In Solitude Comes Perspective

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 / 1:20 AM

Being cooped up for days, alone with nobody to talk to but a fluffy and fickle cat as a monstrous storm wrecks your city, makes you think. It makes you crazy to stare out of two walls of windows as day turns to night, and in that insanity, it makes you breathe creativity. At least, that's how it feels as a writer. All of those emotions and thoughts and visions pour out of your head and hover above your living room as you struggle to write it all down before it disappears. I am filled with more words now than I was just three days ago.

I've always said that New York City is a place that makes me want to write. It's a place filled with stories on every block, and I always feel inspired by the sights and the sounds.

As full as this city is, it's also isolating. I sat through Hurricane Sandy alone.

Every time an accident happens or some story on the news of a fatality arises, I think about how small I feel. Every time I'm asked to fill out an emergency contact in this city, I hesitate. Would anyone notice in this city if I didn't show up? Work, yes, but that's because it's work and they have to see me every day.

I didn't go to college here, or anywhere on this coast. The family I do have on the East Coast is too far away and too out of reach. My first three months in New York were quiet. I was broke anyways, so I had nowhere to go.

The funny thing about that solitary time was the perspective I gained: I knew eventually I would have people in my life in this city who were friends with whom I would love, inspire, laugh, celebrate, cry...and I was right. It doesn't matter that I don't have a vast spiderweb of contacts like I did in college, and it doesn't matter that someone very important to me promised, "I wouldn't move to New York and then just abandon you" and then did; what matters is that we find our people sooner or later. We find the ones we can grow with, the ones we can learn from, the ones we can lean on. We understand why it's important not to settle.

And, just as important as those who are 30 blocks or 30 minutes away, are the ones who are thousands of miles away and checking in to make sure you're alive during a hurricane--from family to best friends to friends I haven't heard from in a year or even a decade. I am blessed to have all of these people in my life, and I recognize how lucky I am.

So that makes it okay that I picked up and left my home state on my own. It's okay that I still feel unfamiliar. And it's okay that I lost a very important person along the way. Because I think it's noteworthy that, in leaving and in losing, I've pushed myself to become more open, more honest, and more resilient to the pain of living.

Cheers to my friends riding out the storm up and down the coast! We're surviving.

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  1. Glad you're okay! There is definitely so much that life has to offer, many more adventures to take and people to meet!

  2. Go you, Traci, and glad to hear things are looking better for you in New York. Keep writing!