If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you might have noticed that a few months ago I left New York City and moved to Boston. This post is long overdue and it’s honestly been such a whirlwind that I haven’t had time to put thought into what I wanted to write. I considered something along the lines of how hard it was to say goodbye to New York or the love-hate relationship I had with the city, but honestly so many other bloggers have said it before (including, very recently, one of my favorite fashion bloggers Bows & Sequins – she summed up my feelings pretty well!). I don’t think anyone needs to read my likely less eloquent version, so I’m simply going to reminisce about the ridiculous slash hilarious crap I put up with in order to live in the Big Apple in the first place. The likes of which I would *never* put up with nowadays!
That’s not to say I regret moving there at all – quite the opposite, actually. I’m SO happy that I had the chance to live, work and play in arguably the greatest city in the world for four and a half years. But the decision to move there was silly. I had no savings, a job that paid almost no money, nowhere to live, and honestly no clue what I wanted to do with my life.
At 20 years old, I headed off to the big city for a six month internship. I had never lived outside of Boston before and frankly never planned on living anywhere else. I knew I wanted to work in fashion public relations, though, and figured that a stint in NYC was necessary for my career. By the end of the six months, however, I’d realized I simply wasn’t going to be happy in Boston anymore. I made plans to graduate early and return ASAP.
Life in New York was such an incredible departure from that in Boston, and I was absolutely infatuated with it. Everyone, it seemed like, was doing something very cool. I finally didn’t feel weird wearing fashion-forward clothing or talking about the fact that I spent my spare time blogging. Weekend days were for exploring up-and-coming neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Bushwick in Brooklyn. And the nightlife, obviously, didn’t compare.
Boston is bursting with what I refer to as “pub clubs,” or Irish-themed bars that reek of spilled Bud Light, charge a cover to get in and have a DJ spinning Top 40 music or a relatively awful cover band inside. I despised the pub clubs, but the city’s more “sophisticated” offerings were pretty disappointing as well: most nightclubs were seedy, and cocktail bars filled with a much older crowd than I was interested in mingling with.
New York, on the other hand, had a lifestyle that was glamorous, varied, and best of all, never closed. I never had to leave my apartment before 11 p.m. for the evening, which probably would have started off at some speakeasy where we’d drink cocktails with fancy ingredients like egg whites. Next we’d head to a club where my friends and I would dance on the couches while emptying free bottles of Veuve Clicquot champagne (honestly, who pays for all the champagne girls drink at clubs in NYC? It’s a mystery). I’d be wearing a $500 dress that I had borrowed from my workplace (when you’re 21, that’s the only “benefit” you care about) and six-inch heels (also, very likely, free). Eventually we’d end up sitting in a packed restaurant somewhere around 5 a.m., laughing about the night’s shenanigans and eating something delicious that Boston wouldn’t even be serving at a normal hour. As the sun rose, I’d be speeding over the Brooklyn Bridge in the back of a taxi thinking that my life was pretty awesome.
But now that I’m reflecting on it, I realize that life was decidedly not awesome. I was working extremely long hours and rarely left the office by 8 p.m. before coming home to do freelance projects so I could afford my rent. My housing situation was seriously insane – I lived in the living room of a middle aged woman’s apartment in Queens, with my bed separated from her part of the place by a curtain. The place was pretty disgusting, and absolutely infested with roaches. I couldn’t afford to move out because I didn’t have a first month, last month and security deposit saved up, not to mention the fact that I didn’t earn enough money to actually pay a legitimate NYC rent. I couldn’t cook or keep food in the apartment because of the roaches, so I had to subsist on take out which is pretty hard when you only have $400 a month spending money. I’d eat $1 slices of pizza, $1 dumplings, $1 empanadas, $1.50 breakfast sandwiches and $2 tacos. There’s a bar called Crocodile Lounge that gives you an entire free pizza with every drink, and at happy hour drinks are only $4. My coworkers and I regularly relied on that place for dinner. I never went to the gym, traveling was pretty much not in the budget and I think I slept around 10 hours a week.
Today, at the wise old age of 26, I feel fatigued just writing about it. And by the end of my time in New York, my life was a lot less crazy. I lived in a real apartment, I was spending most weeknights at the gym and most weekends you could find me on a plane heading elsewhere. I realized that while I loved the city, I wasn’t really experiencing it to its full potential anymore. So why exert the energy to live there? I honestly didn’t even like working in the fashion industry any more. It had lost its shine pretty quickly, and I was ready for a change.
In February a series of personal events led me to make a snap decision to move home to Boston. I literally got on a train one day, and never really went back. I mean yes, eventually I went back and got my stuff, but I decided in a day to leave New York City forever. Pretty terrifying, right?
While I’m not going to sing the praises of Boston from the rooftops (public transportation here is awful, and let’s not even talk about the bagels and pizza), I have to admit that my quality of life has improved drastically. My apartment, which is within walking distance of my new job, has a brand new kitchen, a dishwasher, a deck and on-site laundry. I don’t even want to know what that would have cost me in NYC. I’m able to afford to take classes at a boutique fitness studio every day. I can get reservations at restaurants I want to go to with relative ease, and, most importantly, I have not set foot in a pub club. Actually I tend to stick with my local neighborhood bars because that’s where all my friends are!
Grilling on my new deck
My new obsession: Lone Star Taco Bar in Allston and Cambridge
It’s not the Brooklyn Flea, but Boston has the SoWa Open Market every Sunday in the summer where you can shop for locally-made goods.
There are also plenty of food trucks at SoWa… like Roxy’s Grilled Cheese!
The famous Swan Boats
Walking in the Boston Public Gardens
The South End, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Boston. Can I live here please?!
For now I’m living in Southie (South Boston), where at least we have Loco Taqueria… their brunch, tacos and cocktails are so yummy!
The absolute best part of all this is that living in Boston is allowing me to travel a lot more. Here’s why:
So there you have it. While moving back to my hometown might sound like the most boring and safe choice I could have made, I’m happy about it. I’m excited to put more adventures on my calendar (coming up: Chicago, Colorado, Miami and ICELAND!). I’m excited to be five minutes away from my family and friends. And most of all I’m excited because it turns out that I have no idea what’s going to happen next. If you asked me ten years ago if I’d ever live in New York City, I would have laughed at such a crazy idea. If you asked me three years ago if I wanted to move back to Boston I would have rolled my eyes in disgust. Ask me where I’m going to be in five years from today? I’ve got no clue. And that’s pretty awesome!
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