I love New York City (and the New Jersey boroughs of Hoboken and Jersey City, both of which are pretty much extensions of NYC, in my opinion). I love the energy, I love the diversity, I love the availability, and most of all, I love the people.
Of course, I don’t love all of the people. I definitely do not love the people who walk four abreast on the sidewalk and glare as if I am in their way as I struggle to haul three gigantic, overflowing bags of laundry past them up the street. I do not love the people who stand outside bodegas, bars, or restaurants and blow cigarette smoke directly into my eyes as I pass by on the sidewalk. I do not love people who allow their children ride hilly-nilly around the street and run into me on their scooters, and I also do not love people who ask me how to do something and then, as I am telling them, act as if they already know the answer.
Alternatively, I do love people who agree to get up before the sun rises on a Saturday morning to ride bikes or go swimming. (And I especially love those people when they offer to pick me up in their car!) I love people who say, “Yes you can,” and, “I believe in you,” and, “Thank you for working so hard on this.” I love people who selflessly offer to come to my apartment and help me snake my stuffed-up toilet, and people who drive me to Home Depot to pick out supplies to repair a hold in my apartment wall. I love people who are willing to lend me shoe polish, yoga mats, and a whole variety of other odds-and-ends that I am lacking. I love people who love to go on “coffee walks” at work just to be outside and catch up on each other’s lives. I love people who care about the things I care about.
Living in New York (okay, okay, New Jersey, but like I said, Jersey City counts), I have had the opportunity to meet all of sorts of people from all over: people from Israel, Australia, Italy, Japan, China, Canada, California, Wisconsin, Queens (NY), and Long Branch (NJ)--all of whom are gathered right here in this one spot to live and eat and exercise and smile. Nowhere else in America--or maybe even the world--would this be possible.
With so many people gathered from so many other cities and states and countries, however, there is an inevitable flux. People come; people go. Some visit for a week, others stay for a year or two or three. Eventually, though, it seems that everyone leaves.
I am not an exception to this trend. At two-and-a-half years, I have been here longer than some, although probably not most. In that time, I have formed relationships with coworkers and fellow athletes that I would not trade for the world. Yet, I cannot envision myself staying in this place any longer than five years. If I do stay for the full five, most of my friends will have come and gone. At that time, I will follow their examples: taking a week or two to check activities off of my “bucket list,” give away most of my belongings, and say the most lasting farewells that I can.
I do not look forward to that time, nor do I dread it; I simply know it is coming. Yet selfishly, I hope my time comes earlier rather than later, because I find it easier to wave farewell from the balcony of a ship setting sail than to wave while standing behind, on the shore.