My New York fairytale
Life has been absolutely crazy the past few weeks, and I missed my anniversary of moving to New York City. So, I wanted to take a moment to talk about my relationship with the city and what it’s meant to become an adult while living here. It always makes me really nostalgic and thankful.
I’ll never forget packing up my college house in 2009, putting all my possessions into a U-Haul van, and driving with my parents to New York. I had exactly $324 in my bank account. Looking back, I probably had unrealistic expectations for what NYC would bring (think Jennifer Hudson in the SATC movie). I often ask myself, “what were my parents thinking letting me do that?!” Nevertheless, it was exciting, and I’m so proud that at 21 I was brave enough to move to a place where I did not know one person. Without being wishy washy, I think you experience a different kind of initiation into adulthood in New York. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I moved back to my hometown after college.
I moved into a converted 3-bedroom apartment in Stuytown with two strangers. I established a group of friends with one of my roommates. I had a job selling wedding dresses, and quickly met a girl who is still a good friend today. I’d had a solid group of friends from college, and many of them lived in nearby suburbs. The next few years were a blur of Ess-a-Bagels, BYOB sushi restaurants, negative bank account balances and train trips on the LIRR to escape…and steal groceries from my best friend’s parents. Also, does anyone else remember the trifecta of Bowery bars: B Bar, Phebe’s and Bowery Electric? I swear I lived at these places from 2009-2011. (This article sums it up quite nicely: https://thoughtcatalog.com/lance-pauker/2014/05/b-bar-bowery-electric-phebes-which-is-the-best-bar/)
Because of New York, I’ve often felt like I’m behind in life. I’m thirty, single, and have lived in the same apartment since the day I graduated college. I still have two roommates. I sometimes still struggle the week before pay day. I’ve been at my current job for seven years, which is basically “forever” for millennials. For the record, I consider myself an old millennial.
Since I grew up in a small town, it can feel like my friends are divided into two categories. I have friends who are married, own their homes and have children. And, I have friends who are married to their jobs and still choose mimosas over mortgages. This leads to feeling like the city makes you grow up in this weird bubble of adulthood. My friends and I joke about “Peter Pan syndrome,” and it’s really a thing. My 25 year old friends like to drink as much as my 50 year old friends. My friends’ parents still refer to us as “the kids.” On the surface, my life hasn’t changed much in the past nine years, but I know I have.
Sometimes I feel like I’m a fake adult, but then I convince myself that my life and my choices are just as valid as someone who has gone through every traditional adult milestone. It’s taken some maturity to realize that this is all OK. There’s no perfect or right way to grow. I’m not behind. I’m still living a really amazing life. As New Yorkers, we work our butts off, and play just as hard, but we also move at a lightning pace and burn out. With some perspective, I feel very lucky. I’ve had so many adventures and crazy stories. I’ve gone on trips and spent wasteful money. I’ve spent weekends in the Hamptons and Fire Island and Atlantic City, and I’ve danced while watching the sun come up. I’ve felt heartache and disappointments. I’ve nurtured life-long friendships and grown closer to my family. I’ve worked with some incredible people, and got to do my dream job. I took the leap to launch my own business last year. I’ll get to have a great relationship and children, but I’m lucky enough to get all of this stuff, too.
None of this sounds too shabby. I like to reflect on that whenever it comes time for my lease to renew, or when I’m feeling down about where I am in my life. I wouldn’t trade the past nine years for anything, and know one day I’ll tell people some of my wild city stories from when I was young. Don't put pressure on yourself, and just do what feels right for you.
New York, I still love you. Cheers to us.