I spent several days in New York at the beginning of my spring break. I returned on Monday, but continue to be there in my mind. Oddly enough, I was anxious about leaving for the city last week; I wasn't sure I really wanted to go. I took a red-eye flight the last day of my finals (which I dreaded) and was feeling that after a few months of school work and stress, what I really needed was some rest and relaxation – not five days in the biggest and busiest city in the United States. I worried I wouldn't have the energy that New York requires to enjoy it, and that apart from seeing some much-missed friends, I was making a hasty decision to go when I did.
When I arrived, it was so early that the moon was still a sliver hanging low in the sky. I was exhausted – but as soon as my bus from the airport started off through Brooklyn's streets, and the sun started to pour its light over the city, I realized how glad I was to be there. Rather than exhaust me further, my time in New York rejuvenated and inspired me. I was struck with how bored and blue I've been at home in Seattle. I have been living a fairly isolated life for the past two years; nothing but school and sleep with some small fragments of fun and friends in between. My social circle has diminished substantially, partly by my own choosing, partly by circumstance. Apart from feeling good about the choices I've made regarding my education, my life right now is not what I imagined it would be.
I've also realized that I have been settling for so much less than what I know I want and deserve, both in my own attitude and outlook, and in other areas, too. My confidence and sense of self has slowly been chipping away. The friends I have in the city and the overall energy that lives there reminded me of what it is that makes me thrive. In New York, I felt like a happier, better person – and there were a couple of exchanges along the way that for me, were symbolic of what could be.
As this season nears an end (I should be getting my associates this summer), I have been wondering what my next step will be. I need to decide which schools to apply to, how I am going to get there and what I will do to be able to afford it (I'm counting on grants and scholarships - hoping to avoid loans as much as possible) – all of which are a source of major anxiety. To be honest, I have been avoiding those questions a lot, mostly out of fear. I have known for a while now that I don't want to stay in Washington – every way I look at life here seems like a dead end. I'm ready for something different. I need new opportunities, a fresh scene and some unfamiliarity to get me out of this rut I've slowly made my way into.
I don't want to say that I'm doing something and then never follow through on it, as I have done so many times before, but I am feeling pretty confident that a big change is what I want and need. Every morning this week I have woken up with New York on my mind, and it stays with me throughout the day. It's a place I told myself at the age of 15 that I would live someday. I think it's time. It's where I need to be, it's where I should be going. A lot must be done before I will be prepared to make that kind of move, but lots of people do it – I can do it. Meanwhile, I must cling to this feeling that I brought home with me, so that I don't lose sight of my dreams and desires. I need it to sustain me and propel me forward.