4 reasons I couldn't live in NYC

It's been a wild few years. Basically a wild 'whole of my twenties thus far', actually. As I walked the Brooklyn Bridge on a beautiful, albeit chilly, day in New York City, I reflected on the many places I've landed, the decisions that brought me there, and how varied all of it has been. I've always ended up places because I've followed my heart. Cliche af, also sometimes incredibly stupid {maybe?}. 

My friends have a running joke about my inability to pick resting ground. 'If you don't make it back to New Zealand permanently, you'll never be at home.' 'If I told you I was coming to visit you, you'd probably be like okay but I'm moving in two weeks to Haiti!' 'It's kind of like Where's Waldo, only you're not that tall.' 'You could make a home anywhere, T.' 

Despite the ongoing struggle to make a home that isn't a certain somewhere or someone, there truly are places I don't think I'm made to live. Places I could only ever be a visitor of. New York City is one of those few places.

I realize that's a huge call for a girl who likes to scoot around. And I normally I'd never say 'never.'  I truly don't believe that I'm not made to be anything more than a visitor and admirer of New York. I just know who I am and I know what I need {which I'll continue in a longer post at another time}. 

love locks on the Brooklyn Bridge

love locks on the Brooklyn Bridge

1. I'm too soft. I sometimes cry when I am immeasurably happy or when I get completely frustrated. I always cry when something breaks my heart {like while watching 13 Reasons Why, recommend with Kleenexes and a strong stomach}. Sure, I'm a tough and independent woman. I know how to suppress feelings you probably wouldn't even believe and I actually believe this 'skill' is creating an inability to express them with certain people {again, another story}. New York is full of life, but it's also hard.  And a soft person in a hard place just doesn't quite mix. Getting shin splints after two days in the city was almost like the Universe confirming that I'm made for somewhere a little more warm and cushioned. I don't need an infant's crib made of unicorn hair, but I also cant' do cold, hard concrete. 

2. I like to spend my money differently. There is only so much money one can make working for a non-profit. There is only so much money a person can save with student loans, even as minimal as my own {I know I should NOT complain}. Paying $1,000+ on rent a month does not seem like the business. That's a mortgage payment?! More to the point, that's a roundtrip ticket to almost anywhere in the world. Obviously, you get what you pay for-- you're living in one of the world's great cities! I prefer to save money to travel. Even as cheap as rent was in Montana, I felt often like writing a check for rent was like rolling down my car window and throwing cash out into the wind. Rent is part of adult life, like all other bills, but there are places where it isn't as steep as NYC. Someday, when I either return 'home' or find the right place that suits me for an infinite amount of time, I'm sure I'll happily pay any amount of money for a life there. But where I am currently at on my own timeline, I like to spend my money differently than life in New York requires. 

3. I'm too slow. My brain travels a million miles a minute. I'm constantly seeking out 'the next step' and making plans for 'the next adventure.' What's the next goal I can achieve? Where can I go next? What experience is around the corner? A lesson I learned in NZ, but even more so in Laos, was that I need to slow down. I am human and I need to operate at a human pace. Humans like the idea of always being busy. Like busy is the standard for validation. No one wants to say they did nothing on the weekend. Everyone 'needs' coffee and is 'exhausted.' Social media plays a killer part in all of this, of course. But life in New York wouldn't be a place that helps someone intentionally work on their 'mindfulness.' It's a place for someone who wants to hustle. There's never nothing to do. And there's this hurried feeling I can't explain. Paying for coffee the other day in the nicest little cafe, I felt this invisible rush. In order to cultivate and live my best life, I need to be located in a place that allows me to be stimulated while simultaneously allowing me to work on not hurrying through life. 

walking into Manhattan

walking into Manhattan

4. I need nature. Before you go listing parks throughout the city, know that I mean nature. Not Central or Bryant Park surrounded by city skyscrapers. In New Zealand, I have the sea. I have fresh air and green trails to go hike. I have mountains. In England, I grew up taking weekend trips to rock climb in Wales and tramp through the Scottish Highlands. Plus, have you ever been to the English countryside?! Montana and Laos are both unarguably enveloped in nature. I'd need to rent a car to get out of the city far enough to truly feel in the green of it all. It's not easily accessible the way I prefer it --the way I need it-- to make my love affair with the city a long-term relationship. I need fresh air and clear skies for my own well-being. It's as simple as that really. 

I read in a book once that you become your environment. Your parents, your friends, the people you surround yourself with, the concrete and steel buildings around you or the wide spaces you run through-- they're shapers. They mold your life experience and, ultimately, you become a reflection of those experiences. So, while New York is trendy, modern, tech-savvy, and fast-paced, I guess I'm more one for history, vast and dramatic landscapes, and taking as long as I want to order my latte and finish my breakfast surrounded by the laughter of my people.

Maybe the truth is I'm too boring for New York? Or maybe I'm not cool enough? Maybe I just suck all 'round?! Bottom line: I know myself well enough to know that while I'm not sure where the road ahead may lead me, I'd prefer it didn't land me in New York permanently. NYC is not the place for me {she says knowing full, good, and well that the number of NGO opportunities are plentiful in the big apple}. Perhaps as I continue to change and grow, it'll all be different. 

But for now, I'm made for somewhere else.