Before any eagle-eyed MeFites start ringing the “repeat” bell, bear with me: Earlier
I asked about leaving New York despite the inevitable blow to my magazine career, and most of you sensibly told me to stay put for five (!) or ten years (!!) and build up my portfolio. Thing is, I’m not all that stoked about living here, and staying in a city I’m only ‘meh’ about feels like a waste of time and youth. This question isn't about my job (I'm aware of the inherent professional risks of moving), but about my lifestyle.
I live in Brooklyn, work in Manhattan, but I long for a big city life with a more laid-back pace. I'm familiar with Chicago from growing up in the Midwest and visiting after college, but have never lived there. Maybe I’m pinning too many expectations on a city when I just want out of NYC, but I get the impression that Chicago is a home while New York is just a superconductor always shuttling me up one invisible ladder to the bottom rung of the next. But, of course, I've got my doubts: what if I move to Chicago and get… bored? No one can answer that question but me, but I’d like your input.
What I like about New York:
-affordable, reliable transportation: I don’t drive, probably never will again.
-culture: book readings, museums, public lectures, etc
-well-read, liberal people
-efficiency: I walk fast, talk fast, and act like I’m 5 minutes late to everything (that’s not New York, just me). However, I’d prefer a city that doesn’t encourage me to be a self-important ass who hustles you to the slow side of the stairs if you’re not walking fast enough.
-Brooklyn: love the neighborhoods, love the bike-friendliness, love the bars, parks, and the staggering diversity.
What I dislike about New York:
-high rents: I’d rather live in a tiny studio on my own than with two roommates with various quirky psychoses. I want very badly to have my own place, and I fear I’ll never be able to afford one here with the astronomic rents.
-I make the New York sacrifice of spending waaaay too much money on rent and time at my job to get the big, slobbery dog of my dreams. I want a dog the way other women want babies.
-obsession with money, beauty, and power: I really try not to care, but I am haunted by a paranoia of not being pretty enough, thin enough, successful enough (I haven’t published a book at 24!), etc. As a pretty, somewhat successful, educated, formerly ball-busting girl, this annoys me.
-the weather: New York had snow, like, twice, and once it melted off the sidewalks after 3 hours. My Welsh/Ohio blood craves the bitter cold, not the chilly rains, people!
-transience: my friends pick up and leave at the drop of a hat. No one is here for good, including me, apparently.
Am I taking New York's culture for granted, or underestimating Chicago? Insights from New Yorkers, Chicagoans, and anyone in between are very welcome.