I’ve been patting myself on the back quite a bit in the past month–after all, this is the first time I’ve watched the end of an apartment lease come and go with no desire to move to a new place.
But in the past couple of weeks, a different, more severe kind of wanderlust has taken hold:
The desire to move to a new city.
I know, I know! I’m Ms. I-Love-DC! I’ve finally found an apartment I love, and a job in my field that I like and that pays me enough to live on!
I’ve been in DC for just over 5 years (5 years and 1 month, to be exact–I moved down here the day after my college graduation at the beginning of June 2006), and I just realized recently that this is the longest I’ve lived somewhere by choice (I don’t count anything pre-college, since I didn’t exactly have much say in where my family lived)–since I graduated from high school in 2002, I’ve spent 4 years in Massachusetts for college, and then the following 5 years here in DC for grad school and beyond.
Though I’d never lived on the East Coast until college, I know after 9 years that I’m definitely an East Coast person through and through (Even though I was born in southern California! Le gasp!) Also, considering that Virginia is horrifyingly Southern to me, there’s no way I could ever live further south than DC.
So that mostly narrows me down to DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, or Boston. And for some reason, New York is calling my name.
Even though I love large cities, I’ve always been unsure about my ability to handle New York. I mean, it’s pretty much THE big city. I visited the city fairly regularly in college (we were actually just as far from NYC as we were from Boston, so I actually spent more time in NY than in Boston in those 4 years!), and always felt that living there would just be too overwhelming. But then again, 1) I always spent pretty much all of my time in Manhattan during those trips, and yeah, Manhattan can be pretty overwhelming; and 2) at that time, one summer spent in Chicago in high school was my only large city experience, so maybe I’d do better now that I have 5 years in a slightly smaller city under my belt.
And beyond just the “could I handle a new place?” question, there’s the whole issue of finding a job in my field. NY seems at first glance to be a great place for museums…but they’re mostly art museums, which I have no qualifications for, nor any interest in! Granted, my #2 dream job is with a NY museum (the Lower East Side Tenement Museum–#1 dream job is with the Interpretive Programs Office of the Library of Congress, where I interned in grad school), but it’s still going to be wicked hard to find a job that will pay me enough to live on–though after doing some research, I’m discovering that I could definitely live in NY on what I’m making now, which is reassuring…
But in the end, it’s a huge leap, and I’m comfortable here in DC! I mean, it took me 5 years here to figure out what I really wanted as far as a job and a neighborhood and an apartment, and to actually find those things that I wanted. So do I want to have to start over?