How I Imagine It Feels To Live In New York During Your 20s


I will be very poor. Not in the Oxfam sense, but I will be perpetually struggling to keep my head above a tide of bills, bar tabs and other first-world expenses. I will live in a unique paradox between complaining about how expensive my rent is whilst ordering my fourth beer at my second bar on a Tuesday afternoon. Obviously I will have to room-share with three strangers, one of which will perhaps be casually addicted to crack. By the laws of transference and general proximity I will probably become an addict too and I will optimistically balance this lifestyle intermittently with my unpaid internship or whatever. I will lose loads of weight and my skin will pale. My new circle of friends will comment that I have acclimatized really well that I look really good.


I will be surrounded by an abundance of immeasurable creative talent. This will make me feel correspondingly less talented and therefore less willing to start anything. I suppose that people in New York actually have stuff to do. It’s not like an episode of Friends where people just waste away in coffee houses all day unless it’s “The One Where They All Have a Trust-Fund”. A post-grad stint spent in New York is not going to be like teaching English in Japan or like working in a bar on Bondi Beach. That vacuum of free time where you could peacefully lie on your kitchen floor and think about some baseless embarrassing thing you said or did six years ago just doesn’t exist. A few hours of that kind of existential self-numbing will cost you like $100 rent in this city. I imagine that everyone adapts by doing their daily rounds of self-reflection on the go. People move to New York to move forward in their respective careers and they do so with a streamlined determinism. It will feel uplifting at first to be caught in such a dynamic rip tide but eventually I will start to feel a little bit dwarfed by the perceived success of my friends and peers. Always an e-book launch party invite +1 and never an e-book party launcher. Not forgetting that there are a lot of real-life famous people in New York too. On my morning commute to work I will see a girl who I think is Lena Dunham cross the street and consider propelling myself forward into the oncoming traffic. She is only a few years older than me but has already achieved more than I ever could even if I worked solidly for ten years straight and that’s without taking smoking breaks.


I will be tired all the time. I’m kind of already tired all the time anyway, but that’s because I have intense feelings of pseudo-self importance and the general upkeep of those feelings is actually very taxing. I imagine that living in New York is exhausting too but in a different way. There’s no time to go home and shower after work, does my apartment even have a shower? No because my bathroom is recovering from the time I converted it into a makeshift meth-lab that seemed like such a good idea at the time. So instead of allowing myself an hour of brief decompression after work and some time to feel fresh, everything amalgamates into one histrionic blur of work deadlines, good times and rooftop parties. Wow, people in New York sure do love having parties on rooftops eh?


The last thing that I can assume is that I’ll never want to leave. I’ll fall in love with the city the same way people fall in love with people. Sometimes I’ll stop in my tracks and just look around at the place that everyone knows from books and television and feel like a part of ‘it’. That recently commodified human cargo of Generation Y or Z, that part of young adulthood known as your twenties. The weird and clumsy stage of your life where you do what you want and let your thoughts and opinions spill out all over the place. Yes I am going to make a bit of mess but why not? I heart New York, and New York hearts me too. The city that never sleeps around, the big apple of my eye. I will be knocked around a bit, I guess I could get my heart broken and maybe I’ll get mugged. In fact, sometimes I leave my laptop totally unattended whilst I hop outside café’s to smoke and talk to strangers so I can’t imagine any of my possessions hanging around for too long. I will learn to live without these things though. When I get to New York I assume that I am going to hang around for as long as I can, because it’s ok to live as cliché sometimes and because after a while I won’t just be hanging around, but I will be home. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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