New York, I miss you!
In honor of Memorial Day, I want to honor my former New York/East Coast life.
A feeling washed over me this weekend, one that I couldn't quite identify. I moved to Minnesota almost 11 months ago, abandoning my 15 year stint in New York. I embraced Minnesota very fast -- it's an easy place to love. Anyone who asked me how I feel about moving from New York has been greeted with a wave of enthusiasm about how happy I am here. Cost of living is 1/3 of what it was in New York and there's a surplus of grass, trees and lakes here—it’s visually stunning. I have built a nice life with my husband and dog here and I've found a small circle of friends that make it feel like home. I've never really missed New York, to the point that I almost think it’s odd.
The only time I cried was when our furniture showed up from New York 3 weeks after we moved and it was all so tiny, it barely filled the living room. Whereas in New York, the living room felt crowded with the 65 inch wide CB2 couch. I cried because the furniture didn't fit and didn't look right, and I realized, I no longer live in New York--and tiny furniture was just one of the sacrifices I made to live there for 15 years. The solution was buying new furniture. Nice furniture. Furniture I wanted--rather than just buying what I could afford because so much money was being flooded into rent in a New York apartment, that by any real standards, would be considered a dump.
I actually missed New York so little, that I would dread going there for work. And when I was there, I had so much contempt for the crowds, the filth, the noise—I couldn’t wait to get the hell out and I freely let everyone know that. I became a snob about being above New York, as my loyalty toward Minnesota grew. Every time people asked me if I missed New York I would be so flip about it--are you kidding me? What’s to miss? To be honest I wore this shield of honor about getting out of New York, to the point that I pitied people who still live there. I still don’t know why. The minute I left New York, I discovered beautiful parts of this country and I learned that there is life beyond New York. I really thought I’d wilt and die when I left, but instead, I kind of thrived. But that doesn’t mean I should shit all over New York—the place where I grew into an adult, found a career that suited me, a husband who married me, friends who supported me, family who was always there for me and a place that allowed me the freedom to be whoever I wanted to become. New York is good like that.
There may have been a few times in the last 11 months where I even questioned my lack of missing New York. Was I in denial? Of course I missed friends and certain places—but I didn’t once wish I lived there again and if you gave me the chance to come back, I would have politely declined. I even put up an April Fool’s joke that I was moving back—and most people believed me. Meanwhile, it was the last thing I’d consider at this point!
Through all this, I’ve been happy to post all over social media fun pictures of Minnesota, my dog in Minnesota, me and my husband in Minnesota, how great I look in Minnesota (you’ve seen those selfies & headshots), all my new furniture purchases, a few of my new friends, all the fun things I do here -- I even developed #MinnesotaDoug as a hash tag. It was like I gave myself Minnesota bragging rights and created the idea of this Minnesota fairytale life. I sometimes wonder if it’s a thin veil to convince myself I love it here. All former signs of being a New Yorker vanished. It felt easy and this was meant to be. And honestly, it is meant to be. I know I’m supposed to be here. But again, that doesn’t mean I have to hate on New York and pump myself up mentally about how glad I am I don’t live there.
Then Memorial Day weekend rolled around. I’m here in Minnesota, with my husband and my in-laws are visiting from Canada. So we’ve taken them all around, showed them our new hometown, the big sites, even a baseball game. It actually, for the first time, feels real. I live here. All the while I’ve been seeing facebook updates, instagram posts and snapchat stories from all my New York/East Coast friends. Hamptons and Fire Island bound, Brooklyn beaches, Central Park—all of that. And I’ve felt so sad and heavy. And jealous. And left out. I started judging myself and my Minnesota life, as if I’m trapped here for a life sentence. As if my social life and all the fancy shit that went along with New York living are no longer available to me. That’s when it hit me, I do miss New York. I’m homesick. And maybe that’s okay.
Feeling sad this weekend doesn’t mean I don’t love it here or can’t love it here. It also doesn’t mean I can’t have room for New York in my heart. I didn’t have to dispose of New York and my love for that city to settle into this one. I remember I was telling a Minnesotan transplant how much I love it here and how there’s no looking back at New York. He was like, the homesickness sets in around a year. I didn’t want to hear that and I shut him down. “That’s not me.”
Turns out, it is me. I’m a little homesick this weekend. And actually, as sad as I feel, this is normal. This is grieving. I want to honor that. I was so excited about my new life here, that I never took time to honor or appreciate all I did have in New York. Every time I’ve been back all I see is lack and I prop my Minnesota life up. That’s just a form of coping. I now see that.
I’m here to say, New York. I love you. I do miss you. It doesn’t mean I’m moving back—but it also doesn’t mean I have to continue to deny you. This weekend’s sad feelings are my awakening. There’s room for all my favorite cities in my heart. And you will always be one of them. And I want to say, New York, I’m sorry I spent the last 11 months bad-mouthing you. You never did that to me. Happy Memorial Day, to my former New York life.