I remember standing in my mother’s kitchen, getting ready to travel to New York City for yet another work trip, when I sarcastically said to my father, “I feel like I live there,” and he responded, “Oh, I just assumed you would have tried to move there already.” My stomach flipped when he said those words because:
- I had always dreamed of living in New York City but never actually considered moving there.
- I couldn’t ever leave my family! That would be nuts. After all, Atlanta was all I’d ever known as an adult.
- Everyone knows you need to get paid a cabillon bucks to live there, and I certainly didn’t make that much. How else do you afford to go to those five star restaurants every night? [The answer is happy hour — that’s how you get by on no money and still have a social life.]
This was the day that my whole world changed.
Fast forward nearly two years. I’d been working my ass off to get my condo sold. Unfortunately, the HOA was in a lawsuit against the builder, and nothing was able to get funded because of some shit I can’t remember about lenders not lending to distressed properties. Fine. I had something like eight or nine offers and contracts [no lie] fall through on my house. I won’t go into the details here because it’s really boring. [So boring you’ll probably smash your head on a rock, and I can’t be held responsible for that.] It took well over a year for my condo to sell. Short sale. Yay.
I moved to Hoboken to be with my man on December 31, 2013. Have I mentioned that man is a saint? He put up with the emotional roller coaster of a short sale, and then he flew down on December 30, sicker than a dog, and helped me pack up the last few things in my place and then drove me up to The Big Apple. The move doesn’t matter, so I’ll leave that part out. What matters is that Dave is one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met, and he’s more loyal than anyone I ever could have imagined.
When people think of living in NYC, they think of Sex and the City, Gossip Girl, White Collar [#RIP], Friends — all of those shows where the characters have normal jobs yet still somehow seem to afford gorgeous luxury apartments. I knew that wasn’t “real,” but guess what? Even the people who make nearly $200,000 still live in shitbox apartments the size of the closet in my condo. My job paid me well, but it certainly didn’t pay me enough to be able to afford a one-bedroom apartment on my own. It almost didn’t pay me enough to give Dave half the rent money, excluding utilities and everything else that goes along with being an adult. I remember thinking how crazy it was that I was hemorrhaging money when I had almost no social life. When people tell you New York City is expensive, they mean it. And when I say it’s expensive, I’m not only talking about everything it costs to live there. And it doesn’t just cost money — though, dear God, it certainly does that. It’s an emotionally, physically, mentally expensive place to live. It challenges all of your reserves, and before you know it, it can take your sanity.
So here’s my story about giving up a whole lotta shit in order to live my dream in the magical New York City and what happened when that magic faded. Continue Reading…