I, by no means, consider myself to be a New Yorker. My entire life consisted of gorgeous oceanside drives down the Pacific Coast Highway, strolls through Rodeo Drive and bike rides along Santa Monica Pier. Yes, quite literally, I'm a Californian. I grew up in LA, and after a feared yet bold move, I've spent the last four years of my life in the Big Apple.
While there's still much to learn about NYC, my experiences over the past few years have taught me that everything Millennials imagine the city to be is completely inaccurate.
Before moving here, there were two things I envisioned about New York City: a) gigantic buildings, b) excitement on every corner and d) the word "boredom" doesn't exist. While I will admit that all three of these did reign true, there is one huge factor that plays into living in NYC that no one tells you before moving here: loneliness.
It is the unspeakable truth engrained in the city. No one wants to acknowledge it, and no one wants to begin to understand why it's there, but it is. Here's the thing about New York: No matter where you are, no matter what time of day it is, there will always be faces around you, but somehow, you'll feel alone.
Even after four years living in the city, I still can't pinpoint exactly what it is that makes you feel this way. Perhaps it's the fact that New York is always going, going, going, and there's rarely time to reflect. Or maybe it's the fact that it seems like everyone is strictly out for themselves. Whatever it is, it's probably one of the most overwhelming feelings in the world.
I have a wonderful boyfriend, fabulous friends and an incredible job in the city, but still, something's missing. And while I know a large part of that has to do with the fact that my family is all the way on the west coast, there is still something else about NYC that makes it so damn haunting.
I was on the train heading home from work the other day and took a brief moment to glance at the people around me. I wondered where there were going, what they were thinking, if they felt as alone on the train as I did. I couldn't possibly be the only person in this city that feels this way, right?
While this may seem like yet another angry rant against New York (it might be), what it actually intend it to be is a warning to joyful, naive Millennials everywhere. I was 20 years old when I moved to NYC, and I'll never be the same. Of course, I've gained and learned so much more than I ever imagined, but my personal changes have been both good and bad.
Since moving to the city, I've become more cynical, angrier, and lost most of my lighthearted LA demeanor. After the first year, when practically everyone I met exclaimed they knew I couldn't possibly be from NYC because of how happy I was, something changed. Something in me became colder, more disinterested.
Each time I venture back home to LA to visit my family, a light switch turns on. I'm back to my old self. All the negativity goes away. But whenever I'm back in New York, even with the beautiful life I live out here, the light turns off again.
While you might be thinking that what I'm feeling is something deeper than the city I live in, I can 100 percent say it's not. It's New York. It's the jungle. It's the feeling that no matter how hard you try to make New York home, it can never be tamed. It will never settle for anyone. It will never change for you.
New York is great for those who are willing to change for it. And if you're not, beware because you'll absolutely change anyway. The change is inevitable, and if you're not prepared for it, this isn't the city for you.