It's 2020. A date that seemed so futuristic until all the sudden it was here. I think it some ways it does demarcate a different type of living. It's certainly not the future I had imagined, just as this isn't quite the life I had imagined for myself. But despite the seemingly cursed nature of modern life, there is still a lot of it. There's so much to this living thing, that I think I'll keep going, for as long as I can and try and see some more of it. But boy, it's hard at times to maintain perspective.
Last year was a really important one for me. I had announced that it was my "GIVING IT MY ALL" year. That I would not let finances and self-doubt keep me from accomplishing things. I worked my buns off. And in the second half of the year, I had 1,2,3,4 jobs, and was taking a cartooning class at SVA, while in a relationship. I really impressed myself. I had for so long convinced myself that I needed a lot of downtime. That it was what my neurosis needed for me to function best. I learned that while there is a kernel of truth to it, mostly that's just my depression talking in its language of fear and avoidance. That it's warding off things both positive and negative because that's what it does best. Trap you at home. Where by myself I would enjoy the true ecstasy of little things (tea and snacks! A good podcast! Reading! Drawing! Designing cards for Shipwreck! Cleaning the apartment! Discovering new music!) but also suffering through extreme loneliness and the infinite white noise of can't/ shouldn't/ won't and what could have been.
Instead I bopped from thing to thing, busy as the busiest people I've ever known. And though it wasn't perfect (this tends to make me a bit more anxious than my normal depression brain is used to) and in all actuality I could have used some more down time, I learned that I don't have to be a 6 on and 4 off kind of person. That maybe 9 isn't the right amount of tasks and responsibilities for me, but I can do it if I have to. It made me realize I can easily be an 8 of energy. And just because a voice in my head tells me I can't and that's not who I am, well, that's just a voice and though I have to live with it, I certainly don't have to listen.
With the push that was 2019, I had two main goals. Creative connections, people to collaborate with, to have drinks with and talk shop (you know, like shop class!). And a romantic relationship. If I had a real relationship that I saw a future in, and if I saw new opportunities arising that I really wanted to explore, I would stay in New York and if I didn't, I would leave with my head held high. And though it really was such an important and FUN AS HELL, year, and though I made some light creative connections, and had some very good fortune with dating, I will be leaving New York this year. The plan is, in Fall I will head on down to Philly and give it a go there.
I'm so grateful to this city for all that it has given me, but at this point I need to go somewhere new and experience things with a bit more of a fresh head. As I said earlier, life hasn't turned out quite how I had imagined it. But as I've been saying for years now, life doesn't give a hoot about your plans. And it's foolish to think of yourself as a failure for not living up to a bunch of assumptions you'd made about who you would be over the years. I've been working really hard this past 5 or so years to better understand myself, strengths, flaws, scents, sounds and flavors. And as I've gotten to know myself better, I can see that staying in New York would be only stubbornness. That's what it's been so far, if I'm honest.
I didn't want to leave New York with my tail between my legs. But it's a pretty absurd concept if you think about it. Cities are incredibly fluid and complex collections of people and enterprises. But they don't act as one entity. And even if they did, you can only be beaten by one if you set the terms of your defeat. In other words, life doesn't have to be a slug match, it can just be. But I stuck to my goals that I had set in my early 20's and it is only now, at 32 that I I'm realizing I need to set goals based upon who I am currently and what I want realistically for myself. Not who I hope I'll be. This is it, I'm as me as I'll ever be. Older people always tell me that they feel 30 in their mind but their body tells them something different. So there's no time like the present to get real.
For instance, now that I've been away from it for a good little while, I realize that part of the magic of Austin was simply quality of life. I made enough money to not feel overly limited (of course I also had the financial responsibilities [or lack of responsibilities] of a young person). I also felt inspired there. And though I feel inspiration here as well (got the same brain, you see) I tend to also feel overwhelmed by my ideas here, whereas in Austin I would just dive into them. I'm hoping that moving to a smaller city, will re-ignite my go-get-em ness and help me move toward the thing that makes me happiest in the world. Making things. And also, making things happen.
Whatever you can say about my time in New York, and certainly I have made some things (I have started two businesses here for Pete's sake) I also feel like I mostly collected ideas in little specimen jars, making myself rich with plots and plans. Well that's a project for another day. Another year. Maybe even an idea for another person. And I don't want to be that anymore. I feel like the best chance I have to be the most complete Greg I can be, is to try and find a place, and please god, a community, where I can start getting my hands dirty again. Set the specimens free, baby!
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