The little piece of nostalgia I experienced happened at the movie theater last weekend, where I saw 4, count 'em 4, movies. One of which was Friends with Benefits, which takes place in New York City. I had no idea of this as I entered the theater, considering they played up the Hollywood sign scene in the previews so much, but I was elated when I discovered it took place in Old New York. While it doesn't evince the "New York State of Mind" quality that some movies do, When Harry Met Sally or pretty much any Ed Burns directed movie, it prickled at my nostalgia nonetheless. A few years ago, though now it seems much more distant than that, I was going to move to new york. I was going to move there after I finished high school, go to college there, become a big-city girl, find my dream job, fall in love, and publish one of my damn novels if it was the last thing I did.
Obviously, things didn't quite pan out that way. I stayed in state for college. I have a good job, but not the job I imagined having once I was college-graduated and big-dream bound--publishing, advertising, law office, basically somewhere where you wear a suit and high heels and carry a briefcase and drink martinis after work at happy hour. I live in what I would classify as a large town, as opposed to a world-renowned metropolitan city. I fell in love when I was seventeen (it was a very good year), and I am still unpublished, except for the musings and ramblings I post here at Insistent and Persistent.
The world sure looks different now compared to when I was 15. I can't imagine having such a competitive job and wearing high heels every day. But I still imagine what my life would be like if I had done what the 15-year-old version of myself wanted me to do. I would probably be living in a crappy apartment, making more money than I am now--but because of the housing costs in Manhattan, it wouldn't really feel like I was making more money. I would probably be reading and watching a lot of movies, which is much of what I do in my spare time here. I would be alone, because I'm afraid of going out by myself to meet people. I wouldn't be friends with my neighbors, or hanging out and getting to know the bartenders and the regulars at a local watering hole. I'm way too shy for that. And considering the types of neighbors I might have, not getting to know them might be for the best.
It's interesting to think about where you thought you'd be and where you ended up by that age. Things definitely don't work out the way you expected them to. Ever. But I always wonder if that's because life gets screwed up and derailed from time to time, throwing a wrench in your perfect, if not perfectly thought out, plans, or if it's really because you never had the balls to try something terrifying like moving to a city where you don't know anyone and trying, not just to survive, but to succeed.
I think it's probably a little bit of both--we all know how indecisive i can be, and this is no exception. I think if I put the effort into looking for a job there, I could get one. It might take me a while, but I think I could do it. The apartment might be tougher, but I'd figure something out, even if it meant, god forbid, living in Jersey for a few months. But, we come to the "if it ain't broke" adage in which we reason that: I already have a job, I have a place to stay even if it isn't ideal, I have a relationship, and I'm making it on my own, for the most part. Why would I give all this up for a shot at some pipe-dream nostalgic fancy that's lingered on for eight years? (Eight--god that makes me feel old.)
The fact is, I wouldn't. Not now. If one of those things seriously fell into disarray, I might revisit the idea. But my life, despite all the complaining I do, is actually going pretty well. The "grass is greener" ideology only applies when the grass on this side of the fence is no longer green, as opposed to when it's green, but not as lush and deliciously deep green as the grass on the other side of the fence.
So, New York, you'll have to wait. Maybe someday I will meet you again and take you by storm, dazzling you and all your big-wig, pompous, New-Yorker-reading, nicotine-saturated echelon with my brilliance. But for now, I will daydream and write and imagine that you are still as beautiful and chaotic and interesting as you were the last time I saw you all those years ago.
If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere.