There are three universal truths any time you arrive home from a trip to New York: you will be broke, you will be exhausted and you will be incredibly happy.
At least that’s the case for me.
A few weeks ago when a good friend told me she would have her 25th birthday celebration in New York City, it seemed like the perfect chance to have another one of my whirlwind NYC trips–the kind filled with visiting family and friends, hosting some sort of event, spending a shit ton of money and sleeping very, very little.
I always feel my nerves settling in before I visit New York, worried whether or not my body and brain can keep up with the frenetic pace of the city. A few times this past weekend I found myself asking friends, many of whom are recent transplants into the Big Apple, “Do you ever feel overstimulated here?” Most of them said no, they’ve gotten used to it or it just accompanies the DNA of living in a place filled with endless opportunity.
I like cities, but the city that has most defined my adulthood is Washington, D.C.–a place that gives a lot more fucks about everything than NYC, for better or worse. D.C. is like the preppy, overdressed cousin to its hip and irreverent family member of NYC. On one hand, I love D.C. I find it to be a very livable city, a place where I have learned to traverse the Metro without much confusion and drive the streets without panicking, despite my GPS serving as a necessary crutch. I know what I like in D.C., know U Street is my favorite place to go out, know which Busboys and Poets I most prefer performing at and know that you’ll never find decent parking in Adams Morgan. D.C. represents comfort for me, but NYC represents adventure. D.C. is skinny jeans and high heels; NYC is tutu skirts and boots (something I proudly wore this past weekend). D.C. is home, but NYC always has to be within reach. It represents excitement. An adrenaline rush. Opportunities I never get in D.C. and people I would never meet.
My most recent trip to NYC consisted of 36 hours–dinner with a friend; a sleepover at my big sister’s place; my final event of the year with the Big Apple Bloggers Brunch; a reunion with a college friend; pizza, wine and a reunion with another college friend, and dinner and karaoke for my friend’s birthday before leaving the karaoke spot at 4:30 a.m. to catch a 5 a.m. bus back home. I knew it was an aggressive schedule and I assumed by the time I made it to my pizza and wine reunion at a friend’s place on Saturday evening, I’d be ready for a nap before continuing my trip. Instead, I lied down for all of five minutes and decided I would much rather catch up with my friend than waste time sleeping.
If you know me, you know I never consider sleeping a waste of time. But, that’s the thing about New York–when you are there, you know your only option is to soak it up. Hop from borough to borough and neighborhood to neighborhood in search of what’s next. When my bus pulled out of the Lincoln Tunnel on Friday evening and I noticed it was pouring rain, my heart sank and I figured half of my plans would be canceled or modified because of the shitastic weather. I checked my email insanely on Saturday morning, monitoring it for any last-minute cancellations to the Big Apple Bloggers Brunch that I assumed were inevitable because of the weather. But, when I stood in the entrance of Essex restaurant, surrounded by hipsters and lower Manhattan’s young elite, I noticed women trickling in. Soon enough, the women for the brunch had taken over the entrance.
Like I said, I’ve asked friends if they ever feel overstimulated by the city. But, now, I see how it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the city in a different way–overwhelmed by the support and authenticity of the people there. From a friend having dinner with me after a long work week to my sister meeting me in Chelsea to help me navigate the maze of the subway, from all of these beautiful women showing up for my last Twenties Unscripted event of 2014 to a friend just letting me regroup and crash at his place for a few hours–I know that NYC has my back in ways I will always need. I may not be brave and gusty enough to make a move there, but I know how important it is for me to get to the city. Get my blood rushing. See my people. Reconnect and rebuild. Spend way too much money. And, of course, never sleep.