All Things New
In all relationships, there will come a point when you have to look at each other and say, “Why are we still together?” Cities are no exception. If you want a hot one-night-stand, go to Vegas. That reason alone is why Vegas exists. However, if you desire a long-term, deep, challenging relationship, stay in New York .
Maybe I shouldn’t announce this, but New York remains my longest relationship. I threaten to leave it all the time. I try to find a way to avoid my responsibilities/taxes. (I can’t). I treat it worse than I would a person because I know the city can take it and both of us will suck it up and deal with each other in the morning. All relationships work this way: Sometimes you attempt to leave each other. Sometimes you actually do. Other times you stay together in some capacity without remembering why. The rest of the time you look at the other person in a cab ride home or in the sunlight on a Long Island beach and wonder, “What if it doesn’t get any better than this?”
The day-to-day of living in New York encompass both the terrible things no one tells you about and the terrible things penned in entitled, bloated, op-ed articles. New Yorkers don’t need another brat living in Soho to tell them the city is crowded, loud, expensive, and painfully lonely.
I read “Goodbye to All That” in my sophomore year of college because my ex-pat New Yorker of a professor felt it would be good for me to see New York through the eyes of someone who wasn’t Woody Allen, Seinfeld reruns, or my own memory bank. Yeah, it’s a good essay, but why on earth would someone leave New York? Didion left the city at the time period I only dreamed I could see.
New York was my ten-year-old dream that I worked to make happen for myself before I reached twenty. I look back on my summers here at nineteen and twenty- years-old and wonder how the hell I made it all work. And that’s why I made it work: because they were only summers. Anyone can fake it for three months.
The first three months of a relationship are the same too. You’re both happy, feeling all these new things, learning so much about one another and yourselves — it’s truly a lovely time. Then the cracks begin to show. The longer they snore beside you, the more glaring all the problems become.
By now most of us have heard of FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. FOMO is a feeling millennials in particular grapple with in regard to parties, culture, and other happenings that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. If you want to learn more about FOMO, Broad City did a fantastic episode on it in Season 2, which you should watch if you haven’t because Broad City is amazing and you’re a fool for not watching it. Loser.
Of all my fears, the one most prevalent is What If It Doesn’t Get Better Than This. It’s the cousin to FOMO but worse because it lingers, keeping me glued to people, places, and situations out of fear that if it doesn’t get better than this, I should milk it for all it’s worth.
I lived in New York for just under four years. It’s hardly something to even pat myself on the back for, considering how much of those years I spent going back and forth wondering if it’s all worth it. It’s the fear of missing out and if it doesn’t get better rolled into one: Am I wasting my youth, time, and money so I can maybe one day get a writing job? In a city of eight million, there is always someone better than you and you can always be replaced and will if you haven’t already.
New York doesn’t care about how I feel about it. With the city, what you see is what you get. Those that see more, have more. It’s just the way it is. I’m not complaining. I know if I were to ever leave the city, FOMO would hit me and I would sit up at night envisioning which colors would grace the Empire State Building and what a sunny morning in Midtown feels like on my way to work.
If New York becomes a love of mine that I refer to in later conversation as, “the one that got away,” I’ll be content. Didion left New York, she was content with that choice. But she came back. Nearly forty years later, but she came back.