Why Leaving New York City Was My Only Choice

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I’ve lived in New York for four years and
364 days, but if you told me it’s actually been three trillion lifetimes, I’d believe
you. It’s home. It’s family. It’s life… It’s time to leave. Why did I move here in the first place? Why did I give up not knowing what an egg
cream is, or calling soda “pop”? Why did I give all those things up? Because I’ve been a New Yorker since birth. I just had to move here to seal the deal. I moved here to find myself. And find myself, I did. I’m a big, brave person. I take life by the bull horns. I came here for a job but what I found was
life. I found friends, some with tattoos, some without. I saw something. And I said something. In the words of a fellow New Yorker Jay Z,
I’ve got a New York state of mind. New York changes you. It gets in your blood. There’s no cauterizing New York. It hardens you into a speed walking cell phone
talking east coaster with an attitude. You enter as a boy but leave a man. You enter as a girl but leave a woman. You enter as a puppy but leave a doggy. Et cetera. New Yorkers say New York has the best of everything. The best water. The best pizza. That’s the people of New York for you. Resilient. All that may be true, but they don’t tell
you how New York has the best Broadway shows, or the best Rockefeller tree ceremony or certainly
the best Empire State Building. Want a pro-tip from a real New Yorker? Don’t bother with the Sbarro Pizza in Times
Square. Go to the Sbarro on 7th and 33rd instead. I swear they do something to the crust that’s
a total game changer. Must be the water. New Yorkers are tough. They share crowded trains with rats during
rush hour. Every mattress is infested with bed bugs. They kill each other in the streets over who
makes the best empanada (they’re all terrible). The MTA hasn’t sent an F train in three
years but enter the 2nd avenue F train station at any time and you’ll see thousands of
New Yorkers waiting patiently for their train. New Yorkers never complain. As amazing as New York is, it also has it’s
faults. Maybe it’s not “cool” to talk negatively
about the greatest place on earth, but light must be shed on the truth. It’s rarely brought up, but it is very difficult
to live here. There’s a perception that New York City
is easy to move to and find success in, but the truth is more complicated than that. Contrary to popular belief, the cost of living
in New York is higher than many other places. Even on a 6-figure salary it can be difficult
to live in a two bedroom apartment in Greenwich village, go to your favorite brunch spot twice
every weekend, and maintain your Equinox membership. You might only be able to take cabs most of
the time, not all of the time. And no one has ever successfully dated anyone
else in New York. They’re too busy with work, their hobby,
or their other poly-relationship to give you the time of day. Dating Apps? Better buckle every seatbelt you can find
in your uber, because you’re in for one heckuva rocky landing. Every New Yorker has a horror story about
being swiped right on too many times or accidentally going on a date with three people in the same
night. Dating is for the flyover states. The difference between a bodega and a deli
is astoundingly unclear. Try asking for clarification from the owner
and they’ll lie to your face just to throw you off the trail. They call it the city that never sleeps. I miss sleeping. There’s also no discount on a subscription
to The New York Times just because you live here. But it’s time for me to leave this gleaming
beacon of melting pots. Some people say you have to live in New York
for ten years before you’re considered a New Yorker. My friend Anna says it only takes five years,
and in one day, I’ll have been here for just that long. In one day, I’ll also be saying goodbye
to this city. I’m not leaving because I’m miserable
and never appreciated how hard you have to work every day here and I never fit in because
I treated my time here like a second college experience instead of the beginning of adulthood. No, it’s just one of those funny quirks
of life that I’m waiting to leave until the day I’m able to tell people that I’m
a real New Yorker. I’m leaving because I won New York City. I did it. I beat it. I came here with nothing, and I survived. And once you win, you have to leave. I won faster than most people lose. Goodbye townhouse with unfairly-small in-unit
washer/dryer and expensive garage. Goodbye rude Fresh Direct delivery guy. Goodbye creepy foreign doorman who could never
pronounce my name right because of his weird gross accent. I’m going to take my show on the road and
keep looking for the things I didn’t find in New York: love, inner peace, an ease to
my 24/7 existential dread. There are just too many self absorbed people
living here who think their privileged, banal, and easily accessible experience is somehow
unique or interesting. I’ve made it here, and now I leave to make
it everywhere. Thank you! Make sure to check my Medium.com post next
week on how, whichever type of Christmas tree you bought this year, it was the wrong kind.

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