I love Thai food, and I single-handedly ruined it for myself — I stupidly decided to announce my move out of New York to the boy I was seeing over weekly noodles. To be fair, he can’t really say he didn’t see this coming, given how ten minutes into our first date I fell into a trash pile and cursed the entire five boroughs of New York. My revelation was followed by a mortifying hour, punctuated with his various disputes to my claim that “New York is the absolute worst.” This was made all the worse by the unwelcomed input of the patrons and staff around us. By dessert, all I knew was that mango mousse was gross, this boy would make a terrible life coach, and New York still sucked.
I get it: everyone dreams of New York, if you can make it here you can make it anywhere, blah, blah, blah. I did love New York. I loved it so much I broke some major cultural traditions by leaving my traditional Mexican parents sans only daughter. I’m not going to claim becoming self-reliant and exploring an entire city on my own wasn’t exhilarating, because blatantly lying is tacky. For the first time in my life, I had a plethora of things to see and an arsenal of fellow art kids to see them with.
You know what no one tells you about always having somewhere to be? It’s downright exhausting. I’d spend entire days trying to consolidate all my obligations to the point where it was just easier to feign illness and stay home with Netflix. I had a full-ride scholarship and a job, yet I still had a panic every time I’d open my mobile banking app post trip to the groceries. I loved walking, but knew the combined forces of humidity and tourists would make me feel soiled before I had even reached the end of my block. I wondered when I’d have the breezy, spontaneous adventures everyone on Instagram seemed to be having until I reasonably concluded the world was a lie.
I could try to romanticized how in a city of millions, I managed to find the man struggling to construct counter-arguments between bites of fried rice. The truth is there was no New York magic at play here; this was purely timing and proximity. We were in a bunch of classes together and concluded we had enough in common to spend recreational time together. Did I care about him? Sure. Did I care enough to spend an additional amount of time in this city? Absolutely not. I knew my relationship with New York was on the verge of making me irreparably bitter, and staying would only turn my mild indifference towards him into pure resentment –we could both do better.
Really, I know I should be thanking New York. If I’ve gotten nothing else out of this half decade spent with it, it did give me the perfect barometer on which relationships are worthwhile: do I love you enough to live indefinitely in New York?