By Angie Liang
By the time you read this, my 2nd anniversary of moving to New York City will have passed. Like most weeks, it was rather uneventful and busy with work. Though tired as usual, I couldnt help contemplating where my life is heading. After two years of working and living in this fast-paced city, Im surprised to find that Im still a little uncertain about it.
Moving here was propelled by a great career opportunity that I couldnt turn down, but my honeymoon period with New York had ended a couple years earlier, during previous internships Id done here. As I settled into my fourth-floor studio apartment, I no longer felt the excitement and wonder of so many students and young professionals around the world who dream of living here. Instead, I found myself battling expenses, egos, and a dwindling sense of passion.
Before I came to New York, I was active in developing environmental policy on my campus, fundraising for the local childrens hospital, and even planting trees. I danced every weektwo-stepping, salsa, clubbing. I went to concerts with friends, hosted dinner parties in my apartment, cleaned up the local river, played piano
All of that stopped when I moved here.
But its not entirely the citys fault. Theres plenty to do, and a raw energy that radiates through New Yorks 8 million residents. Even strangers and visitors remark upon this aura, this vitality that cannot be captured. But it belongs to the city, not to me.
Ive tried to borrow that energy by tapping into the veins of New York. Walking the grid of streets, I continuously explore and find things to appreciate. I love running my hands through the grassy plants along the Highline, an urban park converted from the old railroad track. I love the tiny, foreigner-filled restaurant in Nolita that exudes coolness but pretends its not that hip. I love the farmers markets, flea markets, street markets, any market. Most importantly, I love the sassy 13-year-old girl I mentor, and the good friends I have made here.
To help me understand my hazy emotions and desires, I asked some of these friends to explain why they liked New York and whether theyd still be here in two years. Some grew up in the city, others are transplants like myself. The answers I received from them reflects the magic that the city exudes:
The energy is unlike anywhere else.
Always so much to do. Friends are always visiting.
Everything about New York is energized, and there are infinite possibilities.
Yet even with all the positives, most said they did not expect to stay here long-term, echoing my own mixed feelings.
New York has never been shy about its complexity and allure, but I never realized how tough it would be to live in that, day in and day out. Im here now, but who knows where Ill end up. Thats the excitement of life. Thats something New York City has taught me to embrace.