“I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel… I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. ” – Jack Kerouac
I arrived back in New York by myself on Sunday with about 20 hours to spare before starting work early the next morning. And so it was off to here and there to gather what I considered essentials for the next few days, unpacking the few items I had brought with me in my suitcase. Monday through Wednesday morning were a blur, leaving Wednesday night to unpack my now-arrived shipped items and dinner with old friends at Tartine. But when I woke up Thursday morning, it took me a good minute to remember where I was at, followed by the all too realization that I was alone where I was at. Panic set in, as I began questioning my decision to uproot my life somewhere I had called home for 22 years, and a yearning for my family’s nearness and the smell of saltwater almost left me breathless. What was I doing? Since when did a girl of my disposition have what it takes to create a new life for herself, by herself? Who did I think I was?
This mindset continued into the day, as I showered and dressed and unpacked some more… did I make a mistake? I should make note that I have known what I wanted to do with my life since I was 16 years old. I have known that I wanted to be in the magazine industry, that I was good at the magazine industry, and that I would find someway to make it in the magazine industry. This resolution has been steadfast since I was that age, leaving little room for doubt or fear. But now here I was, in the city I’ve always wanted to be in working the dream job I’ve always wanted to have, feeling every unspoken qualm slowly working their ways into my heart and mind.
I suppose most people would tell me my episode was normal, that any big decisions will never be met with absolute certainty… but still, I was disappointed to feel that faith, that confidence in what I was supposed to do and where I was supposed to be, questioned for the first time since I was 16. The above quote from On the Road felt so true tonight as I watched the sun set over my new balcony near the financial district of New York, from orange to red to purple, of being far from home and not really knowing who I am yet. I feel an era in my life has ended, the freeness of just spending a few semesters interning in the city versus the reality of spending the next 10+ years of my life working and living in the city. It’s a weird feeling, one I had only ever experienced as exciting, but now I’m thinking it’s kind of sad too… Confusing. Strange. I’m letting go it go now though, letting it sink with the sun tonight.
It’s good to see you again New York, I think…