"New York City is the greatest city in the world!" - is actually an unfair statement. New York is fantastic and absolutely incomparable to anywhere else - but really it's its own world. A beautiful, chaotic, jungle of a place we lovingly call Manhattan.
Manhattan living is just that - living - not resting. All systems are always a go in this town, and to survive you have to constantly be running and hustling. There's a beauty to that. It keeps you motivated and going, there's no time to be lazy or to take a rest. But at some point, perhaps as I've gotten older, I've begun to crave stillness, quiet, and rest in order to keep moving without getting burnt out.
Suddenly the mundane doesn't seem so terrible or boring - it actually, and I can't believe I'm saying this, sounds nice. Kinda great, even. I'm not saying I'm completely lusting after suburban living, no I'd get bored pretty quickly without a little chaos, but there are certainly aspects of it that are more appealing than it once was, and that I appreciate more after having lived without for a while.
Now, fair warning, when I say "mundane" I absolutely mean it - the most basic things are what I miss, and what makes me excited (don't judge) and even a little envious to think about.
Loading up on Groceries (and putting them in your trunk)
- Oh you don't have to wait in insanely long lines at Trader Joe's in Union Square and then limit your purchases to what you can realistically carry back to your apartment?? What's that like?
- I absolutely miss bulk shopping and not having to worry about how to get my purchases home - or pay a delivery fee - and just filling up the trunk of my car with goodies.
Having a car
- Admittedly, I was relieved to be rid of my car upon moving to New York. No more traffic! No more sitting endlessly on the 405 freeway hoping to get to your destination in time. And yes, being able to take the train and have a great public transportation system in New York is wonderful...until it's not. You know, when the train is running late and you have to wait 10 minutes to cram yourself into a packed train car. Or when the station is freezing in the winter or unbearably hot and humid in the summer, or when it's raining and you hope you don't slip on the gross stairs into a puddle of filth, or just the times it smells like urine and shattered dreams.
- After a while, I missed having a car. Your own little space that's all yours, that you can jump into and crank the heat or A/C when needed, and you don't have to share with anyone.
- As a native Californian, it's entirely possible that I grew up spoiled by having the ability to go either to the beach, the mountains, the desert, or the city at the drop of a hat. But just that feeling of knowing you can go anywhere at a moment's notice, if you so wished; whether it's just a weekend road trip or a quick getaway? Yeah, I miss that.
- When I first moved to the city I was surprised and a bit baffled that there wasn't a big supermarket chain here. You know, like a Ralph's or a Publix where you can buy absolutely everything all in one place. It just doesn't really exist in NYC. We have plenty of markets and lots of stores and pharmacies, but a huge place that has all of them under one roof? Not so much.
- I know how random and weird of a thing this is to miss, but whatever, I like my quality one stop shops!
- I just want a little yard that I can safely let my dog out to run around and play in, and where I can have an outdoor retreat at my door, and can plant my own little herb and vegetable gardens.
- What's wonderful about New York is how many parks we have, and they're all beautiful and so nice to stroll through or picnic in...but I miss having my own yard. It doesn't need to be big, I just want to open up the back door and have an outdoor space to myself and for my dog!
- I think what it all mostly boils down to is space. I miss having it. Whether it's space in my home, or space in a yard, or in a car, or even a market, I just want to have room to myself! New York is very unifying in so many ways. We're always all together in the city: in our apartment buildings, out in the streets, in the subway, wherever. And while it's lovely to be among my fellow City dwellers, I also crave having something that's just for me.
- Constantly sharing space can grow tiring, and as I get older I'm less and less comfortable with the dormitory experience of the city and want a home of my own.
Am I ready to hang my hat and wave goodbye to New York? No way. This city is magic and there's no place quite like it. Every day I wake up in New York and go outside, I feel like I'm stepping into a postcard or photograph - and even after years here, that excited feeling hasn't diminished.
But I do see the appeal of the other side, and I wonder if at some point I am going to want to retire from being in the city full-time and embrace those mundane little things like the tiny, often taken for granted jewels that they are.