I first visited New York on a stop over from Minneapolis to London in September 1986. I loved the city but felt that it was too big and too... overwhelming for me to ever live here. Looking back at that feeling now, I am happy to have been wrong.
Five years later, in 1991, I was invited to a wedding in New Jersey and spent the better part of a week visiting NYC. What a difference five years made. I fell in love with this burg during that week and started to think about how I could live here. I spent the next couple years in graduate school in Chicago plotting my 'in' to New York all the while visiting about three to four times a year, making more friends with each trip.
I first moved to New York in February 1994 just before my 30th birthday. I sublet a friend's room while he was on tour with THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES. It was out in Astoria and I was temping for Burson Marsteller located just above Union Square so the commute was kind of a drag, but who cared? I was living in NYC at long last!
I spent from 1994 - 1998 having the time of my life going on auditions, doing a couple of shows, taking mostly terrible temp jobs, and teaching 7,8,9 year olds at a NY based children's theater. I also started directing at a children's theater during the summers in Sunnyvale, CA (just south of San Fran) and finding a career path that combined all of my other career paths - event producing - by doing contract work for a non-profit in LA.
I kind of felt like I was cheating on New York by spending so much time with SF and LA but, ultimately, one goes where the opportunities are.
So New York and I broke up. We still loved each other but I needed to see other cities. :)
I ended up moving to LA to tackle more event work - those years were a strange mix of the following:
- I had the most amazing social life EVER!
- I was producing successful, well attended, weekly and annual events that made money and got a lot of press within the LGBT community AND, I feel, made a difference in people's lives.
- I was getting paid for writing both online and off.
- I was contributing to a friend's website business by consulting with his clients on best practices.
- I was occasionally 'temping' at a major entertainment company (this particular assignment is still one of my all time favorite jobs).
- I had a relationship that was great until it wasn't and then ....I was on my own.
- I had so many "Oh my God, I almost just died" driving experiences that I limited my time behind the wheel and became a borderline agoraphobe.
- I missed New York and would take sporadic trips back here, but could not figure out how to work my way back in (at one point, I had a job interview for a cool theater job that would have started on 9/10/01. Probably best that I didn't get that one, huh?).
Eventually, in May 2003 I moved back to NYC. In January 2004 I moved into my current apartment. In February 2005 I started a weekly fundraising Bingo show that lasted ten years and raised a quarter of a million dollars. In February 2006 I worked in my first events job that one could consider "corporate". In 2007 I met a guy I would date for 4 years but, in breaking up with him, I would find a brother. In 2011 I would get my officiant license (marrying people is a source of great joy to me). In 2012 my mother passed away and the circle of friends I developed got me through it in ways that I would never have thought possible. In 2013 I began a corporate events role that took my work and my life to very interesting places (both figurative and literal). In 2016, I met the Mister and I re-discovered my art.
That's 20 years total living in this burg and it's a great city, but you know, sometimes I get grumpy about living here. The subway, the rents, the pace, the hassle. We all know the drill.
But it does feel like home.
And yet, there have been times recently when I could see living elsewhere whether that was due to work or other situations.
Spending a chunk of my current work week in New Jersey has, maybe, given me a renewed appreciation both for living here and also reminded me that there is a world outside worth exploring. Funny that my New York adventure started in New Jersey, so it's kind of come full circle.
Nothing more really to this morning's post than just a simple appreciation for all the things that life has to offer especially the things that have yet to be discovered. :)