miscellany, NYC

a word (or several) on the importance of bravery in everyday life

Last night at the diner a woman not much older that I (42) said I’d done a brave thing, moving to NYC on little more than hope that things would be different here.

“I guess,” I said. “Most days I think I need to have my head examined.”

She insisted that I was being silly (not unlikely) and should give myself some credit. Which reminded me of something my date said on Monday: that moving from Texas to Illinois to NYC is like moving between three different countries in Europe. Ok, then.

This reminds me of an old quotation that I’m not even going to try to get right, but something to the effect that without fear courage is a meaningless concept. I suppose it’s one of those paradoxes that come up in life: you don’t know true joy unless you’ve also experienced deep sorrow, etc.

On a daily basis I think what I’m doing is rather silly or at least misguided. What was I thinking? I ask myself. But I’m also acutely aware that things would be worse had I stayed in Chicago, not better. Yes, I would have had my support network and friends to meet for coffee and such but the chances of my finding a job there were (and are) clearly close to nil. In all the time I was unemployed in Chicago, I had maybe six job interviews. Since landing in NYC two months ago (actually, nine weeks ago, but who’s counting?) I’ve had more than that. So things are better here, more or less.

But I also need to start feeling proud of myself for coming here, for realizing that I wasn’t getting anywhere in Chicago and having the gumption — to use a Texas word — to move to a place where, I had faith, things could and would be better. Here I am. Many, many people never get this far.

I’m thus learning (very slowly) to have a little perspective on my current situation. I’m relatively young in one of the most fabulous cities in the world. The potential, while elusive, is limitless. I’m making good friends and going on wonderful dates and being able to experience life in a way a million teenagers dream about when they’re sitting on their beds in Montana or Iowa or Nebraska or wherever and wishing they could escape to NYC.

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