Yesterday, I packed up two bags for the summer in North Dakota, and put the rest of my belongings in storage. I don’t know when I’ll come back to New York or if I’ll live there again. Now that I don’t have a full-time job, life could go many directions from here.
New York is a hard place to leave. I came here six and a half years ago from California when I was 22 years old. I had no connections, no friends and no job in this city, but knew there were great opportunities in journalism here, so I took a leap of faith and bought a one-way ticket to LaGuardia Airport. I still remember the cab drive from the airport and the giddiness I felt seeing the Manhattan skyline.
My life here has not always been easy. At times, the city feels like it’s beaten you down and you’ve lost – it’s usually after you’ve worked a 10 hour day, then the subway breaks down, it’s pouring rain, you have no umbrella, you’re lugging three bags of groceries and a laptop, your squishy wet shoes have given you blisters, the sidewalks are shoulder to shoulder with sweaty humans and a man, probably equally as stressed, yells at you to go f*** yourself. I’ve hated the city in these moments and longed for the mountains and calm smiles of where I grew up in Northern California.
But other times, when the sun hits the skyscrapers just right, and the New York Times editor you’ve been pitching calls you back, and at 2 a.m. the twists and turns of the endless night lead you to a rooftop house party with fireworks in the distance, and actor Benjamin Bratt in the corner, you want to open up your arms and let all the smells and crowds and grime and car alarms surround you as you breathe it in. I’ve experienced some of the highest and lowest points of my life here, and I wouldn’t give it back for anything.
Goodbye for now, New York, until we meet again one day.