It’s Really Over

Posted on July 13th, 2015


A year ago this week, I moved to New York. I had accepted my job offer in March, so I had plenty of time to get ready. I had read approximately 3,000 articles on the internet on all things New York, from subway lines to budget optimizations to new restaurant openings to how to best find an apartment. To quote one {thoroughly modern} Millie, “Manhattan, I prepared for you.”

Except it turns out that you just can’t really prepare for New York, especially when it is your first time living on your own without the life structure of an academic setting. I had no trouble going through the motions—I got up at 5am five days a week in 2013—but I was emotionally exhausted pretty consistently. My 60 hour workweek could have been worse but still didn’t feel awesome, and I had little time in my life to do anything except run, work, and a little volunteering. I think I can count on both hands the number of times I cooked dinner for myself! Not proud.

I have come to realize that New York was part of this, though. Instead of feeling energized by my surroundings, I felt drained. There were exceptions, of course, like walking up Fifth Avenue to get home in the evenings. But generally, I found being a New Yorker quite challenging. I felt constantly like I had to be “on,” and expounding energy and extraordinary effort. I was super proud of myself for moving there on my own and putting myself in a demanding environment, but living in Seattle has forced me to recognize the toll that really put on me.

On the one hand, not much has changed now that I’m in Washington. I still have a full-time job, I am still financially independent, I still live in an apartment with wall colors I don’t like but can’t change… And yet, I feel completely different. Instead of feeling stressed but proud, I feel lucky and still pretty proud, too! I felt like I had something to prove to the world in New York, but I don’t feel that way anymore. I’m just focused on being. Being happy, being the best version of myself, and figuring out what it takes to accomplish that.


Of course, this is a personal thing. For a lot of people, being in New York is what allows them to figure out their best self. The vibe of the city is what gets them out of bed in the morning, not what makes them cry at night sad. If you are one of those people, I really admire you, your resilience, and your grit! And if you’re not, I really admire you and identify with you, too.

So in closing, I don’t think I realized while in NYC the full consequences of the decision I was making.  On the one hand, I don’t regret my time there at all, and I am so grateful to have had the life experience of living in New York.  On the other hand, it is so over.