Some days I feel like the city is conspiring to drive me out. And then I’ll turn a corner and think I live in the greatest place on Earth. And I think it’s not NYC, but me.
I’m standing at the crossroads of my life here. Since the end of June, my old apartment has been packed up in a storage unit near the Navy Yard. I finished one sublet and now am in a roommate share situation, both in Bushwick. Still freelancing in Midtown for a mothership like agency. It’s been just over 6 months since graduation. The time has to come to officially figure out what I’m doing with myself.
I’ve been putting in motions to get out of New York intently the past 3 months. Sending out tons of applications to the West Coast, but at this point I’m focused Euro bound. I’ve researched visas intently and applied (and got accepted to) a language school in Paris that supplied me with the pre-registration form I need to get my process started. I even had a job interview in Berlin about a month and a half ago. I walked around (shivering because it’s cold as hell there) and looked at the city with fresh eyes wondering if I could see myself living there. The pluses are the cheap rent, great transit system, lively scene, and already having a boatload of former Brooklyn dwelling friends there. The minuses were the weather and the traditional German food not winning me over. A girl can’t subsist on doner and sushi for too long. Then hopped over to Paris for about 36 hours to scope out the language school and wonder if I could see myself there either. This week is a Skype interview (a new strange experience) for a position in Amsterdam. The only time I’ve been there was passing through the insane Vegas-like Schiphol Airport. We’ll see how it goes for sure. I’ve realistically calculated myself out of here by February 1st. This –whatever direction it might be in — is definitely happening.
It’s been a bizarre weather week in NYC. Minor earthquake in the middle of the week (didn’t feel a thing) and the crazed panic over Hurricane Irene. They actually shut down the whole transit system which never happens. Overreaction central in the city. I spent most of the last 2 days not especially concerned and bored to death in the house. And probably will remain here tomorrow since the subways will probably be too fucked up to bother with tomorrow. Good times.
It’s reminded me that I’m overdue for some sunshine. I spent the bulk of the summer working and didn’t experience the beach at all. I think that’s probably why I’m full of such happiness and cheer lately. I need some Vitamin D. Just the excuse I need to go visit Alex in Portugal, eh?
The summer’s been a little hit or miss for me. I took a month after school ended to stare at the walls and vaguely think about my thesis project (not-tinkered with, but not forgotten either!) before giving in to the siren call of ad money and going back to doing what I mostly hate. What makes it frustrating is that I love digital and everything interactive associated (for the most part), but being a producer/PM is so draining. You’re a combo babysitter and mom, getting pulled and shit on from all sides, and getting zero credit for keeping the whole thing from exploding by the end. And then on to the next miserable project.
To combat my lovely work life, I’ve been jumping into all sorts of random stuff. Some of the most fun for me were watching my friends DJ yacht rock music on a Friday night sail around New York Harbor (a picture above). I didn’t know anyone there but them and was mostly in my own world, just listening and enjoying a nice night out on the water, but it was awesome. So relaxing after yet another draining week. Then Saturday night was off to Zebulon (a place I have such a love/hate relationship with. Brilliant bookings but some of the worst crowds and inattentive staff in Brooklyn) to see James Chance do a set that mixed his music and James Brown covers. It was totally fun, even if the actual start time was nothing to close to as advertised.
But now the summer’s winding down and I have to figure out my next move. My sublet is over at the end of September and I need to decide if I’ll find another or commit to a new place for real. I’ve been trying to motivate myself to consider December 31st as a de facto move deadline. West, across the pond, up North…I don’t care, I just need to be somewhere else by my next birthday.
School is over and I have returned to some semblance of an adult life. Back to working at a mega agency, subletting my friend’s place in Bushwick until the end of September, most of my old apartments’ stuff in a storage unit. I graduated burned out on my passion project thesis and generally unsure of what to do next.
In my heart of hearts, I’d love to move to Paris and re-mmerse myself in the great expat community I met during my past two visits. The visa situation is super tough though and I find more reasons to be wary about going there every week. What I really want in my life is an adult adventure not in NYC. I’ve given this place 30 years and am dying to experience something else. The where is the big question mark at this point.
I’ve also been attempting to give my cynicism a rest. With the full knowledge, I’ll never be completely happy go lucky either. But it’s way less energy needed to allow myself to find the fun in a bad situation. Like my foray into speed dating the other week. That was super yikes, but ultimately so comedic.This summer’s been great so far for meandering and doing as much (or little) as I want to do. Nothing’s going to touch last year’s jam-packed travelpalooza, but that’s okay.
