In my adult life, I've experience three major shifts in perspective. Each time I was living in a city that I thought I knew and then a major life event happened, and a whole new city revealed itself to me. The first time, I was 23 and living in San Francisco. I'd been in San Francisco for a year, and I decided to quit my job and move to New York. San Francisco seemed sleepy, lonely and boring to me. In the 2 weeks before leaving, free of my job and responsibilities, I started going late night mid-week clubs and I suddenly understood what was beautiful about San Francisco; its underground culture hiding just below the surface. I stayed and fell in love with San Francisco.
The second shift happened in LA. I'd been living in Hollywood for 3 years. I hated LA with a passion. I found it plastic, temporary, and lonely. It felt like a place where everyone was working toward happiness by buying things (expensive cars, expensive hair, expensive boobs). I felt like a foreigner for the first time since moving to America when I was a kid. Then in the space of 2 months I lost my job and ended a 6 year relationship, and I found myself free of ties.
I spent 3 months house sitting in Larchmont, trying to figure out whether to move to New York. But the funny thing was, in that interim time it was like I took a pair of dark glasses off, and put on a pair of rose-colored glasses. Where before I'd seen nothing but dirty cement, I was suddenly seeing this lush, rich and glorious culture. I found a little cottage in the backyard of a house in Echo Park, with an orange tree in the yard and window all around. It was glorious. I stayed and fell in love with LA.
I'm going to be honest. For the past 3 years, I've found New York draining, expensive and claustrophobic. But I can feel a tectonic shift happening. On Saturday night, Jacob and I went to a opening in East Williamsburg in an apartment/workspace of one of his old school friends. We went last year, and I spent the evening feeling like an awkward teenager. The party was populated with the usual opening crowd, what I like to call the international hipster art-elite that seem to populate every opening in every city across the globe. Since we've been in NY, I've dreaded these evenings, always finding myself feeling insecure, grumpy and judgmental by the end of the evening. But Saturday, something switched in me. All those dark, insecure feelings had sort of drifted off and instead I found myself chatting to interesting strangers. I felt generous, curious and open.
I think I'll stay in New york and fall in love with it.