Friday, December 30, 2016

emergency contact.

Out of habit when I moved to the East Coast, I continued to list my mother as my emergency contact – on doctor's forms, travel itineraries, HR files. It was impractical, I realized, because the very nature of an "emergency contact" requires that person to be able to respond immediately during an emergency. Being 3,000 miles away put my mother at a disadvantage, should something happen.

When I first moved to New York, the habit kicked in as I was filling out paperwork for my internship – but I caught myself, and decided to ask the HR coordinator if it would be OK to list my mother first, and then switch it later. It was January of 2012 and I knew nobody in the city. I had figured I'd wait until I met more people, and then go from there. The coordinator suggested I pick someone more local – a roommate or landlord, perhaps?

So I listed my roommate, who I'd known for a total of 48 hours at that point, and didn't even tell her about it. And as the years have passed, I never changed it; at some point, I forgot about it. Between 2012 and now, I've worked in the same building and lived in the same apartment with that same roommate, and somewhere along the way, I settled into a routine of "going through the motions." Somewhere along the way, I fell in love with New York the way a person "falls in love" for the first time at 16: infatuation mixed in with excuses for the moments that don't feel quite right.

And then, slowly, over time, I fell out of "love." And then, suddenly: a break-up.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

16 things I loved in 2016.

This year was rough, and so many of my 2016 "favorites" were things that helped keep me distracted amidst all the crap that happened over the last 12 months. So, in no particular order, here's my annual list that I probably won't keep doing in the future because monthly favorites are way easier to keep track of than these end-of-the-year giant roundups that, inevitably, leave out many things from the first half of the year...

One disclaimer: not everything on this list came out in 2016. I'm just really late to things.

(Also, in preparation for my end-of-the-year lists, I asked my friends on Facebook what some of their favorite pop culture things were in 2016, and their super cool and interesting answers reminded me how behind I am on pretty much everything.)

Monday, December 12, 2016

5 things I'll miss about New York City.

The first photo I took from my apartment living room.
People often call New York City the greatest city in the world, though when I first moved here, I was warned that I would constantly feel exhausted just trying to walk down a sidewalk. And it ended up being very true, in my first year especially – whether it was on the streets or down in the subway, the amount of people constantly surrounding me became so overwhelming that all I wanted to do at the end of the day was shut my bedroom door and not talk to a single soul.

The last five years have been as exhilarating as they have been draining. When I look back at old blog posts or diary entries or letters from high school and college, I was never shy about declaring that someday I would live in New York. I'm glad I did it and I don't regret getting on that bus in 2012 with just two suitcases and a backpack, praying that I would find a place to live and a job one day.

But lately – the past 18 months especially – I've felt somewhat frozen in time. New York felt less like "home" to me in 2016 than ever before, and it hit me so suddenly back in the beginning of the year that my head and my heart were just no longer here. All of the excuses and the reasons I'd given for being in New York just no longer held up. I think I'll get into all this in a separate post because what I really want to talk about right now are the things I'll miss about New York. For as much shit as I've talked on this city, I've had some amazing moments here too, and I don't want to leave only remembering the bad stuff.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

memory lane can be a tough road to walk down.

When you're a nostalgic person like I am, it can often turn into becoming a bit of a pack rat. I used to savor movie ticket stubs as if they were snapshots of the film itself, every coffee stain on a page of a book reminded me of a place or time, and even worn out pens had a story to tell.

But since I left home for college, I've moved every year (in D.C., I moved every month), and in the process, some of those things went into storage boxes or got lost to the wind. Sometimes, I'd carry things from place to place, even if they were never unpacked, because having them was some sort of comfort that I could learn from the past: from the mistakes, from the stories, from the triumphs.

When I moved to New York in 2012, I had no sense of how long I would stay – let alone, how long I would stay in one apartment. 2016 is coming to an end, and I've been in the same room. Sure, there's now a bit more furniture (and a lot more books), but this one space has been mine for almost five years.

I'm in this process of throwing a lot of stuff out. The idea is to tackle the room in sections – corner by corner, drawer by drawer – and re-examine the importance of holding onto items that aren't exactly necessary to keep in my life. In doing so, it's also led me to a box filled with old bank statements and birthday cards and deeply personal letters exchanged with friends from the other side of the country and, occasionally, the other side of the world.