Eight Years in NYC

Filed under i used to be so cool, living in new york is neat, living in new york sucks so hard, no i really do love ohio

I was reading my old LiveJournal last night at 3 a.m. (narcissism!) and found this post from the end of my first year living here, when the boyfriend I had followed here from Ohio was moving back home and I was changing my mind daily about whether or not I would stay behind:

A year and a half ago, when my Best Friend 4 Eva™, Tracey, realized that her 1st year of teaching junior high was actually sucking pretty hardcore, she started talking to other teachers about how she was feeling. They tried to console her by saying things like, “It’ll take you about five years to get used to it, but after that, you’ll be fine.” And she kept thinking, “Why would I spend five years just trying to get used to something when I could be doing something I like right now?”

And so she quit. I’ve decided that’s how I feel about New York. Don’t get me wrong–I’m happy here. Some days, I’m happier here than I ever was back in Ohio. But for the most part, it seems like most of the people I’ve met here moved to NYC because they wanted to escape their old lives. They didn’t know anyone who thought like they did or all of their friends had grown up and gotten married or they’re introverts who want to be nameless and blend in. And that’s not me.

This year hasn’t been wasted for me at all. I got to experience a million things I wouldn’t have in Ohio, and some days I felt so alive that I thought I might burst. But it drives me crazy the things I’ve missed at home. Now that Tracey’s only working part-time, she has free time like she hasn’t had since we were in high school. And since she’s doing things that she loves, she’s a completely different person. She’s not dating her boyfriend-who-didn’t-like-me, so she’s going out and talking to boys, and I’m missing it. My friend-since-we-were-born Katie just got married to a boy I set her up with, and I missed her bridal shower and bachelorette party because I had to save my money to make it home for the wedding itself. My grandfather found out he has cancer last month and despite getting treatment in Mexico will probably die before I’m able to see him.

Sometimes I’m amazed at the number of people I’ve gotten to know here and will miss if I leave. On Friday, when I was 1000% percent sure I was moving back home, two of my co-workers came into the kitchen where I was making a warm beverage with the ridiculously awesome tea/coffee/hot chocolate machine and started talking to me about all of the reasons it’d suck to be blind when using the subway. I said, “Hey, guys, let’s agree not to become blind, okay?”, and one of the girls said faux-enthusiastically, “That’s a great idea!” And I loved her. And I thought, “If I leave, I’ll never have the chance to get to know this girl.” But it’s very obvious to me that I’ll never replace Tracey. And as much as I like my new job, its not like my old job at the library, and I don’t want to be a receptionist for the rest of my life. I know that eventually, all of my friends from home are going to be all settled in with real jobs and spouses and babies, and then they’ll be dead to me. That’s when I’ll make my escape to NYC. That’s when I’ll be ready to make new friends and sit in jazz clubs alone and spend two bazillion dollars on a one-room apartment.

People keep trying to console me by saying things like, “It’ll take you about five years to get used to it, but after that, you’ll be fine.” But I’m not sure that I’m willing to spend five years trying to build a life for myself here when I’ve already got a great one back home.

And now I’ve been here for more than eight years. And I have a hard time imagining living anywhere else.


  1. bluzdude says:

    Don’t worry about reading your own stuff… I do it all the time. I find it helps me keep my “voice.”

    • katie ett says:

      You’re right; sometimes I’m really inspired by my seven-years-ago self. She was confused, but sometimes she was eloquent. And sometimes she sounded like suuuuuuch a baby.

  2. Landlord says:

    Hmm, I was going to make a joke, and then I read the part about your grandfather. I’m sure you’ve told me about it, but that was before my super-amazing memory tactics were devised. Oh, and when were you going to go to these jazz clubs? Do they have a lot of saxophones?

    • katie ett says:

      Writing everything down is so good and so bad. I didn’t remember that I had to make the choice between going home to see him while he was still alive and going home for the funeral, so that’s bad. But what I did remember is not going home for either, so I’m glad to learn otherwise. FEEL BAD FOR ME.

      Starting to change my mind about the saxophone thanks to the sexy saxophone guy and that M83 song with the freaky mask.

  3. Jessica R. says:

    It’s amazing how our whole lives can waiver on a decision like that. I had my moment after I graduated college. I took the opposite approach and stayed home. I’m not sure if my decision was brave or cowardly, but I know in my gut it was the right one that lead me down the path I’m on now. We all have our own paths to walk, and I’m happy that NYC has become such a part of who you are.

    Now, did it really take a whole 5 years?

    • katie ett says:

      I’d love to read what went into your decision to stay or go, bravery vs. cowardice. My decision to stay was based on boys, which will surprise no one anywhere.

      It didn’t take me five whole years to develop a life here. Just a month after I made the decision, I met Kamran, and then everything sort of fell into place. It did probably take me five years (and maybe longer) to start considering NYC my home rather than Ohio, though.

  4. Interesting… I think you moved to NYC about the same time I moved from ND to STL. Give or take. Some. Time.
    Also, did I know you were a librarian at one point? Because I love that.

    • katie ett says:

      Sometimes I wish your blog was more personal writing-wise so I could know things about your move from ND to STL. And sometimes I’m just thankful for compressed grapes.

      Librarians everywhere would be horrified for me to call myself a librarian, since I don’t have a lick of a library science degree, but I did work at the Columbus public library my last year of college. Lots of shelving books, lots of helping patrons find the Pamela Anderson autobiography, lots of placing holds on items for people over the phone and then secretly watching from the stacks to see what they looked like when they came in later. It was DREAMY.

  5. Kelly Powell says:

    You’re braver than I am. I can’t BEAR to read my old LiveJournal entries.

    Oh, yeah, and also for sticking it out in NYC.

    • katie ett says:

      Your saying that makes me want to read all of yours right now. To relive why I fell in looooove with you.

  6. Ash says:

    I think maybe having friends/a boyfriend is the biggest part of being happy with a big move. My first year here was super lame ‘coz I had no friends to go out with and was in a long distance relationship. For a while there I wanted to move to Hawaii by myself. Then I found friends and forgot about that craziness. Happy 8 years to us! (Yes I still consider myself a New Yorker despite my address.)