I used to listen to “Why Georgia,” especially that line, in college, longing to know what that meant in a real way. I would picture my exciting New York life full of friends and parties every night and take out at 4 am, and think how I couldn’t wait to be able to whine about moving away like John Mayer did.
I have lived in New York City for one year today. As a result, my life has changed completely in almost every way. More than ever before, I have started to figure out what I want in life and where I fit in the world. I know now what the word “budget” means. I know when rent is due and how much electricity costs. I know that there are subways other than the 6, and that taking the bus is not scary. I’ve managed to balance work and a personal life. I have met awesome people and reconnected with great friends. While I have never been able to find a place that will deliver to my neighborhood at 4 am, the rest of it has turned out pretty much as I expected.
But it didn’t start that way. Moving away from home for the first time is hard, but going from a rural college campus to living at home in the suburbs to moving to New York City is a completely shocking experience. I moved in with my best friend Yael, who is a nurse and works the night shift. That meant that many nights (and worst of all, weekend nights) I was on my own. I didn’t know anyone or anything to do. I didn’t know my neighborhood or anyone else’s. Most of the first month was spent watching Arrested Development and unpacking and pretending everything was better than it was. When another best friend, Lianne, moved to New York a month later, I had someone else to hang out with who was going through the same shock, only hers was coupled with the stress of starting graduate school. We went out sometimes, but for me, everything was still very uncomfortable and foreign. I felt very alone, but continued reminding myself that moving to New York City was something I had wanted to do since I was a little girl, and that living in Manhattan was amazing. After work, I’d get on the subway and put “Why Georgia” on my iPod, and that line would comfort me. I knew that being here was something I needed in my life, I just didn’t know why.
Things changed for me at the end of the summer, and I think most people know why. I found a place where I fit and people who I fit with. I relaxed and became comfortable in myself and my city. I inherited an amazing tour guide who has shown me things and experiences I never would have had on my own. No matter what happens, I have a reason to be happy every day, and that’s awesome.
I start my new lease today, and I am proud to say that I survived my first year in the city. I love New York and I am truly happy here. Here’s to round 2!
And with that, a picture of me on May 1, 2010: