The Anniversary

When I first moved to New York City a little over a year ago, I was ready. I didn’t have much of a plan, but I was prepared mentally. I had a place to live for at least two months, a meeting at a temp agency, and a comp to see How to Succeed...on the day of my arrival. For once in my life, I was going into this move without expectations. I’d visited New York plenty of times, but for the most part, it was unknown territory. The night before I left, my friend Laura came over to help me pack. I was distracted by excitement, and she was sad to see me go. Before she left she asked me why I wasn’t crying. I told her it just hadn’t hit me yet.

I kept waiting for it to hit me. When I got on the plane, when I took the subway for the first time, and when I spent my first night in the city, I was in apprehension of a panic attack. But it never came. When I was summoned for Jury Duty in May of that year, a lawyer asked me how I make decisions. I said “I make them pretty quickly, and I don’t change my mind”. When I got to New York, there was no looking back.

Like everyone who moves here, the harsh realities of being a New Yorker hit me pretty quickly. I started to tell myself, I’m not going to be here forever. I’ll never have kids here. I will never turn into that person. The transitory nature of the city made me sad. I didn’t feel like I could call this home, or I that could call myself a New Yorker. Everything felt very temporary. The timing of Girls on HBO couldn’t have been more perfect. I joke about my obsession with the show, but it grew to be so near and dear to me because I was experiencing so many of those moments myself at the exact same time as those girls. Girls was my New York Bible. And Lena Dunham told me I had maybe not the voice, but definitely a voice. 

As time went on, I hit my one year anniversary of living in New York. My life here is not super glamorous. Some nights I stay up until 4am watching YouTube clips of Jennifer Lawrence interviews. Some days I wake up at hungover 8am in Brooklyn and after making the trek home watch a documentary about eating healthy and ask my mom  if I can have a juicer for my birthday. And some days I wake up bright and early and actually do something productive like send and important email or write a funny sketch. 

I’ve hit a lot of highs and lows living here. And funnily enough, as my New York anniversary drew near, I started to realize that this is a place that I can call home. In the episode, “The Return” from the first season of Girls, Hannah is talking about New York and says, “It’s like we’re all slaves to this place that doesn’t even really want us”. And it feels like that here a lot of the time. Particularly when one is apartment hunting. This city isn’t for everyone, but it undeniably houses some kind of spirit for those who are trying to find inspiration. Amidst all the moments of struggle, there are the gems that remind us  of why we came here in the first place.

The reason I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be is that my time here has been one of the first times in my life that I have lived the most in the present. It’s the nature of the lifestyle here. You can’t dwell too much on what happened yesterday, and you can’t worry too much about what’s to come tomorrow. Each week is new and exciting, and I treat each day with the importance of the last. I’ve figured a lot out in the past year for someone in the “figuring it out” stage of life. So call me a slave to New York, cause I’m here to stay. At least for right now. 

Thanks---Scotty Anderson. My fellow Girls enthusiast.