Almost Adult

It’s possible that I’ve really gone off the deep end. Because it’s been a week since I told NYC it’s kind of you, but it’s also definitely me, and I’m still dreaming about living in a log cabin in the woods somewhere.

Extremes. More extremes. Unsupervised, I tend to swing almost exclusively between them. I mean, a year ago, I was this close to moving to Europe and getting married. I had a job offer and I had a guy. A guy that I thought was the guy. (Note to self: this is the second time you’ve entertained this thought, and both times you’ve been wrong. Time to slow your roll.)

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The guy — he was wonderful. Still is. He could do unbelievable things with 10 euros at a market, a heavy-bottomed skillet, and a jar of herbes de Provence. He made me want to write until I grew calluses on my hands. He made me want to learn the subjunctive. He made me want to build a life in the middle of a sunflower field. Trade books. Travel the world. Walk everywhere, with an umbrella. Deadlift heavy. Run hard. Fall asleep in the passenger seat. Pick lavender. Buy bread, every day. Drink coffee. Taste every truffle. Enjoy all the things.

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The little girl in me so wishes that it had been him.

But the almost adult in me knew it wasn’t. There were a lot of factors at play — some that were easier to talk about (a very large ocean, a very complicated visa), and some that weren’t. We’ll leave those ones alone. But the bottom line was that I needed to live on my own, and I needed to try to launch a career. I needed my independence.

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I didn’t just watch the whole thing go up in smoke — I torched it. I did a total 180 and I moved to Manhattan. Me, myself, and I. Plus an occasionally acrid aftertaste. But I’m not sorry to have tried — I’m really not.

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I just think it’s time to move on. It’s not so different from when I realized it was time to let go of him. (Note to self: If you got to this point with this guy, you’ll get there with the other one, too. When you’re ready.)

I genuinely feel like I’ve given NYC everything I have. I’ve done my best — as an intern at first and then as a full-time employee. And then as a full-time employee again, somewhere else. I’ve worked my tail off to make friends. I’ve been to nine thousand coffee shops. I’ve embraced brunch (and all of its murkiness!). I’ve networked. I’ve dated. I’ve killed a cockroach. I’ve budgeted. I’ve negotiated a salary. I’ve taken myself out to dinner. I’ve fixed a sink. I’ve done a whole hell of a lot with a toaster oven. I’ve eaten more ice cream than I really want to think about.

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But now? What I really want is to take a step back. Sit somewhere quiet. I know that I just had a break, but I think I might need another one. I don’t know how many of those we’re entitled to, but I’m hoping that I still have one left.

I know that I can’t do exactly what I want to do, and live just where I’d like to live, and love who I’d love to love — that much is painfully clear. But I think I could work on identifying what makes me happy and unhappy, if I just had a little time. It’s probably going to involve dealing with some of the stuff that isn’t NYC-specific. Should we just cross that bridge when we come to it?

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{Note: All photos except coffee + chocolate by @nickersonross.}

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