Happy New Year!
Ok, so it’s July, but I think that when you’re a renter, signing or renewing your lease is actually a better judgment of time passed than any sparkly ball dropping. John and I have now lived in New York for (over) a year and boy oh boy, what a year it was.
I suppose that anytime you move to a new city it’s a bit of an adjustment, but holy mother, we had an incredibly hard first year here. I think I’ve made it pretty obvious that I love living in New York and am so, so glad that we took the plunge and moved here, but just about everything that could have possibly gone wrong did, so I guess you know my love must be very deep and really true. It’s ugly “I will change your diaper when you’re old” love – none of that “awoken by true love’s kiss” crap.
Man I would really, really like some of that true love’s kiss crap.
Anywhoozle, as I’ve mentioned before, our foray into New York began with John landing a really great job with a big international company, rah nah nah nah nah. I had a couple of really excellent, very promising job leads as well. Ones that I was certain would amount to a fabulous, meaningful, life-fulfilling career. Because I pretty much expect for things to fall into my lap. We were thrilled because we had wanted to make this move for some time and given the economic climate were baffled by our good fortune. Recession, schme . . . um . . . cession. Take that economy! We’re moving to the most expensive city in the country! HA! I laugh in your grimy, black & white, Hooverville-living, tattered clothes wearing face! NOW FETCH ME MY TOP HAT.
So there we were, thinking that our combined income was going to be, like, a million dollars a year and all of a sudden, not two months after our arrival . . .
. . . the big international company decided to close their New York office.
Whee! I did not end up getting either of the fabulous, meaningful, life-fulfilling jobs the universe had promised me either. Yahoo! We quickly realized that the easily MILLIONS of dollars we were supposed to make would now actually, well, according to my calculations, be more along the lines of, well . . . zero. Zero dollars a year. Hmm. Ok, we can work with that, right? Right? Hey – hey! WHERE ARE YOU GOING WITH MY TOP HAT?
So here we were, hatless and stuck in an iron clad lease on a very expensive apartment. You know, the one we signed when we were to be making a million times our new income of zero . . . which, I guess technically IS zero, but you know what I mean. Top that off with the rainiest summer of all time in New York and you’ve got yourself quite the cheery environment. Yippee!
So yeah, there was THAT to deal with, but luckily John was able to continue working with his previous DC employer remotely and I managed to find some temp work. Not the best circumstances, but something to survive on without having to head back to DC with our tails between our legs. Oh how the mighty (for five seconds) had fallen. Had everything worked out the way it was supposed to, things would have been a lot easier, but relocating to New York is probably never easy.
I’m from the east coast and so before I moved here I felt confident that my basic knowledge of the city, in my ingrained intuition of a subway system, and experience with the general assholeyness of northeasterners would be a nice foundation. It turns out it doesn’t matter how many times you have come to visit, how many weekends you have spent here, it takes a good, solid year of Manhattan living to really figure things out. And by “figure things out”, I of course mean just start scratching the surface. But now that we’ve survived year one, things are slowly starting to get a bit easier. We’ve moved to a neighborhood that suits us much better, into an apartment that is much cheaper, and barely remember what it’s like to have all of the conveniences of a suburb. Things like, you know, gorgeous in-house washing machines. And gigantic cereal boxes. And cars. And central air. And grocery stores with aisles bigger than my bedroom. And . . . and . . . ahhhh.
Ok, so it’s hard. It’s harder than I thought it would be, but oh, I love it. It’s worth it. I don’t remember what it’s like to not walk 15 miles in a weekend (no – really), just wandering around, because there is so much to see and do. In fact, I don’t remember what it’s like to be frustrated with the whole “there’s nothing to DO” problem, on the contrary. There is too much to do. Like, I barely have time to watch The Real Housewives of ______ anymore . . . ok, that’s a lie. But almost.
I don’t know how long we’ll live here. If it were feasible to live a normal, nuclear family life in Manhattan without being one of the High hat and Arrow collar set, I think that even my restless self could live here forever. There is a family that lives in the brownstone a few houses down from us and sometimes I press my face against their window and repeat over and over “Chicle? Chicle?”, in hopes that they’ll mistake me for a small Mexican child and will adopt me. Shrug. So far no luck, but I think a snowy winter will definitely add to the effect, so fingers crossed.
So where am I going with this . . . hmm. Ok – let’s end with trite things that everyone knows that I have just figured out: well, for starters, when you’re an “adult”, nothing is easy. Like . . . nothing. And it will never, ever be. Last summer I hurt my back and even STANDING UP was hard. Ah, note to universe: I get this lesson. I am a master. Stop quizzing me. I don’t need my doctorate in it. What else . . . hmm. Oh! Everything is a trade-off. There are good and bad things about living in *elsewhere* and there are good and bad things about living in NYC. According to my research, everyone is dealing with the same set of problems. In New York, there are just more distractions, and I am very happy with being distracted for the moment because I have, like, way over 99 problems that absolutely include bitches, so take that Jay-Z.
So it’s been a fun-disastrous-lesson learning-adventurous-disappointing-exhausting-incredibly-filled-to-the-brim year. But why would you live life any other way?