The grass is greener on the other side.
I'm from Los Angeles, born and raised, so I'm practically a unicorn: nobody who lives here is actually from here. Perhaps the same could be said of NYC, where the hustle and bustle of newcomers keeps the vibrancy alive. In Los Angeles, I've outgrown the romance; I'm no longer entranced by the Hollywood sign, and I can't actually remember a time when I ever was. So when my world was spiraling out of control, and I needed a quick escape, I flipped the bird and booked my first solo trip to NYC for Thanksgiving break.
I would arrive in Albany for a quick visit with my friend, then take the train from Albany to Midtown the following day. Upon arrival, I realized that in my disoriented and distressed mental state, I had provided my friend with the wrong travel dates. MERDE. Being the the queen that she is, my friend was accommodating, navigating around her insane medical school schedule to provide me with a place to stay. The moment I saw her, I couldn't stop crying: I was overwhelmed by life back home, and my scheduling faux-pas didn't help. 24 hours later, after my quick Albany pit stop, I was alone in NYC. For the first time in months, my mind was at ease.
Yes, I ran away from home.. for just a week. Perhaps running away isn't the best coping method for depression and anxiety, but in my case, i needed breathing room, alone, to figure out my life. I'm lucky that I could afford this luxury, and while a week alone wouldn't solve all my problems, it would be the starting point for navigating out of my funk. Back home, in Los Angeles, I would spend days at a time in bed. Here, I didn't stop moving.
Prior to New York, I choose a career where rejection is a constant, surrounded myself with people who regularly undermined my worth, lost loved ones, and fell into a toxic cycle of staying awake all night, trying to solve the unsolvable, and lying in bed all day, completely apathetic and lethargic. I made excuses not to be productive, both personally and professionally, and felt as though my life was entirely out of my control. It finally dawned on me that I needed to make a change, but feeling suffocated in my life, I had no clue where to start. And then I ended up in New York city, and it restored my faith in... me.
For a week, I was entirely dependent on me. Usually contained to my car, I walked upwards of ten miles a day, discovering hidden gems of a familiar city. I reconnected with friends, ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, and prioritized myself, something I struggle to do on a regular basis. I saw shows, rediscovering my passion for theatre, and on Thanksgiving day, I ran around the city, watching the floats as they entertained in the parade. I could breathe again. I could see the value in myself again. And when I hopped back on the plane to Los Angeles, I promised myself I would only seek to control the things I could... and that I would leave my bed each day.
Maybe I didn't need New York city to reignite my spark, but the mindset adjustments I made, while focusing solely on myself, were invaluable. I can't control who I'm related to, what people think of me, or who might hire me, and good news: that's okay! I can control how I treat myself and others, how much time and energy I put into my passions and talents, and how I attain happiness. So if escape and travel is what I need to refocus and reevaluate, with clarity of mind, then so be it. For now, New York has a special place in my heart.