This is rare time where I can say without hesitation that life is pretty damned good. Sure, I’m entering the wild eyed pressured phase of my thesis and am still struggling to keep my brain totally focused. And most things aren’t totally perfect. But, I’m turning 30 on Wednesday and going to Europe on Thursday and feel happy and settled and inspired and healthy and hopeful. The lack of complaints on so many fronts blows the things I could complain about out of the water. It’s a really nice feeling.
Over the years, I’ve always thought about what kind of tattoo I would get if I could swallow my fear of needles long enough to get inked. I had a phase where the phoenix rising from the ashes was it, then a black cat in honor of my neurotic girl. But the one thing that has stuck is just a simple writing of the word Excelsior. It means ever upward (actually, higher) in Latin (which I took for 5 years a million years ago) and is the New York state motto. It seems like it would be a nice tribute to the strange turns this life has taken over the years and that it has been getting better going on. Maybe I need to just pop a Xanax and make it happen.
My trip next week is a 12 day combined do over of Paris and first journey to Berlin. I’m curious to see what Paris will be like not agonizing over every Euro spent and able to do whatever I want. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of the people I hung with over the summer and explore some new places too. The dream to move there is still chugging along, so scouting out some prospects is also on the agenda. It’s harder for me to pick up and go haphazardly because working at a bar or tourist spot would probably barely be enough for me to pay my bills there and also take care of my student loan bills that are about to be due very soon. I want to figure out a way to work it out though. Berlin is a mecca of people I know, so I’m definitely interested in exploring that too. Two Brooklyn friends moved there in the past year, so I want to chill with them and see what the place is all about. My one guaranteed destination is Berghain and besides that, just plan to wander and soak it all about. PrincessNella and I are meeting up and exploring it together, so that should be hijinks galore.
Happy early birthday to me and hopefully many more.
He revealed himself as fundamentally on a different wavelength with the whole episode. I had left it in half asleep panic, looking in vain for my scarf and sadly resigned to never see it again. I love that scarf. The most sentimental souvenir from my long summer journey. It reminds me of sunshine and blazing my own trail alone. The two times I’ve thought I’ve lost it have both ended up being disastrous days for me. It’s my good luck charm. If I believed in that sort of thing.
But this is about the wallet. Abandoned in the couch cushions despite my knowledge. It had led me there that night, promising fun but also prepared to go into battle. Sometimes you can sit and talk to someone you feel like you know so well and suddenly realize that you are strangers to each other. I kept my poker face on and accidentally sat my wallet down before the last acquiescence. It ruined my chance to go out the way I had planned. I stood at the diner counter the next day and reached in my bag to pay for my order and found nothing. I stepped out to text to ask him to search for it, swallowing my pride. He was responsive and I settled in for the day, hoping to have it all resolved soon.
Yet I waited for days. I tried not to push, does he realize how hard it is to live without your wallet? Money, cards, ID, and Metrocard held hostage. I spent time at home stewing as he made every excuse under the sun to delay the return. If I had balls, he would’ve had me by them. Nothing to do but remain calm.
Until Day 3 when another flimsy excuse pushed me towards the edge of my false relaxation. I don’t want to argue, I just want to get it back, I wrote. He wrote back with vitriol I had never seen. I was pretending to be blameless? Ungrateful? Making his life miserable? While he was holding everything that made me a functional person in his hands? Some people aren’t worth shit. I’m sorry you feel that way, I just want this over with.
I marched across Brooklyn in the ice and snow to get my wallet and even said thank you. Then walked away without another one word. Some people aren’t worth your breath. I was whole again. I even found the scarf a few days later. It may be just a scarf and I’m learning to stop losing my head over things.
I’ve been enjoying the hell out of myself this semester break. I didn’t realize how worn out I was until I decided the most exciting thing I could do (repeatedly) was park in bed and watch Netflix Streaming. I had finals induced vampire hours for most of the past month, but I’m finally getting back to normal daytime rising…just in time to have most of my classes at night!
School just asserted itself back into my life in a big way with two huge emails over the past few days: a dispatch from my thesis advisor with the class schedule and then the instructions on how to apply for graduation. Yikes! Two years of my life are coming to a close rapidly. Graduation day is May 18th, just over 4 months from now. If I wasn’t excited about how much I’m going to kick ass this semester, I’d be completely terrified that the end is so near.
In all the midst of this, I’m turning 30 in March. I feel pretty hopeful about that. I’m sure it’ll knock me for a loop the first time I realize I’m not a 20-something anymore, but luckily with my good genes, no one believes me when I say how old I am anyway. I’m kicking around the idea of going to Morocco or South America for a birthday trip. By then, I will want to escape NYC cold and my thesis pretty bad, so the farther I can go without a 24-hour plane ride, the better.