You know how sometimes you don't realize you feel a certain way until someone else puts it into words? I recently had that experience reading Joan Didion's essay about her love affair with New York, "Goodbye To All That" (thanks, CT):

I cannot lay my finger upon the moment it ended, can never cut through the ambiguities and second starts and broken resolves to the exact place on the page where the heroine is no longer as optimistic as she once was.

... It was a very long time indeed before I stopped believing in new faces and began to understand the lesson in that story, which was that it is distinctly possible to stay too long at the Fair. I could not tell you when I began to understand that. All I know is that it was very bad when I was twenty-eight. Everything that was said to me I seemed to have heard before, and I could no longer listen.

For the past 8 months, I have been bored. There have been times during my life in New York when have been stressed, or depressed, or lonely. But I don't think I have ever been exactly bored.

In our original blog format, I remember one of our contributors said "once you discover that you need to leave New York, you have to leave as soon as possible or you get bitter and twisted." I find that's where I am now - jaded about the things that used to excite me. I used to go to every party I was ever invited to. I used to get a buzz walking down the street, knowing that I had so much at my fingertips. Now, not so much... I'm more often cynical about just how far a conversation at a party, or a new restaurant in the neighborhood, can get me.

It's a bittersweet feeling. It means that I'm ready to move on and try new places and things, which is liberating - but it also feels like I've lost a measure of excitement and electricity in my life, which is pretty unsettling.

Is this just a function of getting older and losing some sort of naivete or optimism? Or is this specifically a done-with-New-York thing? Or both?

Views: 67

Comment by Adit Nathan on August 24, 2009 at 10:51am
Hey, I moved when I turned 28!

I think that after a number of years, different things make you happy. It's only natural. Sometimes you grow with a place and sometimes you grow out of a place. It happens to everyone, everywhere, just in varying degrees.
Comment by Mari Brown on August 25, 2009 at 11:08am
what a moment for you! i love this post.
Comment by Anna on August 25, 2009 at 6:25pm
Adit, thanks for responding. Your take on this is very comforting!
Comment by KBo on October 6, 2009 at 11:28am
Love the Didion essay! Also "My Misspent Youth" by Meghan Daum. http://www.meghandaum.com/articles_by/art_by_misspent_youth.html

And, you read Penelope Trunk? Love her!
Comment by T on November 6, 2009 at 6:07pm
Anna- You expressed it so well. I never get bored in that I am always running around doing something, but after 10 years here, it's not fun for me like it used to be. So in that respect, I too have become cynical and jaded about NYC. It's a love/hate, really, because I grew up right outside the city so I have strong ties here. But it hardly seems worth the expense and stress anymore. I am so glad I found this site to connect with others who feel similarly because I seem to be the only one I know who is starting to question living here.

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