A Change of Heart


4:15 PM – EST

Union Square

New York, New York

For the first time since my arrival in New York, I can see myself saying goodbye to living here. Believe me, it was an unexpected moment that struck me during a not so quiet Sunday stroll from Columbus Circle to the corner of East 11th and University Avenue. The specificity of this realization happened just moments before sitting down at a coffee shop where I’ve probably spent half my life typing, reading, thinking away.

People in New York are many things. They are resilient. They are honest. They are straightforward. They are remarkable. They are irreverent. They are cold. They are love. They are people.

But when the visage of defeat appears on this island it just feels more pronounced. People look as though they’ve been kicked around a little more with a few less helping hands to mitigate whatever pain led them to more pain.

I once read an interview with Morgan Freeman, an actor I greatly admire, who moved from New York after 30 years of living in the city because it really bothered him that in all that time he never knew his neighbor. “That’s not living,” he said.

Still, I’ve found that whenever I try to hold onto something I tend to run into problems. Whether it’s people who don’t have my best interests at heart, romantic relationships that aren’t so romantic, or in this case, ghosts of the past. Each corner, each nook, each path offers a memory that leaves me nearly incapacitated with nostalgia. What I wouldn’t give to take a “move the hell on” pill. My mind seems to run the black and white newsreels of a time long gone that hasn’t bothered to give me the same consideration.

When I asked my dear friend Ashley, 35, from Atlanta, Georgia what the best piece of advice she ever received was she told me, “Sometimes you have to pay to get rid of a problem.” She stumbled on this realization when dealing with an impossible roommate several years back who ended up keeping Ashley’s security deposit. “It just wasn’t worth it,” she said. I took her comment to mean that sometimes we need to make sacrifices to get what we want. And even then it might just be a remnant of what we originally intended to accomplish.

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