Sunday, January 1, 2012

Here's to New!

It’s a new year.  New opportunities.  New surprises.  New resolutions.  New guilt over breaking resolutions.

And a new beginning in New York. (It really doesn’t get more emblematic than that, does it?  I know the litany of “new” isn’t really all that clever, but it just works out, ok?  Maybe this will also be the year for newfound creativity…let’s hope.)

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, friends, family, and foes, I am moving to New York City. 

1.      I’ve always said that I wanted to move to a city, a metropolitan center where people are the focus.  I love people – talking to them, listening to them, watching them, learning from them through books, movies, life.  A city, then, is the ideal place where I can surround myself with people. I have loved my life in the South and in Knoxville, but nobody can argue that it’s quite homogenous.  The university offers a little more diversity, but not enough.  Besides, in a university (namely, at the graduate and faculty levels), even if the people are ethnographically diverse, their mindset is pretty uniform. I want to be in a place where I can experience not only different languages, races, and cultures, but different worldviews in order to expand, challenge, and clarify my own.
2.      Along with that idea, moving to the city is a way to get out of my comfort zone.  I’m used to suburbia and comfortable middle class living.  I’m used to having a plan, or at least a clear trajectory – college, graduate school, teaching. I’m used to being comfortable and staying with my friendships – and, honestly, often clinging to them – because I’m afraid of what will happen and who I will be without these plans and relationships.  So this move is a chance to make myself uncomfortable.  To get purposefully lost.  Hopefully this will force me to seek more than just to accept.
3.      It’s New York, right?  The center of culture, vitality, innovation, excitement…at least that’s how it’s typecast.  But there has to be some truth to this. 
4.      I feel that there is; after all, I’ve been there before.  My first trip was a “vision trip” with RUF at Ole Miss.  We definitely had a purpose and a schedule while we were there, but I liked being led, seeing the places I was told to see were important, seeing a Broadway show because it’s Broadway, after all (Hairspray, before the movie came out).  The second trip, I actually flew into Philadelphia, rode a sketchy bus to Chinatown, then made it to Brooklyn, all in the name of visiting Margaux, Jenna, and Sarah, all friends I had met and lived with while studying abroad in Florence, Italy.  Did we even spend time in Manhattan?  I don’t recall.
The third trip, the most recent one this past Fall, was taken with the intention of once again visiting these friends, but also visiting the city.  Through a series of circumstances, I ended up spending a good deal of time by myself, exploring the city, doing touristy things but also just enjoying it.  I wasn’t being led; I was directing myself, and with gusto, at that. I felt like I was in some cheesy movie or one of the Sex and the City clips where the character professes her love for her date, the city. 
But in this city of ambition, success, beauty, and fast-paced living (not to mention disappointment – I’m not that naïve), I felt confidence that I have not experienced elsewhere (I may expound on this more later; stay tuned). Maybe it was a fantasy of the city that propelled my swagger (yeah, I said it), but it’s not a feeling I want to take lightly.
5.      Perhaps I only enjoyed the city in short bursts, when I’m in the vacation mindset.  But how will I know if that feeling is only temporary unless I move there?
6.      I’m an idealist.  Clearly.  You’ve read this far, after all (I applaud you).  I’m hesitant to say this translates into naiveté: I know it will be expensive, people may be rude, making friends will be tough, the city can be dangerous.  And, yes, I know it will be cold. I know that I may not find a job, let alone a possible career.  I am well aware of the fact that I may fail – believe me, I’m terrified of the “f” word.  But what’s so wrong with a little optimism?  A little hope? A little idealism?
7.      I’m a cynic.  Yes, I know this seems to directly contradict the previous “why.” But I’m complex, a woman of mystery and intrigue (eyebrow raises slyly).  However, it’s true; some of my experiences and my approaches have led me to pessimism.  In this, I feel like I may fit right in to the New York life, right?  Really, my cynicism has been borne out of fear - for a variety of reasons, on which I will not elaborate. But my cynicism has also somehow led me to New York.  After all, I had no career in Knoxville, no relationship, and I was on the road to getting stuck*.  So, instead of working to make it better or accept that possibilities may happen, I can leave it, start anew.  Hopefully “anew” means hopeful.  (But let’s be honest, some of that cynicism has led to the delightful wry sense of humor that I can have, right?  That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway).
8.      The lease was up on my apartment, and my job (adjunct instructor/part-time lecturer) was only semester-to-semester.  The timing seemed right.
9.      I’ve said that I wanted to live in a city for so long. I’m young, I’m single, I’m not tied down by family or career.  So many people have told me, “I wish I had [insert dream here], but now it’s too late.” I don’t want to have this regret. I may fail, but at least I’ve tried it – something a bit irresponsible, a bit uncomfortable, a bit unknown, a bit scary, and a lot insane. But if not now, possibly (nay, probably) never.
10.  So why not?

In telling people about my move, the two words most associated with this venture are “ballsy” and “adventure.”  The first is pretty self-explanatory.  Perhaps I should have named this blog “cajones” or something.  But that’s maybe a bit crass (the Rangs, upon reading, raise up a resounding “hell no!”).  At first, I took “adventure” to be a kind way of saying “irresponsible endeavor” or “naïve experiment.”  But there’s a reason we fantasize about doing something bold and perhaps reckless.  There’s a reason we love Indiana Jones or, heck, even Harry Potter.  Because it’s something different and exciting.  It’s venturing into possibly the unknown. It’s being an idealist, hopefully with a sense of humor and maybe even some magic (and, yes, a little cheese).  So, in honor of those who called this an adventure, an adventure it will be.

A documented one, at that.** I plan to keep this blog as a way to communicate with  my dear friends and family.  I have no intentions of becoming rich, famous, and beloved by a blogging community (though, of course, I would not oppose the idea.  “This award goes out to my fans…”). And I hope you don’t mistake me for a bored housewife trying to stay connected to the outside world (though there’s nothing wrong with that; I mean no offense).  I’m just a girl moving to New York who wants to keep her family and friends informed.***

With that, I shout a resounding “Happy New Year!” Here’s to “new.”

*I cannot get by without saying how much Knoxville, especially, meant to me because of my relationships, my dear friendships with people in grad school at UT and especially at Cedar Springs.  Believe me, the ending of that chapter of my life has been cause for much emotion.  I absolutely was not "stuck" in them. And thinking of you all…it’s mostly cause for gladness. “Should auld acquaintance be forgot?”  Never.
**Well-documented to the point of overly-documented, I’m sure.  New Year’s resolution: tame the verbosity.
*** Of course, comments are welcome and very much encouraged.


  1. Oh boy! A blog! Leah in electronic exciting! Send me your address. I found all my stationary and I'm feeling like a romantic myself. Also, I'll be calling you to figure out when I can visit. :) Yay for the new year in New York!

  2. First of all, I notice the time of your posting is 12:00 a.m., and I am pleased.
    Secondly, make sure you write a post about the coffee shop you will find that sells a blend with a weirder name than Salamander Wiggles.

  3. Who in the world would call you "ballsy"? I do like the "cajones blog". Super writing! I absolutely love it!