Today, July 9th 2018, I am leaving New York. It has been exactly a decade since I arrived.
So This is New York
I came to New York with my boyfriend, eight suitcases, and my miniature dachshund. We flew in from Las Vegas and at a friend's insistence we went straight from the airport, dog and suitcases in tow, into Manhattan for a night of karaoke. I'd like to blame the tequila - but really, those crazy girls in their prom dresses rapping were just so much fun! At some point our reason to leave, that damn dog, only prolonged our stay when we revealed she was waiting outside with the driver. A parade of prom dresses rescued poor Lexxie from the waiting SUV to run laps around the inside of a restaurant at 2am. As the sun rose we struggled, drunk, laughing and cursing our selves while attempting to carry eight body-bag suitcases up six floors in Bushwick.
A Whole New World
It was the summer of 2008, smack in the middle of the financial downfall and I showed up to New York seeking a job having zero corporate experience. Having visited the Big Apple for the first time a few months prior I had no clue what I was in for.
Our first apartment was 300 square feet. It had one window that faced another building, and our bed took up the entire end of the apartment. We had no air conditioning and the dog was permanently banned from the bathroom because her four-legs made the bathroom so crowded you couldn't close the door. The lack of space and inability to see the sky seemed like one of my largest problems at the time. And in hindsight, I've realized it is actually an important part of my internal happiness. Blame it on my Midwest roots, having that constant exposure to an extraordinarily large span of the bright blue sky. I need it to survive.
You Might be a New Yorker, if...
That New York, Empire State of Mind attitude is abrasive if you're not familiar with it. The concise and rapid communication used here can feel abrupt, emotionless, and rude. But once you've been here for longer than a New York minute, you realize we're not rude - we're trying to do as much as possible, in as as little time as possible. It's a matter of speed, efficiency, energy consumption, and staying ahead. New York is more like a business deal than a friendship - it will offer you the world, for some major compromises, however the upside can be enthralling and inspiring.
The Difference in a Decade
A decade later I'm leaving with the aforementioned boyfriend who amazingly has been my husband for 8.5 years now. I still have one of those original suitcases, however this Houston move will be its last journey. We have the same damn dog who runs as spritely as that first lap around the karaoke restaurant. I quit my corporate job in 2010 to being my second degree at FIT, and that brought you (and me) this fabulous jewelry business.
New York brought me with the most unimaginable experiences - but the best has been motherhood. Raising a child here is complex and sweaty. Until very recently I've finally fallen into the lucky situation of having nearly full time childcare. Previously if I had something to do, our daughter came with me. Huffing your toddler around the city is exasperating.
New York also turned me into a better citizen. Becoming a parent, paying property taxes, and owning a small business drove me to make an impact, to drive my community to its best. Through the Dobbs Ferry Chamber, becoming its President and founding the Rivertowns Chamber, I uncovered a hidden skill set. Basically, I learned this about myself - I can get shit done.
New York for all its gifts, stole the naivety of my youth, the idea that I had time. New York made my heart race. Everything I had never dreamed of dreaming, feeling, experiencing - it was all here. The loss of a parent, Alice, and two best friends served a huge dose of reality. That while New York can offer you the world - its ultimately up to you to discover and do what makes you happy. And after a decade here, I have realize I do not need New York to be happy.
Growing up with divorced parents, it was a weekly experience to leave someone or some place behind. Whenever it was time to head back to St Louis, I'd share a tearful hug with Alice and we'd tell each other see you later. We never, ever said good-bye. Good-bye was too final.
New York - this is not good-bye. I'll see you later!!