How does it feel now that you’re there?

This is something I’ve been asked in one form or another by many people, and I usually wonder what the person asking the question is expecting to hear.  It’s sometimes asked politely, for the sake of conversation, and other times it’s asked with sincere interest.

It hasn’t been that long, but this week I got positive news from work that my remote absence was going better than expected, so I feel confident in a new way: income is not going to dry up provided I continue doing what I’m doing, and so there will be no immediate need to leave the city.  I’ve secured a place to live and being here now feels like something resembling permanent.

My private journal is normally a place of refuge when the multitude of voices in my head need to vent their frustrations and find some sort of agreed-upon order and course of action.  To my complete surprise, writing in my journal yielded a smiley emoticon, something that I am not sure I’ve seen in over a decade of private journaling.

“I am here.”  It’s something that gets repeated in the journal.

At the night of this writing I went out with a spunky lady that is part of what I hope will be a basic support network of friends.  “What do you want to do here?” she asked me.

I couldn’t quite find the words I can find here to explain: it doesn’t really matter.  I *know* there is everything under the Sun here in the city.  That’s why I came here.  But coming here wasn’t easy, and really, it was the biggest thing I’ve wanted in quite awhile.  “To come to New York.”  Now I’ve done that.  It’s literally been just a few days.  Just walking around and taking in everything that is different is a new experience.  The euphoria of having accomplished a long-sought-after goal hasn’t faded yet.

“I’d like to bike the city” was my definitive answer, followed by a meeker shrug and “I’m here to… immerse myself?”  And she proceeded to give me what I perceive is a characteristic spitfire response.

“The subway runs 24/7.  This is a city where you can be alone.  Not *lonely*, but alone.  You don’t have to wait for permanence, or to move into your apartment in Williamsburg.  Go, now.  You have newbie eyes.  You won’t have them in six months.  Enjoy it *now* while you have them!  Do the touristy stuff!  There is value to it, there is no shame in indulging it.  There are museums *I* haven’t even been to and I’ve been here most my life.”

“Actually, I have wanted to see the statue of liberty…”  (I admit this, now absolved of shame of doing touristy things.  I actually feel that this is something I should and need see as an American citizen.)

“Then go!”

“… but I was going to wait until one of my friends came to visit.  It’s on many people’s lists and it sounds like it takes a long time…”

(eyes rolling) “No.  Go, on your own.  It is a grand thing.  It will be completely different going there with your friends.  A different experience.  And if for some reason you don’t want to go, you can always show them how to get there and let them do it on their own.”

I picture having already seen the statue, and then picturing the experience of going there again with a specific individual.  It wouldn’t be about the statue at that point.. it’d be about how that individual would *be* around the statue.

I like this person and what she’s saying.  She’s one of those spirits that help me pull out of my stuffy head and not be afraid to indulge what’s important.

That little bit of socialization has been rejuvenating.  Another round of drinks follows, along with vigorous discussion about Iran and da bomb, and the two state solution.  Strong topics in this city.  I would not have had this conversation in Dallas.

Back at home I take the time to write, some of which made it here.  I am alone, but not lonely, and the city is a vast, new place to me, yet unburned with baggage and full of possibility.  This feeling won’t last.  But having wanting to come here for a long time, I’m allowing myself to enjoy this feeling, guilt-free.

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