A few weeks ago, a 19 year old girl showed up to collect an old, cracked coffee table I was selling, to paint new life into. Her city experience was only a few months young, and I could see her dreams painted in vibrant color around her being; all the things she would do.
This city, to her, is nothing but opportunity to explore–it, her self, her craft. As I listened to her ramble on in excitement about the infinite possibilities of her time here, there was a palpable difference between the newness of city life in your early 20’s and the weight & wear of 10+ years of city life into your 30’s and beyond (…to grossly generalize my own experience; I know plenty of people who have lived happily in NYC for decades.)
As my partner and I complete our move to upstate New York full time, she was my unknowing, very avid, replacement.
She represents the youth, bright eyes, fresh face, and new energy this city needs. She is the painted new life transplanted inhabitants bring to this city to replace those who take their final bow every 7+ years.
In that moment, I felt so full of gratitude for having once been her, but also to be able to step out of the cattle herd–dawning a belt of success for having “made it here”–in complete humility. Time to pass the torch on to the next generation of young creatives choc-full of the energy and determination I no longer have for this place or this lifestyle.
It’s finally time to move on from this city 11 year old me knew would be home; a city that was my happy place when I wanted to feel alive and dance my cares away; a city that has witnessed, to date, my saddest and darkest days; a city that holds a special place in my heart; a city I know I’ll always be welcomed back to.
It’s finally time because I’m writing this farewell with different hopes, dreams, and aspirations than I had 10 years ago.
I’m settling into my new home and new community, bringing with me the lessons I learned from my quest for self and “go! do!” attitude over the last decade as I trade rats for deer, the sound of bustling city life for the sound of rushing water out my window, the Manhattan skyline and bright lights of the city-that-never-sleeps for the quiet nights of a tree-lined, star-filled sky.
I think no matter where someone moves, there’s potential to paint new life.
There’s opportunity to bring fresh energy, and infuse the excitement of newness and hope into the sleepiest towns or busiest cities alike. So where the girl picking up the coffee table has that for the fast pace of city life, I now have it for the slower pace of a country farm life.
To New York City: thank you for giving me the playground to do, giving me lesson after lesson of tough love and lucky breaks to help me find my alignment, my True North.
To this land on North Branch Road: I’m looking forward to communing with you, to give back in the form of planting new foliage and sharing of myself and knowledge in a way I never have, but you make possible, to enjoying the space and nature you offer to slow down, find stillness, reconnect, and just be.
With Love and Gratitude and some fresh paint,
Photo Credit: Roselyn Tirado