DC is where my friends are, but my heart is in NYC

The Plaza in New York City
The Plaza in New York City

A year and two months ago, I made a spontaneous decision to move from DC to NYC, my dream city. I’d been living in the northern Virginia/DC area for nearly a year and a half, and while I loved the friendships and work connections I’d established there, I felt really out of place in the hyper-political atmosphere. A California native, DC lacked the quirky culture and character I’d grown up around, and every time I rode the metro back to my Ballston (or Falls Church) apartment, I felt 60 years old. Certainly not 22. I desired the kind of excitement my dad experienced when he resided in Manhattan and Brooklyn in the 70s. Throughout my childhood, he talked nonstop about NYC, and I vowed at a young age to follow in his footsteps and eventually try to make it there myself.

So in fall 2011, I applied for a prestigious job in NYC, landed it, packed up my things, and headed northeast. A lot has happened since then. And by that, I mean I arrogantly waltzed into New York with a glamorous full-time job and am currently bouncing around as restless, wannabe MPDGs do. When I’m not scrambling to freelance and maintain my tiny space on the Internets as a blogger/commentator/journalist/ranter, I’m nannying for a wide-eyed 4-year-old who makes me cookies in his spare time (because I’m just that awesome, duh). At first, I thought one of the perks of babysitting was being able to ditch my ugly corporate clothes and wear jeans five days a week. But as I told my buddy Crystal, I’m getting a little burned out on the insane state of things, and I want my boring clothes back.

Needing to get away from dreary, perpetually chaotic NYC, I ventured down to DC this weekend.

DC

The weather was warmer, everyone seemed happy to see me, and more people than I ever could have expected asked to hang out. That’s how life was when I lived in the DC area: I despised the slow, unreliable public transit system and the sterile atmosphere, but was never short on loyal friends once I got settled into my routine. They’re not just good friends either — they’re relatively stable folks who show up to work on time and know how to have fun afterward. As I mentioned in a recent blog post, everyone in NYC (including me, to an extent) is a disaster. That’s the draw though, and I do feel a greater sense of belonging among the free-spirited city dwellers here. I didn’t pursue art the way I do now while I was still living in DC, and that’s why I’m here today. Not having to drive or wait more than five minutes for a subway is also convenient. When I’m ready to go home at the end of the night, I want to be in my bed within fifteen minutes. When I was in DC, this simply wasn’t possible. Just look how long I had to wait for the metro at SEVEN P.M. ON A SATURDAY:

WMATA Fail

Though energizing and thrilling, NYC can bring you down if you’re not careful. I really needed to see my DC friends, as I know I can count on most of them for anything. It was also a reminder that I’m not as alone as I sometimes think. Sure I’m always around people in NYC, but many would agree it can feel isolating during the winter. My NYC friends are terrific, but I just happen to have a larger circle in DC. Who knows? Maybe I’ll move back in 2014. Crazier things have happened in my life.

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2 thoughts on “DC is where my friends are, but my heart is in NYC

  1. I know exactly how you feel! I made the move up to NYC after having lived in DC (on and off) for almost 8 years. I always felt more comfortable in the ‘off’ places by the end of that cycle so it was time to leave, despite my lovely friendships there. NYC has always been home to me in many ways, but I agree it will chew you up and spit you out. Especially for freelancers! But you’re doing great, not many people realize everyone here is a hot mess until later:P

    1. Thanks for your input! Nothing beats the bars and ease of public transit here, but I miss my friends in dc. Sometimes I feel really alone but then I remember I wouldn’t feel this way in dc because of the amount of people I know there. On the other hand I’m also a grass is greener type of person and have to keep my tendency to wonder at bay!! Either way NYC is far from easy, it will break your heart! I’m glad everyone is so artistic though.

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