where I’m going to sleep for the week will be alleviated. The fear that I’m pushing people away because of my neediness will subside as I get back on my feet and find my own way. I am not (technically) homeless, I am not unemployed, and I am not alone. I am simply putting myself to work to test my boundaries and see what I’m truly made of. Boston is my everything. Salt water and sports bars are my soul. I crave simplicity, love, and family more than I ever have now that I am here, and I think that’s an amazing thing. Already, I have begun to recognize what my true priorities in life are. Already, I am not going through the motions. Already, I am hungrier to seek a source of happiness so plentiful, I never again feel like I am taking a day for granted without an energized presence and appreciation.
I am taking a risk right now. A mental, emotional, physical, financial, and intellectual risk. And if there was one thing I retained from my finance class in college, it’s that a high risk can yield a high reward. Someday I will look back on this time and be so proud of myself. The people that I have already met will change my life; teaching me things and exposing me to ideas I would have never otherwise come in contact with. New Yorkers are tough. I really, really like New Yorkers.
For now; I am hurting. I am sad. I am awkward and recluse. But that’s not me. That’s how I know this is temporary. This is just me embracing the new normal. My attitude isn’t the best it’s ever been, but at least I know that. I am determined to make this next year (or more) the most enriching and exciting to date.