New York City

Since moving to the city of my dreams, I’ve learned that the love I see in movies and read about in books is overrated and unattainable. New York City is, in my opinion, not going to be where I find my “soulmate”, if that concept even exists. As the most populous city in the country, I’ve found that many people here suffer from “grass is greener” syndrome. Including myself. Simply put, there will always be someone else better around the corner, just a subway stop away even, so why settle?

When I moved to the city, I left behind heartbreak, inadequacy, and loneliness. In addition to fulfilling my lifelong dream of living in Manhattan, I came to the city not in search of love like Carrie or Ted, but rather in search of genuine and lasting friendships. And, without realizing it, I was also searching for myself.

For the record, I hated typing that stereotypical “searching for myself” sentence, but this blog is a place for real and raw honesty.

My first two months in Manhattan were anything but picturesque. I spent the first week of my life here sharing an air mattress with my small dog, crying myself to sleep because the moving company wouldn’t return my calls about my possessions. Eventually, I got my things back, but then the dust cleared and the realization of what I’d done settled in.

After starting my dream marketing job in Manhattan, I sold my car and almost all of my furniture and possessions to downsize from a 900 square foot one-bedroom apartment in Connecticut suburbia to live in a 400 square foot studio in Manhattan. This was therapeutic because they were things I’d shared with an ex who brought me nothing but self-loathing and misery during our time together. I wanted no reminders of the past. I only wanted to start completely anew in a place I loved.

I moved to the city in April, and by the time my birthday came around in May, I still had no friends aside from coworkers. I began a short-lived series on this blog called, “Myself and the City.” The idea was that I would chronicle myself enjoying dates in New York City…by myself. I wrote about taking myself out on my birthday, alone, to a rooftop bar for a meal, cocktails, and the sunset. And you know what? I enjoyed every moment of it.

It was the first birthday in my entire life that I spent completely alone. No family or friends. No boyfriends. Just me and the city. But spending my birthday alone humbled and strengthened me.

“My first two months in Manhattan were anything but picturesque.”

Despite this, I did experience a wave of emotions throughout April and May. I wondered if I’d made a huge mistake moving to Manhattan, especially amid COVID, even as things were getting better. I began to romanticize my old life in Connecticut, even though I was lonely and bored there, with only a handful of friends who all lived in different towns. In Connecticut, there wasn’t much to do at night, or in general if you were in your twenties. During these moments, I came to terms with a trauma I’d experienced there that I’d pushed out of my mind previously but was now forced to confront.

There’s a happy ending to this regret: it no longer thrives. I do not regret selling my car and half of my things to move to Manhattan. Sometimes I miss Connecticut for what it is: a beautiful, peaceful state overflowing with character. And maybe someday, I’ll move back. But not now, nor anytime soon.

We won’t always have everlasting lovers, true friends, and devoted family by our sides. Some people won’t remain in our lives more than a few months, while others will love us until our last days on Earth. Some people will flit in and out, like the changing seasons. And some people, as I’ve found, were never truly there to begin with.

In late May, I began making friends in the city through Reddit, Bumble BFF, and by going solo to clubs, concerts, and raves. Then I made even more friends through these friends. And pretty soon, I was no longer taking myself on dates. I just didn’t have the time.

I’ve realized that while quality time with true friends can mend and heal emotional turmoil, being at peace within myself is the only surefire cure.

Pretty soon I’ll be ending 2021 on a positive note. This year, I have come to embrace and love myself for who I am. While there are obviously still flaws and certain aspects of myself I’m working to improve, overall I can confidently say that I am a hard-working, beautiful, kind person, and a good friend. I deserve joyous memories and unforgettable moments beneath bright city lights.

New York City is a lot like life. It’s harsh, cold, and sometimes lonely. When I have a bad day here, it’s brutal. But when I have a good day here, it always feels like the best day of my life.

Maybe love does exist after all, but just not in the form I’d always expected. Maybe New York City is my soulmate.

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