NOTE: This is a post from my old "secret blog," back in September, 2008.

Two more quotes from this New York Magazine article:

“I don’t miss my old life in New York. I only miss the life in New York I know I never would have had.”

“It’s a story about reaching that pivotal moment when the dream life you imagined for yourself in New York no longer seems attainable or attractive, or simply no longer seems worth the wearying chase.”

I wish I had a clearer memory of the New York life I had imagined for myself before I moved here. But I think it’s more likely that I did not really have a clear fantasy, just a very vague one, somehow based on the opening credits of Saturday Night Live, the Late Show w/ David Letterman, and Charlie Rose. These all share a sweeping, nighttime view of New York as a fun, energetic, and sophisticated place - in the vaguest and most unattainable of ways.

So how did I picture my on-the-ground life would be here? Probably that I would work my way up at a book publisher while also becoming a famous artist or dancer; going out to clubs and restaurants with my fabulous friends; hailing cabs every five minutes; and living in some kick-ass apartment in the East Village. I’d be well-versed in music, film, fashion, and art. When I went home to visit family and friends, they wouldn’t recognize me, my transformation into the chic-est woman on the planet complete. You know, something like this:

What does my life actually look like? I work during the week, lucky enough to be able to work for myself and travel around the city going to different clients who live/work in those fancy loft apartments/studios that I imagined for myself. At night I come home to my small Brooklyn apartment and have dinner with my boyfriend. A couple nights a week I meet friends for drink or food. On weekends, J and I go grocery shopping, have a beer at the bar around the corner, clean the apartment, watch TV. Maybe we’ll go to the park, re-pot our houseplants, or I’ll do some sewing.

The last time I saw a movie? A couple months ago. Went to a museum? Probably 6 months ago. Checked out the galleries in Chelsea? Um, 3 years ago? Went to some sort of “club” or was out past 2am? I would guess 5 years ago. Do I feel guilty that I’m not taking advantage of all New York has to offer? Absolutely, but less so than I did a couple years ago. I like the life I’ve created here, I like my friends, I’m able to support myself and don’t live too far outside of my means. But really, the things I normally do in a week could be done just about anywhere.


Views: 35

Comment by Susan Kirby-Smith on August 25, 2009 at 10:13am
I just wanted to comment on this and say: Yes. The things that you seem to find yourself attaining and wanting to attain can be found elsewhere and often in more abundance, because there's not all this "FABULOUS" (those things that are great but you don't really enjoy because you don't have the money or the time, or just aren't interested then) screaming at you and in the way of those things you actually pursue. It's a lot easier to find the nicest/coolest/most right for you activities and people in a smaller place, and you'll be much closer with your acquaintances as well, bumping into them once a week or once a month instead of once a year. That may sound like hell to people who like a lot of privacy but if you get to feel like you know too many people, you can take a road trip or just hole up in your large house and yard. And if you're comfortable with it, you'll have a huge social life pretty easily in a smaller community. In many average-sized cities if you just go to the Farmer's Market once, you'll probably have a few friends. A large city is a great place to see the arts but a medium-sized one is really the best for doing them, since it can be much cheaper, easier, smaller, socially healthier. I recommend warmish climates as well for a more normal life but to each his own.
Comment by Mari Brown on August 25, 2009 at 11:06am
i love this post. i get it. i think it will resonate with a lot of people. and for those it doesn't resonate with, there will be an interesting reason why. this makes me think we need to create a widget for you so you can count down all the things that you are not taking advantage of in nyc and want to do before you leave - actually, that would be a great widget for people thinking of leaving period!
Comment by Anna on August 25, 2009 at 6:35pm
Thanks, guys!

Mari, a widget would be an interesting idea. A friend who is moving from Chicago to LA recently posted a list like that on her Facebook page, as a way of inviting friends to join her on accomplishing them.

SK-S, interesting that you say it's better to see the arts in NYC, but to DO them elsewhere. This is one of the main reasons I'd like to try living somewhere else - I feel like I've never had the mental or physical space to try out a lot of creative ideas. And I totally hear you on seeing friends more often! It's incredibly easy to go 6 months here without seeing a good friend - which is tragic, really! I've always liked the anonymity of the city - I always hated back home how you'd run into everyone you ever knew at the grocery store. BUT, I like the idea that I could potentially have a home that feels more like a retreat and less like a cell.
Comment by Courtney De on May 22, 2012 at 5:43pm

I feel the exact same way. Except I'm beating myself up about it! Do you remember the subway ad of a TV, a VHS, and a carton of Chinese takeout on a coffee table? The line for the poster was something like, "If this is what you're doing, then why are you in New York City?" That really stuck with me. 

Comment by Anna on May 22, 2012 at 7:35pm

Ouch - harsh ad! Do you remember what it was for?

Comment by Courtney De on May 29, 2012 at 4:13pm

Hi Anna. I don't remember what the ad was for and I couldn't find it on Google images. Now I feel like I'm going crazy. :) 


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