Sunday, March 6, 2016

when it loses its shine.

The McDonald's on the corner by the subway is gone. I don't know how long it's been boarded up, which is surprising because I walk past that corner at least once a day when I get off the 1 to head home.

But Friday, I took the 1 down to work — instead of my normal B/D route — and saw the corner in daylight. It couldn't have been a deconstruction that took place overnight.

I wonder what else has changed while I stopped looking, while my head has been down and buried in work. Somewhere between getting off the bus at Port Authority and March of 2016, my inbox and messages went from fun to buried by needs (I know we barely talk , but can you hook me up with a job? Can you cover this story? Can you meet my friend and give him a job?).

When did coffee dates and dinners go from catch-ups to business transactions?


I get it. This is the bed I made. Somebody the other week asked me if I regretted trading a personal life for success. The question wasn't intended to be blunt, but it was jarring to have it laid out for me like that. At the end of the day, those sixth days at work and weekends spent freelancing were worth it to get me where I am now. I don't regret that. I don't regret it when New York City still feels temporary, and so the idea of roots in a concrete jungle make no sense.

But if you could lay the regrets I do have next to each other, they would circle Central Park.

(Sometimes people ask me why I write so candidly and openly on this blog. Won’t I be afraid of judgement or people I barely know reading all of these inner thoughts? I think I do it because if I didn’t, I would have a nervous breakdown. I don’t care who’s reading, at this point.)

There’s this line in Joan Didion’s “Goodbye to All That” (an essay that I have practically memorized) where she writes, “Part of what I want to tell you is what it is like to be young in New York, how six months can become eight years with the deceptive ease of a film dissolve, for that is how those years appear to me now, in a long sequence of sentimental dissolves and old-fashioned trick shots—the Seagrams Building fountains dissolve into snowflakes, I enter a revolving door at twenty and come out a good deal older, and on a different street.”

I feel like I’ve been in that revolving door for four years, and now I am finally emerging from it. And the city has lost its luster, and I've forgotten why I stayed. And I wonder if one day this period of my life will just be a blur.

“…I knew that it would cost me something sooner or later—because I did not belong there, did not come from there—but when you are twenty-two or twenty-three, you figure that later you will have a high emotional balance, and be able to pay whatever it costs. I still believed in possibilities then, still had the sense, so peculiar to New York, that something extraordinary would happen any minute, any day, any month."


I went to bed last night wondering if I would know it when I died, and I woke up today wondering if others would know it or if they’d find out a week or two after the fact. I went through my day wondering if any of that mattered at all (I mean, if you’re dead, who cares what everyone else is talking about, right?). Truthfully, I have always wondered what my obituary would say if this day were my last. Who would have the last word? (The answer, by the way, is that Jesus has the last word; but when you’re me and you’ve spent the last two years free-falling from faith, you start to wonder if anyone understands.)

Tonight, I’ll go to bed thinking about storms and something the guest pastor at church said today that made me remember why I got up today: "You're either in a storm today, or you just got out of your storm, or you're about to go into a storm — and nobody gets a pass on that.”

All our lives, the storm is coming. And in the depths of my heart, I know that while it’s safer to not look up and to keep your head down through it all, it’s better to lift my head up and just carry on — past the boarded-up storefronts, out the revolving doors.

2 comments:

  1. You are carrying a lot of angst for such a youngster. You are in New York, living your dream. Cherish every moment! Joan Didion is a great social commentator but not exactly the best role model for a BYT bright young thing like you. And enough with the death, we would would all be BEREFT without you. Today I was so proud to see a roomful of people who all adored you. Now lighten up, let's go ice skating. :)

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  2. You are carrying a lot of angst for such a youngster. You are in New York, living your dream. Cherish every moment! Joan Didion is a great social commentator but not exactly the best role model for a BYT bright young thing like you. And enough with the death, we would would all be BEREFT without you. Today I was so proud to see a roomful of people who all adored you. Now lighten up, let's go ice skating. :)

    ReplyDelete