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Home Again (in a rather emotional sense)

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Sep. 3rd, 2004 | 07:07 am

"Home is where the heart is."

It's been said so many times that it has become a cliche, a platitude that people repeat without ever really appreciating the meaning. Yet things that become cliche become so for a reason, and at the root of any platitude is a truth. Someone said it once because that was what they felt, and other people saw the truth and repeated it.

Which means that occasionally one can be struck by the sudden realization of how a cliche applies specifically to them.

I'm having that moment now.

Perhaps it's delerium induced by a mere 1.5 hours of pseudo sleep on the plane flying here, but as I sit in the Starbucks at Cooper Square that has provided me with many a hot chocolate these past 4 years I realize that I feel more connected and whole here than I feel in the domicile where I have slept every night for the past three weeks.

Beginning a new existence somewhere certainly has its upsides... no one knows you well, so you have complete freedom to reinvent yourself at the slightest whim. Others may notice the change, but contact is so limited that it is likely to be chalked up to the frequent mistakes made in first impressions. There is also the thrill of the newness of everything -- new people to meet, new places to discover, and new things to do. (Certainly there are hobbies I could pursue in California that would have been much more difficult to pursue here in New York... though New York has availability of hobbies I could not so easily pursue in California.)

And yet there is the one huge downside to moving away. There is the making new friends/meeting new people situation. While I personally have nothing against making new friends or meeting new people, it is much easier to do this in the context of having a peer group, a group of people that you go out with, spend time with, etc. I have that here in New York. I have my friends who are here and we have our rituals and our common activities, and I don't have that yet in California.

I imagine that soon I will. But the limbo period, the time between one support network becomes unavailable because of time and space and all the things that separate people (most of them directly related to proximity) and a new one has yet to be built is hard. And the longer it endures, the more likely it makes one to hide alone in her apartment, which only really makes the limbo worse.

Now that I'm back in New York, it feels like there is my whole network of friends and colleagues available to me again. I feel connected and whole -- I will be there to share the laughter and the gossip and the stories. At least for a little while.

There is something about NYC that is unique and special in and of itself, though, something that I have always felt here since I first moved out here for college. This something is an energy that the city possesses, an energy I have never felt anywhere else. There is something enlivening about the way the subways make the ground tremble as they run their courses under the city streets, something that feels very safe about tall buildings packed together overlooking streets and sidewalks.

I have a sense of self-possession and confidence here that I think I lack so far in California. But I imagine that same sense will develop in due time. Moving is hard, and transitions are hard... but there are worse things in life. And in the mean time, I will enjoy my visit here, knowing that for some part of me, New York will always be "home."

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