“You’re waiting for a train, a train that will take you far away.”
Sometimes it takes an outsider to give you perspective on a situational problem. Sometimes, that person is you.
In the middle of the trip, somewhere between walking in Central Park and laughing over drinks, I realized that NYC will always be my dream. I will always feel at home there. I will always feel an undeniable pull back to the city lights. I will eventually and always come back.
But like Ms. Norbury, I’m a pusher. I pushed myself and others around me into accepting my dream because I felt, and still feel far too often, like no one takes what I have to say seriously. Yes, I had legitimate reasons for my trip, but I also had to metaphorically slap everyone in the face so they could see I meant business.
I still do mean business. I mean it wholeheartedly, but I found out that I don’t have to push myself so hard, so fast, to get it done. I don’t have to rush my dream into fruition, even though I have a constant fear of my life ending before I see it come true (thanatophobia/necrophobia). I don’t have to make my happy ending harder than it needs to be.
Even if half of my relocation plans hadn’t fallen through, at the end of the day, I don’t want to have to struggle when I make Manhattan my home. I don’t want to have to run myself ragged to make enough money for shelter, food, and fun. I don’t want to have to feel my health deteriorate as I lose sleep to gain funds or notoriety. I don’t want to lose any more sleep period.
I always thought that if I didn’t achieve the dream fast enough that it would never happen, but now I see that if I don’t do it slow enough, it’ll all just as promptly crash and burn. Not only will my wallet reject the sudden change, but my body and mind will, too. I will shut down and that can’t happen. I need all three to survive, especially in the city.
Like my walking, my nights, my copyediting, and my recovery from anything, I have to take it slow. I can’t walk too fast, party at all, send a piece of writing off without millions of edits, or bounce back the next day from a cold or night of heavy drinking. It was silly of me to think anything else in my life would be different. For the first time in my life, though, that trademark slowness doesn’t repulse me.
That slowness represents who I am and is what makes me different from everyone else. I don’t wait beside my phone for anyone because most of the time, it can wait. I don’t speed because most of the time, I get there just as fast as everyone else. I don’t run anywhere because most of the time, there’s a better view when you walk.
Besides, if I run toward a dream instead of strolling there, I leave behind all of the things that shaped me along the way. Not allowing myself to give them all a proper goodbye would be unflattering and unforgivable.
I like my parents. I really do. I think they’re great and interesting people who took the time to make me smart and funny and creative and silly. They still have the ability to make me feel safe in a world that is horrid. They give me great advice that they might think I don’t take to heart, but I always do. I wouldn’t want them thinking I was leaving because they hadn’t cared for me enough. They always have and always will.
I like my sister. She makes me laugh, even when we’re fighting. I wouldn’t want her to think I was leaving because she wasn’t a good right-hand-man, because she always has been and always will be.
I like my family in general, because it is so vast and so different, but at the end of the day, we all love each other. We all know that time doesn’t matter because we are tied by the bonds of blood (or marriage or choice.) I wouldn’t want them to think that those bonds weren’t strong enough for me, because they always have been and always will be.
I like my friends. They put up with my erratic phone habits and are always around to shoot the shit. They forgive me when I screw up and let me hang out with them, even when I disappear for a while. I wouldn’t want them to think I was leaving because they just weren’t enough for me, because they always have been and always will be.
I like my dog. I like my homes, both in Greensboro and Boone. I like the South. I like the weather. I like my car. I like the food. I like the laughter. Most of all, I love the love it all becomes mixed together.
I wouldn’t want that love for all of it, for all of them, to feel like I was leaving it because I didn’t love it with all of my heart. I always do and I always will.
So I’ll take my time. Take my time padding my wallet, padding my health, padding my heart. I will stop for a moment to let everyone know how much I appreciate them before I journey to my newest love, one that I need to be whole but one that will never replace any of the loves that came before it.
I’ve always felt out of place in the universe because, well, I wasn’t in my place. I found a slowness in the city that never sleeps, a slowness that I have to embrace within before I can embrace without. I found a solidarity in the weird, the angry, the eclectic, the energetic, the sad, the hungry, the lonely, the lovely. I found a peace in the metropolis that hosts them all, and with that peace, I found peace within myself.
Today I’m gonna savor all the slowness. I’m gonna save my pennies. I’m gonna meditate my way to strength. I’m gonna enjoy the long journey to the destination. I’m gonna memorize the sights and sounds and smells I
want need to carry with me to get there. I’m gonna give the many hearts that deserve it a lengthy and proper goodbye.