For as long as I can remember, I wanted to live in New York City. All the movies and television shows made it seem glamorous: fancy parties, big apartments in Manhattan, artsy people all congregating together in the ultimate metropolis.
When I graduated from college, I visited “just to make sure it was where I wanted to go.” I went to Strand Bookstore and somehow that place was so magical that it made me go on Craigslist that night, visit (and sign the lease on) an apartment in Brooklyn and soon I had a flight booked back to The Big Apple two days after I would return home.
It happened that quickly. After all, it’s the city of dreams.
It wasn’t until I was smacked in the head with some serious reality that I realized New York City is not for everyone — and I was one of those people that wasn’t meant to be there long term. For eight months of the year (if not longer!), the weather was beyond terrible. Like, really, really, really bad. I felt like I was surviving, not living. You start out in the city naïve and ready for anything and you end up turning into a bitch who shoves a little girl for cutting in front of you at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (true story). I just didn’t like who I was becoming.
And then I realized why I couldn’t bring myself to leave: I felt like a failure. I had worked my whole life to get to this one place and I just didn’t fit into it. I was worried I’d be disappointing everyone who was proud of me for following my dreams. Even worse, I was worried I was going to prove to all those who thought I was crazy for moving the New York, that they were right. But I couldn’t remain unhappy just for those people. In face, screw those people. I moved to that city for me and I was going to leave it for me. And don’t get me started on that stupid phrase “Only the strong make it in NYC.” I know I was strong enough to survive. But I didn’t want to have to be a strong person just to make it where. I. live.
So, I did it all over. I moved to another new city with no place to live, no job, no friends and with just enough money to get me across the country and into a car. I cried the morning I drove my dad to the airport because all I could think was “What in the hell have I done?”
And you know what? I wouldn’t change it for the world. I finally feel like I’ve found the place I belong. It was one of those things where I didn’t realize how unhappy I was in New York until I moved here. I worried about missing out on all things that NY had to offer, but Austin has it in spades. I can drive for ten minutes and be at a 15-mile hiking trail. Austin’s music scene is actually better and more diverse. The people are beyond kind and, in fact, might be a little bit weirder. The food? Well, that’s one thing NY will always win over the rest of the world, but that doesn’t mean there’s not some really awesome food trucks in ATX.
New York and I needed to get a divorce. We rushed into things too quickly and I was staying there because of a dream, not reality. And I’ve found that since I left, we can definitely be just friends. Because my new love, the great city of ATX, accepts me for the woman I am and supports all of my dreams; the ones I have and the ones I don’t yet realize that I have.
I feel relatively indifferent about you, NY. But Austin? I heart you.
Katie Grimmer is a writer living in Austin, Texas. If you think she sounds wise beyond her years — because she is — then she'd love for you to read more over on The Hungry Goat. No, she doesn’t write about farming. You can also read her thoughts on Dawson’s Creek on Twitter, see what she's baking on Instagram, get overwhelmed by all things Harry Potter on Pinterest and simply follow her on The Facebook.