Saturday, May 4, 2013

On Breaking Up with New York

Central Park Reservoir

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my move.  Last summer I came back to Houston, to the very neighborhood in which I grew up.  After seven years away, I unpacked my things in a garage apartment just a few feet from my childhood home. (Don’t worry – this is not an I’m-25-and-living-with-my-parents situation; they still live in the neighborhood, but now about ten blocks down.)

It can feel full circle at times – Sunday night dinners with my family, saying hello to the same neighbors I had 20 years ago, and even dating Michael, who I’ve known since I was 11.  It’s peaceful; it feels like home.

When people ask why I made the move from New York to Houston, I find myself saying things like, “Oh my gosh, now I can afford to be a real human!” or I'll point to my newly acquired proximity to my family, particularly to my 13-year-old brother, who still has quite the growing up to do.  But those answers are incomplete: In reality, it was just time that I broke up with New York.


In the summer of 2009, when I moved to Manhattan, I wanted a new experience.  Having just graduated from UT, I wanted to get out of Texas and away from the cultural expectation that I begin the process of becoming a yuppie.  

For three years I lived on the 5th floor of a walk-up apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.  In that time I lived with three girls, and our biggest connection was that we had no connection to the City.  Like most New York inhabitants, we were transplants, and our very different backgrounds made for what I had been looking for when I moved: new perspectives.  I got what I wanted -- new people, new conversation, a new city and certainly no expectation that I settle down.

Bye NYC!
But in my last year there, I started to feel weighed down.  The day-to-day was getting to me: the inconvenience of public transportation, the exorbitant cost of pretty much everything, and all the schlepping I did when I was out of my apartment for 15 hours at a time.  And then there was the intensity of the culture.  It was fantastic and thrilling when I had the energy for it, but exhausting and enervating when I just wanted to live.  And so I started thinking about Texas -- yuppie Texas.  At this point, years out of school, the idea of working and living in a place that was meant for living easier -- no flight to see my family, no $12 for artisan beer -- it seemed like the kind of place I wanted to be, only for real this time.


I was once broken up with by a boy who gave me no reason.  Only I realized later that it was actually the perfect reason.  You see, we got along really well, he and I did.  We had fun and enjoyed each other’s friends and, all in all, spent a nice three months in each other’s company.  So when he broke up with me I was a little confused.  “Huh?” I asked.  And he said he could only explain it this way: After three months, we had come to the point at which we should either really date, or call it quits.  So he called it quits!

And that’s why I broke up with New York, too.  I love New York, I do.  Thinking of my little Upper East Side apartment, or running through Carl Schurz Park, or heading to a story-telling event in a warehouse-y district of Brooklyn makes me nothing but happy.  

But New York and I were getting serious – too serious – and I just knew that we wouldn’t last.

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