As a kid I wanted to live in a cabin in the mountains. Or better yet, inside a tree in the mountains. Or a cave in the mountains. The important part was the mountain part.
A few of my friends wanted to visit New York City, but to me it sounded lame. A giant city? No way. Give me tree-covered slopes, lakes, rivers, and grassy meadows! The farther from civilization the better. I will hunt deer and fashion my own clothing from their skins! My teeth will be my only scissors until I find obsidian with which to fashion my own tools! I will also grow a huge beard, because that’s what mountain men do.
And then I became a computer nerd. (A beardless one, despite the programmer grooming standard.)
While 10-year old me would be disappointed that those dreams never came to fruition, 31-year old me is quite happy that they didn’t. First, I’ve never made it past the 2 week mark with facial hair—it’s way too itchy. Second, I never would have seen things like this. Also, I’d never have seen Doctor Who. Tragedy of tragedies.
Anyway, point is that it came as a bit of a shock when I accepted a job offer in New York City back in 2008. I’d thought of moving to Denver, Seattle, and D.C., but still had a mental block on NYC from when I was young. I’d never had the smallest desire to visit the city, let alone live there. This approximates my view on NYC at the time.
I figured I’d stay a year.
I moved at the tail end of autumn and while the fall colors were pretty, I found winter in the city to be somewhat miserable1. It was cold, expensive (okay, this isn’t unique to winter), I didn’t have a car anymore, I couldn’t go skiing (not that I went that often in Utah, but the option was gone), and I got lost a lot. I have a terrible sense of direction.
I didn’t really begin to enjoy it until spring rolled around and I got out more. Turns out seeing and experiencing a place is rather important to the liking of it. Mind blown, right? I also got out of the city and explored some of the countryside. By the end of that first summer I was hooked. I was coming up on a year and had no desire to leave.
So I didn’t.
I stayed. For 4 years.
I won’t attempt to wax poetic about what makes NYC a great place to live, as any attempt I could make would fall far short of the reality.
I will say, however, that I stayed, in part, for the food (and desserts), for the parks, and for the buildings; the long walks, the people-watching, the diversity, the smells (the good ones), and all the friends I made. I met my best friend in the city.
New York City may not be a secluded, wooded valley in the middle of a mountain range, but it is exciting and perhaps even a bit dangerous. Lots of beards, too.
Plus, the food is better.
Subsequent winters were also cold, but my dislike of the first was mostly due to my attitude.↩