I moved to New York right after college, in the fall of 2000. I moved here because it had been a life-long fantasy, and because I didn't know where else to go.
During my first year in NYC, I was an intern at a small publishing company, while also working as an office temp during the day and an usher at night. I was working 12 hour days, but I was still broke. I didn't really have any friends. And New York was getting me down. It was noisy and crowded and dirty, and I found I was just angry all the time. I had heard so many people say that on their first visit to New York, they knew there was no where else on Earth for them. I was not one of those people, and I thought there was something wrong with me. I mentioned it to my boss at the publishing company, and she said "Oh, it took me about two years to get used to New York." TWO YEARS?! How could I feel this crappy for that long? Was it worth it?
I know I'm not the first to say it, but New York is like a drug. More specifically, I think it's most akin to cigarettes. The first couple times you smoke, it tastes gross, it's sort of awkward, it makes you feel sick, and you can just tell it's bad for you. But after a while, you're addicted to the little rush, the rebellious image, and you choose not to think about the toll it's taking on you (physically or financially). I may pride my self on not being a smoker, but I did succumb to New York's charms.
I slowly got the hang of things. I got a real job, made a bunch of friends, and settled in to the pace of life. Every once in a while I would chafe against it, desperate to escape to the woods or the beach. But whenever I left, I was underwhelmed by other cities and towns, dismayed by strip malls, and frustrated by the slower pace. I had many moments when I considered "quitting" New York, but I never took any major steps in that direction.
Then a couple years ago, my boyfriend, Justin, said he wanted to move. He wasn't sure where, but he didn't want to go without me. For reasons I couldn't really pinpoint, I was terrified at the prospect, and actually a little angry at him for even proposing it. I felt like I finally had my shit together--I had friends, a great apartment, a freelance career, a professional network, and could navigate most of Manhattan and Brooklyn with confidence. And now I'm supposed to start over somewhere else? But it was also tempting: it would be nice to have a backyard... and a dishwasher... and a car... and fewer junkies greeting me on the stoop...
Luckily, Justin is a patient guy, and he's been waiting for me to be ready. And I'm getting there. I'm almost ready to quit New York, on my own terms and for my own reasons. I just have a few anxieties to get over before I make the leap. Smokers are lucky: at least they have Nicorette and "the patch." Lacking a chemical substitute, this site is my tool for quitting New York.