I have always felt connected to New York City.
I spent lots of time there during my childhood—visiting family, connecting myself to the beauty of Harlem, and finding myself lost in the sea of skyscrapers. I would dream of leaving my suburban life in Connecticut, and could clearly envision my family moving into a brownstone in Harlem. It got to the point where I had decided that New York was the PLACE for me, I would not be happy anywhere else.
Fast forward to the end of my high school days. I was off to college and going to NYU, my dream school in my dream city. I was excited to be a part of the city that had captivated me for so long. I spent those four years loving New York even more—it was the backdrop to my coming of age tale. I learned so much about the world in that city, and it was where I came into myself. When my college days started to wind down, I found myself wondering if people could develop a sense of dependence on a place, and find their identity wrapped up in a particular location.
I moved to Philly in August, and I find myself actively and inactively longing for New York. Philly is a cool city, but my attachment to New York has made it difficult for me to fully enjoy living here. I realized that New York became a safe space for me, as strange as that may sound. I had attached myself to it, and now I’ve realized that I cannot allow myself to be too comfortable in any one space. This year I’ve been thinking of ways to keep myself in a state of healthy discomfort, which includes moving around, traveling more, and not limiting myself and my identity to only one space. This is important not only for physical spaces, but also mental and emotional ones. It’s important that I keep pushing myself to branch out, and not cling to places or ideas for comfort.