Photo courtesy of Susan Sermoneta

To outsiders and to people who are new to the city, it seems impossible that anything about New York City could ever become predictable or (gasp!) boring. But for people who have been in New York for a bit too long, it is all too possible - and this indifference is often heartbreaking.

The fact is that no matter where you live, it’s possible to get stuck in the rut of everyday responsibilities and habits. You work at your job all day, maybe hit the gym afterwards, take the train home, order in (from the same place you always do), watch some TV, and crawl into bed. When you go out to meet friends (the same friends you hung out with last week), you find yourself at one of the same three restaurants or bars, all of which are just a couple blocks from home.

You realize that you haven't been to a movie in weeks, a museum in six months, or a concert in a year. You've stopped taking advantage of all the city has to offer - but you're still paying for it in rent. In fact, when you do go to a party, you're even tired of having the same conversation about your rent. While living paycheck to paycheck was initially sort of exciting, in the long run it turns out that never having enough money is boring.

When friends come to visit, expecting you to tour them around all of the Big Apple landmarks, you're no longer excited to show off your city. Instead, you desperately wish they would just find their own way around so you don't have to go to the Statue of Liberty one more freaking time.

Somehow, New York has become a small town - an expensive, suffocating, chafing small town. It’s like that spicy, adventurous lover you once knew has suddenly turned out to be a pretty traditional partner who likes to have quiet dinners at home on a Friday night. What the hell happened?

Studies show that in a marriage, boredom can be more destructive than conflict. In such cases, relationship experts recommend doing new and exciting things together. So, like anyone fearful of falling out of love, maybe you've tried to inject spark back into the relationship. You feel guilty that you're bored, and are trying to take some responsibility for it. You've promised yourself that you’ll get out more.

But you have the sense that you’ve done it all before - seen the sights, had a crazy job, been to bars with firepits and drag queens. The allure of these things has been eclipsed by the effort and expense that they require, and they've started to seem pointless and empty.

Simultaneously, things that you once considered “boring” are starting to carry some allure - wouldn’t it be fun to have a cozy little house? A sweet little garden? Is it possible that this sense of ennui is coinciding with getting older - and maybe even wiser?

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Comment by Samantha Raddatz on July 24, 2013 at 10:29am

This post is frighteningly accurate. I feel guilty every Friday night I stay home (which is frequent), for every concert I miss, and every museum I'm not taking advantage of. And I find myself dreaming more and more of a "cozy little  house" in the country, but I still love it here. I'm just waiting for the day the exhaustion outweighs the opportunities. 

Comment by Kotik on January 25, 2015 at 5:01am

Absolutely naked and disarming truth but I would disagree with "...a cozy little house? A sweet little garden...". I am not sure that these would solve the problem. Everybody is different. Thank you Anna.

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