Two months ago I found myself zooming down the highway in a car (recently bought and driven across the country) full of plants, thirty miles outside Nashville, TN. I couldn’t quite believe it. It was one of those instances when time creeps up on you and suddenly you are doing something you’ve been thinking about for a LONG time. Here came my new life rushing at me. There were no longer going to be gritty rainy walks through post-industrial neighborhoods on the way to the art studio, no more jamming myself into a crowed subway to ride into the city, no more bike rides (because that was the easiest way to get around) across Brooklyn.
Part of me was relieved to leave New York. I knew from the beginning that my time there was temporary, that I wouldn’t last. I never expected to conquer the city, only make my best attempt at surviving there. My friend Andrew always said ‘ People only leave New York City when they get over themselves.’ I laughed at him the first time he said it, but the more I lived there the more I began to think he was right.
There is something about New York City, maybe it’s the girt, maybe it’s swarms of ambitious people, that makes you want to beat the city at it’s own game. If only in some small personal way, I think most New Yorkers want to prove something to themselves and the city. For me it started out with simply surviving the subway ride when surrounded by tall men and their giant fury hooded coats that got in my face and made me claustrophobic. Over time it evolved to getting to work without being overwhelmed by the noise on the streets. Then it expanded. I moved to the city single. It is a not place for single gals. I wanted a boyfriend and I wanted to find him in New York. Just because it was supposed to be hard, nigh impossible. Time passed, I decided to leave the city and on my way out I met a fellow. We corresponded during my 6 month hiatus and on my return it seemed I’d done it. Beat the city at it’s game. Here I was in New York with a boyfriend.
A year later we decided to leave. This time for real (maybe). I was there in August to pick up my plants and the few things we didn’t want to ship. Driving roads made familiar by bike I wondered at the ownership I felt. The city can be an enormously unpleasant place to live, but once you develop enough strategies for living there you start to feel like a bit of a super hero. I did it! I lived in New York and maybe even thrived there! You start to own little bits of the city. Here and there a block, a subway stop, a funny sign spray painted on a building. It gets in and starts to nest in your heart. Call it getting over yourself, call it conquering the metropolis, call it just living your life.
I moved to New York reluctantly, in fact I was decidedly NOT going to live there. At the end the city had become my friend and in my last week there I drove around wearing rose colored glasses getting teary eyed at my favorite corners. Now I am in Nashville where everyone is nice, learning about life in not-New York. Welcome to my new life. I will do my best to keep you updated.