Tomorrow is my last day as a New Yorker. The life that I spent the past two and a half years building for myself, the immense self-learning I've done, the tumultuous highs and lows that surely just come from growing up but felt even more momentous and undeniable to me in this city of concrete and steel, is coming to an end. It is a choice, yes, for a person who is worth it. But that fact does not make the say good-bye any easier.
I had wanted to live in New York for years before I did it. I dreamt about it in high school, and even while doing so saw it as a pipe-dream, saw myself as one who would never leave the city in which I was born, had grown up, and had completed college. And then finally I decided it was now or never, that I was dying where I was, that I had to try it, that I had to give it a go. I did it the only way I felt comfortable - I spent a year applying to work and I finally got not only interviews - and the generosity of a wonderful friend who hosted me and quiz-interviewed me and dropped me off at said interview - but a job offer. And I came. Armed with the knowledge that I knew three people already here, that I had a steady source of income, and that I wanted to be here. In New York. With every ounce of me I wanted to be here. And I was offered yet more hospitality by another dear friend who allowed me to stay in her home for weeks until I found a place of my own, and I spent my first year here bouncing from apartment and roommate in Murray Hill to apartment and roommate in Gramercy Park to solo studio on the Upper East Side - lets be honest, it was pretty much Yorkville - to, finally, apartment with roommates across the bridge, in Brooklyn.
And there is nothing I'm not going to miss. I would give anything to be making this move at one of the inevitable lulls of living in New York - to have this timing coincide with an exhaustion of the cold and the fervor and the bodies and the always-rushing. But that is never the way these things go. Because even at my very lowest point, leaving New York never even entered my mind. I felt like I should leave, like I should stop the growth that I was undergoing and return home, with the delusional but desperate belief that if I went back to where I had been, I would return to who I had been. Who, really, was just a girl in very deep denial and fear about a lot of things that had been inside her all the time. I knew I would never really leave this city, just like I knew I was still me, I was just a more honest me. And honesty can take time to get used to, but it can't be denied once it's been admitted. At least it couldn't for me.
And so, regardless of anything else, tomorrow will be my last day living in New York. I'm excited for what this next year abroad in Australia will hold. I'm excited for the girl who is the reason that Australia is the country to which I venture. But, without even having begun the trip to the airport, I feel the same intense craving to return. To a city I've yet to leave. The same pull that I felt that eons-ago-feeling-day when I realized I had to go to New York. Absolutely had to go, that I was suffocating with the need. So that's hard. Hard to be feeling and ignoring. Hard to not talk about. Because it doesn't change a thing. I'm leaving.
But the honesty of the fact doesn't make it any easier to accept just yet.
My one consolation? What my father, and a dear friend who served very much as family for me here, keeps reminding me. New York isn't going anywhere. Thank god for that.