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For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamed about living in New York City. When I was younger, my aunt used to take my brothers and cousins and I on day excursions to the city and when night fell and it was time to go, I’d look out the car window, mesmerized by the twinkling lights sure that I was going to end up in one of those Park Avenue apartments. Now, I know, everyone has an obsession with New York City; I’m just relaying mine to you right now. It was such a beautiful dream, and it felt so real to me as I conjured it up in my naive little head. Years later, I wonder why I felt such a calling to New York.

Have you ever thought about the life you envisioned for yourself as a child? What was it? Was it marriage? Was it eight kids? Was it your dream job? Was it a farm? Or was it New York? I feel like we are always having to choose between evergreen and New York.

What I mean by that is life in New York is like a day at an amusement park. You are in this state of constant stimulation. The fun never ends, and when it does, you’re left craving that next piece of sparkle or fulfillment just to tide you over until the next joyride. New Yorkers are addicts. And granted, this New York lifestyle does not pertain to all New Yorkers, but the New York I’m talking about, the one we’ve all always envisioned, is the one I’m referring to. It’s all fun and games until you wake up and understand that the lifestyle of  a New Yorker is one that is so difficult to maintain.

I’m 22 now, and what I wanted when I was gazing up at the city lights in my aunt’s car, is not what I want now. Don’t get me wrong, I want the glitz and the glam of an overpriced apartment on the Upper East Side and the local bodega that sells my favorite ice cream bar, but I also want the green backyard, the quiet, the slowness, and a family to come home to. I could get that in New York, I could. We could have like an inch of green and our dog would probably shit all over it, but we could have it. We could have the quiet, if we soundproofed our walls, and we could have the slowness if we took that slowdown camera affect on the iPhone and applied it to real life. (I pretended I was in The Matrix all the time as a kid) So, yeah, we could have it. I could deal with that dream. But the thing is, that’s not my dream anymore.

I want the porch. And “the porch” to so many people symbolizes the death of all souls everywhere. It symbolizes complacency, boredom, dullness and routine. But, to me, it paints the picture of love, and family, and summer nights, and smiles, and memories, and sitting on that porch, looking across the skyline at the city that never truly was.

New York is still a dream to me, but it’s just one of my dreams. And it plays such a small part in my path to where I’d like to be. I’m saving for an apartment. I’ve got a monetary goal set in mind as well as a time goal set in mind. But it’s not set in stone. New York is like FOMO (fear of missing out). Everyone has got to get here at least once in their life, madly experience it, and then leave it. You tell everyone about it, share your stories, but then you cast it aside because it just never feels real when you’re there. New York just makes me beg for confirmation every day, it makes me beg for validation, it makes me beg for forgiveness for not being all that I can be. It’s that lover we’ve all probably had that never made you feel good enough no matter how hard you tried. And while a push to be a better you is always good, that person took you over the edge, with New York laughing alongside them.

This city vs. evergreen is like choosing between Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan. Gatsby was Daisy’s one true love, he was her porch, her evergreen. But Tom was her amusement park, he was her New York. So, are you going to choose the amusement park over the porch? Or the porch over the amusement park? Does New York even care what you end up choosing? Hell, if you don’t choose New York, there’s one more in line behind you who will.

New York is New York. It will and always will be. But evergreen, contrary to its name, is a state of being that runs out of sparkle and purpose if not treated right. New York will let you ravage it, and throw it away. It’s indifferent and ruthless. But evergreen is soft and fragile, and quietly makes us realize the important things in life. If we tamper with that, then we’ve lost everything, including New York.

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