Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Paradigm Shift

Those that know Michelle Larsen (aka Rapp) know that NY runs in her blood. My VA license plate reads NYANKI as a protest to living in the South. I have never wavered to mention NY in the often-asked question where are you from?

Over the past 7 years I have happily lived outside of Washington DC, until last year when I moved to Blacksburg, which I also love. I have visited NY for work, pleasure, and to see friends and family. Up until recently I thought NYC is not the right place for me now, but maybe one day we will move there. My family has started infiltrating the DC area, which has made DC feel more like home than NY.

I would have to say these weird NY feelings began about 2 summers ago, when I organized a bachlorette party in NY for a best friend. We walked around Times Square and for the first time I felt like it wasn't my home anymore. It had changed too much, and I had changed as well. It hurt. Little did I know it was the start of this identity crisis.

My nephew said the more you are away the less you miss it. For me until 2 years ago the more I was away the more I missed it. This trip, however, was the first time I ever walked in my city and thought,"What the hell is so damn great?" I know as well as any New Yorker what makes the city great, so have my values changed? Have I found other places that offer different opportunities that perhaps mean more to me? Is it my ideas of the excess that turn me off to NY now?

Some answers:
  • I have never like NY summers.
  • I have changed in that I enjoy smiling at people and talking to people I don't know as a courtesy (I never thought I'd say that, but I was in the hotel elevator wanting so badly to say good morning, beautiful day out. I knew I'd get silence and a weird look so I refrained.)
  • I was very tired this trip and staying in midtown with more tourists per square feet than ever, videotaping the revolving door.
  • This is not home anymore, it's just where I grew up.
  • Everything was goddamn expensive!
Matt and I went to the East and West villages with less people and street fairs and time to explore. It was fun for a few minutes, but still not where I would choose to live anymore. We searched for a gallery that when we finally found it was closed on Saturdays. I looked for a great cheap, healthy restaurant on St. Marks that was no longer there.

I hate to think I have changed so much that I don't understand how a city that everyone finds so amazing is lost to me. I feel like traitor to my roots (and my license plate). On an episode of Sex in the City, Carrie has a date with her city. That episode always embodied how I felt about the city, but this entire week I wanted to be somewhere else.

I guess detaching from your hometown could be part of maturing and growing up. It's been a while since I have experieneced such a major paradigm shift. I also never thought in a million years I would feel numb to what was the only place on earth suitable to me for 21 years.

In some ways I am proud that I have lost the NY arrogance and appreciate how many special places there are in this country and the world. I can picture myself living in Portland or San Diego, but as I rode on the train yesterday (my reflection place in high school), I could no longer picture myself living in the big apple.

No comments: