Mona Lisas and Madhatters

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"And know I know Spanish Harlem are not just pretty words to say...  I thought I knew, but I know that rose trees never grow in New York City."

You ever wake up with absolutely no idea what you're doing with your life or how you got there?

I call it the Robin Scherbatsky/How I Met Your Mother/nothing good happens after 2 a.m. feeling.  If you know and love HIMYM, you know exactly what I mean.  You've definitely been there.  If you don't, it's not really that important.  You get the idea.

It's that moment when nothing is really wrong, but nothing seems quite right either.

Sometimes I find myself thinking, how in the world did I end up where I am?  I really can't believe that I live in New York City.  It was always this unattainable, way far out there, ridiculous, "just to see if I can really do it" kind of goal.  I had absolutely no good reason for it.  None whatsoever.  But as it turns out, when you apply on a whim and then get the job, it's a little more settled than you realize at the time.  And now, I'm preparing to move 750 students out of my three residence halls and wrap up my academic year contract.  I'm trying (unsuccessfully) to finish final papers for semester three, before very quickly starting semester four (four!) in June.  For as quickly as the time went, it was also the never-ending year that just would not end.  And I have this sneaky little feeling that the next one will go even faster.

And people, nothing really prepares you for living here.  I mean, yes, I sort of knew the neighborhoods and subways and attractions before I moved, but that's not what I mean.  New York changes the way you see the world.  It is exhausting and infuriating and completely intoxicating.  One minute you're on the way too crowded subway with people yelling and balancing way too many grocery bags and daydreaming about the days you had a car.  The next minute you're standing next to celebrities in Times Square.  Nothing here is fast.  Nothing about New York is easy.  But then just when you're about to give in, just when it's about to break you, New York goes and does something like Central Park on a 75-degree Spring day and makes you fall in love again.

The combination of first year of a doctoral degree plus first year working in res life plus first year living in New York City?  Let's not even go there.  This year aged me.  I'm getting old, people.  I need a nap.  And a massage.  Pretty much constantly.  And I also need those five weeks I have off this summer like I can't even begin to describe.  Five weeks in Oklahoma and Kansas and maybe somewhere else thrown in for good times?  I cannot wait.  But even that won't be quite the same, will it?

"I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void."  (You've Got Mail)

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