For a city that holds over 8.4 million people, sometimes New York feels like it’s the smallest city in the world.
I get that we’re technically on an island that’s only 12 miles by 6 miles, and we’re endlessly stacked on top of each other, but I don’t get how I literally can go my entire time living in an apartment, and never see some of my neighbors, but I can’t escape some wild coincidences from happening over and over.
I want to say it’s the gay community, and I do think it’s a very small community, but it isn’t just us. My straight friends deal with the same thing all the time. Yes, it’s slightly more complicated in gay world because every other gay man has the possibility of becoming a friend, boyfriend, or something in-between, but I’m going to assume you understand what I’m talking about in a larger context.
And I know what you’re thinking, there must be some pattern I’ve fallen into, or I’m putting myself in the same situation over and over.
I can adamantly tell you, this simply isn’t true.
I make a point to see different friend groups, go to different types of bars, and travel to different neighborhoods. I’m even that weirdo that says hello to strangers in the supermarket and on the subway.
Yes, I actually do that.
Furthermore, I fully understand that certain people live, work, and play in very specific areas, and if you’re specific about a subgroup of people, specific careers, neighborhoods, and bars become the likely stomping ground for said subgroup. Case in point: gays, hipster, yuppies; we’re all creatures of habit to some extent.
However, what I can’t wrap my head around is how small this city really can become, and how a place you can love so much, can also be a place you just can’t stand in other moments.
Honestly, my love for New York City is endless and forever, but when it comes to social circles and dating part of me just feels as if I’ve gotten trapped in an endless whirlpool. It seems like it’s just the same people, doing the same thing, dating within the same people, rinse and repeat.
And when it feels like something different and exciting has finally come along, more often than not, it ends up that I’ve just been thrown back into the same spinning body of water.
I know this isn’t specific to just New York City, and that if you’re reading this from somewhere other than NYC, you can still fully relate.
To be honest, knowing this to be the case is extremely comforting in many ways because it reminds me that I’m not crazy, and that this is totally a normal feeling of frustration.
But I still have to ask, “Are you fucking kidding me with this shit New York?!”
For a while now I’ve thought about other cities, and what it might be like to live in Australia, London, or even somewhere not as far like Chicago, Boston, or Denver. I know these cities are technically even smaller, and I would most likely fall into this feeling again, but you just can’t help and wonder, maybe it’s time to leave.
The hardest part about this sentiment is, this is something almost every New Yorker feels at some point. It’s sad because when you fully embrace living in NY, you can’t deny that there truly is no other place in the world like it.
Yes, it’s intoxicating, unhealthy, and beyond harsh in so many ways, but it’s also one of the most robust, romantic, and invigorating places that anyone could ever dream of living in.
In college I escaped to Paris for a semester, which was amazing, but had a time limit attached, so it wasn’t exactly in the same vein, and being a student makes everything completely different.
I’ve left once to LA, and was gone for 3 years. It wasn’t the worst experience, but I was the person that knew it wasn’t my forever.
To be fair, I don’t know if LA and I really had a fair shot. When I moved there fresh out of NYU, I didn’t know what I wanted: I was still figuring out who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, and where I wanted to live. I found it hard to find people I really vibed with, and at the end of my stay I was dating someone in Norway, which was crazy, but I was young and in love for the first time.
All of that aside, my life is truly much happier on the East Coast personally and professionally. It’s just way more “me.”
If nothing else I know more than ever that my 652 miles and 45 days gone hiking part of the Pacific Crest Trail couldn’t be happening at a better time. I have a lot of things I need to think through, work on, and walk away from metaphorically and literally.
I’ve always felt revitalized after being in nature, and I know this trip will reconnect me to some things I may have recently lost. Additionally, I’m sure being with nothing but a backpack and one friend will remind me how much I love New York and all the craziness.
If nothing else, I know I just need to remind myself that nothing is permanent: not the feelings I’m having right now, not the place I’ve chosen to live in, not the work I’m doing, or the style in which I keep my hair.
That’s the beautiful thing about life; we have the power to change it at any point. We just have to grow an even bigger set of balls, say fuck it, and take that giant leap of faith that it will all work out.
And the craziest part about all of this is, I’ve already taken leap after leap after leap, and watched my life change in the most magical of ways.
So I guess all that is left to ask is, what am I waiting for? What are you waiting for? What are we waiting for?
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