Dear New York.

These past several months have been filled with a roller coaster of emotions.  The past few days–having said goodbye to the people I love most–were especially hard and my heart physically aches when I begin to think about it.

Growing up, I never thought I’d leave New York.  At least not so soon.  I watched as my sister eagerly packed her bags and moved to Cincinnati a year and a half after graduating from college and I thought she was out of her mind.

Why would anybody want to leave the greatest city in the world?  

But now I have to ask myself this one question that I recommend all fellow New Yorkers ask themselves: how do I know it’s the greatest city in the world if I’ve never experienced anything else?  Sure, I lived in Salt Lake City for six years and I spent four amazing years in Oxford, Ohio, but I didn’t have the opportunity to fully immerse myself in any city but New York.

New Yorkers pride themselves on being open-minded and all-knowing, but doesn’t that make us New Yorkers all the more ignorant and closed-minded than anybody else out there?  How do we know that this is where we’re meant to be if we never step outside of it and explore anywhere else?

Two years ago, I finally realized that it was time for me to start thinking about leaving my New York roots behind for a better quality of life.

Last scene leaving N.Y.C.

It’s always been challenging for me to step outside of my comfort zone.  Change actually frightens me. When I was three years old, I tried to wear the same dress every.single.day. I’ve somehow managed to hold onto dolls and Knicks jerseys from 20+ years ago. I can’t part with my pink Razor.  I refuse to get rid of my first car even though I know I’ll like my next car 10x more. Once I find something I like, I’ll never switch up my order.  I’ve always done what I’m supposed to do.  I tried my best to avoid getting into trouble growing up–aside from the occasional misbehaving–and I made it my life’s goal to do right by my parents and make them proud (to be honest, I was always petrified of disappointing them).  After graduating from college, I  moved home and got a job shortly thereafter.  I didn’t travel.  I wanted to stay home and go to the beach every.single.day.  I lived at home and two and a half years later, I had finally saved up enough money to move – into New York City – less than 20 miles from my hometown.

I hated New York.  I hated my job.  I hated the repulsive people I’d encounter every single day.  I hated the rent check that I had to write every single month.  I hated the traffic.  Why can’t I just get across town?!  I hated public transportation.  I hated the smell of public transportation.  I hated the litter on the streets.  I hated the cold.  I hated the prices at the grocery store.  I hated that my grocery store was in a basement.  I hated the taxes that were taken out of my paycheck every other week.  I hated the hours I was working.   I hated the competitive nature of every single person who lives in that city.  I hated always hearing, “oh yeah, well, it’s a really cutthroat industry…”. Everything is cutthroat in this city!  Everyone is constantly trying to one-up the other person… what’s the point!?

Finally, I hated the fact that I hated everything.  I didn’t want to be that person.  I want to be happy and ignore the things that bring us New Yorkers down.  I want to look at the incredible things that I do have and feel blessed and grateful, just as I should.  To make a very long story short, there was no way this could happen while living in New York.  At least not now.

Five years down the road, I could look back and view this as the biggest mistake of my life… but at least I tried.  And at least then, if I end up back in New York, I can say with confidence that it really is the greatest city in the world.

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