You live my procrastination.
Change is a constant in life, one which most often feels glacial or non-existent. There are some life milestones that smack us in the face and let us know change is coming. What I’ve found is rarely are these milestones as meaningful as the symbolism we ascribe to them (I can see more change in myself from the age of 15 to the age of 17 than I can from high school to college). Right now, I am approaching one of these Milestones. Having been through several graduations and life-markers, you would think that I would be at the point of taking such transitions with a grain of salt. However, this one feels different. This one feels BIG.
Here’s the reader’s digest rundown of what will be happening in the next week:
-I’m graduating with my MSW from NYU
-I’m leaving New York City to return Florida
-After a cumulative 9 months of long-distance, I’ll be reunited with my fiance
-I’m moving to a city I have only visited on vacation
-I’m starting my career, and will be paid for the work I’ve been doing for free for 3 years
-Before doing that, I will be legit unemployed for some unknown amount of time (no job, no school, no internship, nada)
-I’ll be leaving my position as “the uncle that lives nearby” to become “the uncle that skypes and sends good Christmas presents.”
-I’ll begin to REALLY plan my wedding/life/family etc.
Maybe I’m giving this change more credit than it deserves. Maybe I’m falling for the milestone hype as usual, and will actually see little change in who I am as a person. But, as we are nothing but the sum total of our experiences, I feel like it is impossible for me not to be changed forever by this particular transition, considering that nearly every aspect of my life experience will be different than they have been for the past 9 months (and in many ways, the past 23 years).
I’m scared for now. Not because of the change, but because of the instability of unemployment. I’m scared of not being able to provide for my family. I’m scared of disappointing those who expect big things out of me. I’m scared of being so scared of unemployment that I’ll take a job that I’ll hate, or a job that takes my career in a direction different than what I had envisioned (see: the case management job I’m interviewing for next week).
At the same time, I’m elated that these fears can be so easily resolved. If I can get an okay job that sets me down the path I want, all of those fear will be instantly absolved. Getting there won’t be easy, but once I am there I feel I won’t have a care in the world. I know I should be weary of any thought that a complex problem can have a simple solution, but I need to keep that thought alive because without it I will be zapped of all optimism (which would possibly be the greatest detriment to fixing this problem).
The unemployment aside, I’m starting to realize that this transition is more welcome than I thought it would be. I. Love. New York. I do. It is just as magical as you’ve heard. But honestly, I’m not that bummed to leave. I think the amount of time I have spent here is just long enough to keep me somewhat enchanted by the city, and not crushed by it. Take a good look around a subway car and you’ll be able to notice a handful of people that have completely lost the magic of the city — people who look defeated and can’t fucking wait to get off the train and into their beds, away from pace of the 4* boroughs. I’m not yet one of those people, but I can see some telling signs of what could have come had I stayed any longer.
On my way home from the Village, I take the N over the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn. The city is gorgeous at night, and the downtown N gives a particularly picturesque view of lower Manhattan — World Trade One to the right, the Brooklyn Bridge to the left, and further in the background the faint glimmer from the Statue of Liberty. It’s a fucking postcard 7 nights a week. As I was heading home from my last night of classes this past Thursday, I realized that this would be my last time over the Manhattan Bridge at night, and felt an obligation to stand in front of the nearest south-facing window to allow myself to soak it in.
I did. It was just all right.
I remember having a conversation with Alec early in my first semester at NYU in which I told her something along the lines of “the day my mind isn’t blown by this cityscape is the day I need to book my flight home.” That day has come, and I’m not sad about it. It’s time to be amazed by other things: by where my career will take me, by my life with Brittanie, by the birth of my first kid, by that trip to New Zealand, and by that really good steak we had that one time.
I love you, New York City. I love our late nights together and our picnics in the park. I love your buskers and your snowstorms. I might not be infatuated with you anymore, but that’s okay. Maybe I’ll come back to you one day, but I love you enough now to not allow myself to completely fall out of love with you.
I don’t doubt that this transition will change who I am, but I have a sneaking suspicion that 10 years from now I’ll look back on my time in the city just as I do the time between my 16th and 18th year. This milestone would mean nothing if it wasn’t for the formative experience of the past 9 months, and I can never thank New York enough for maturing me, readying me for the changes to come.
*fuck Staten Island
A company I really want to work for expressed interest in my resume and left me a voicemail asking to call back about a job opening. I called back but it went to voicemail. Now I’m just sitting hear, eager for them to return that voicemail and I haven’t showered yet. I don’t want to hop in the shower in the event that they call, so I’ve been reduced to a smelly nervous wreck.