My New York Story

It’s been six months since I left New York City for Miami, Florida and like any important life change, it has taken time to dust off the shuffle of the move and settle into my new life. Some days it still feels like a dream. I look out the window and there’s so much light it hurts my eyes. The bougainvillea flowers and palm fronds flutter in the breeze, the sky a backdrop of soft blue. It’s a stark departure from the gray that pervaded my life during the previous 15 Februaries of my life. Energy now comes not from relentless activity wafting up and into my apartment window from the city buzzing below, but from a deliberate flow of life that naturally unfolds outside my front door.

My New York experience was very similar to that of having a kid. I recall the magical times with joy and nostalgia and a sweet sense of relief, but have erased many of the harder moments of every day life (and isn’t that why people have a lot of kids? Mother Nature gives us a convenient ability to block out pain). Some of the ones that I do remember although in a parallel existence kind of way include, getting stuck in a subway turnstile with a baby in tow during rush hour in the middle of winter; schlepping through the snow hunting for cold medicine while feeling sick as a dog; experiencing the surreality of a panic attack while walking through Times Square. These were pretty yucky times, but the good times were aplenty. Getting lost to the sublime sounds of a jazz master in my favorite underground club; taking a walk through a deserted Greenwich Village during a snowstorm; discovering the world through food by simply hailing a cab. The opportunity to satisfy my wildest desire was something invaluable, as was the chance to enjoy a continuous state of dynamic mental flux.

And after a health crisis almost 10 years ago, it was the city that gave me back my health. It was the city that put the pieces into place so that I could become a mother. It was the city that fed the part of me who longed to be in the arts. The exposure to creative energy was truly limitless, the sense of adventure and possibility present and always pushing me forward.

However wonderful and rich these experiences were, I was ready for something new. As cliche as it sounds, it is absolutely true that parenting makes you question life and priorities. And this is the main reason why I left. I wanted a place for Elena to run around and not have to worry about logistical details brought on by something as simple as the forecast. I wanted a place where family was close by, and I would feel a tighter sense of community. I longed for not only physical space, but emotional and mental space as well.

Life is quiet and vastly open as I adapt to the routine of suburban life. I have reconnected with old friends and have even made some new ones. Yes, I miss the immediate gratification that the city offers, I miss more the amazing people I left behind. But I love the brightness, the fresh air, the sunshine, the simple things that life has brought me now. The freedom to play with my daughter in the grass just by stepping outside,  the chance to grow a garden, the time to look at life in all its colors and experience a deep sense of belonging.

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