“The City is Everything” – Joan Holloway, Mad Men Season 1, Episode 10 “Long Weekend”
I wrote most of this on Thursday night. It’s more reflective and personal than anything else I’ve ever posted here and the only thing I’m fangirling over is the city that I love. Please indulge me in this.
I watched this episode of Mad Men today as I rode the train home after work. I smiled, so happy to hear that line. I love thinking that, because I agree so whole heartedly with the statement. To me the city is everything. I love New York more than any place in the world.
A few months ago Chrissy and I were having one of those awesome late night talks that you can only have with your closest friends after midnight and a few drinks. We were talking very seriously about our lives so far and the lives that we wanted to build for ourselves in the next few years. At that point I didn’t know where my life was headed, I’m still not positive, but I was and am sure of one thing, the city will play a huge role in it.
The times in my life when I’ve felt wholely myself and at peace were when the city was an integral part of my life. My summer internship at a department store when I was twenty. I didn’t love the job, but I loved sitting out in Greeley Square and reading Twilight and Gossip Girl. I read The Sun Also Rises and The Bell Jar too that summer but for some reason they didn’t leave quite the same impression. Then about a year and a half later, when I took a semester off from school and worked customer service for an eCommerce site. Then living and working in Brooklyn. Now at my current job, saving to move back in to the city. I never want to be anywhere else.
I know that there are people who don’t like the city. I understand, at least logically how this can be. New York is loud and crowded and moves at a strange hurry up and wait kind of pace. It smells a little funky and everything is really expensive. But I love it. I feel like in that crowd there’s so much room to be yourself, but not in a free form hippy “We are each of us a special snowflake” kind of way. More like, in a very Woody Allen, perfect, “there are so many people here, at least one of them must be like me,” kind of way. I like who I am in the city.
But then there are nights like tonight. Nights when I get off of the train in the rain and I see the street lights reflecting off of puddles on the main street in my hometown, and I realize how amazing the little place I grew up in is. I read a comment that the guy who owns our local Bar and Grill left on my mom’s facebook thanking her for all of the hard work she does at our church. And I love it here too. Often times when people ask me about living in a tiny town like this one, I simply say, “It was a great place to grow up.” And it really was.
My childhood was marked by playing outside well past dark with my brother and sister, swimming in my friend’s pools, snow days, rec sports (that I was terrible at) and walking to school every day. I still see many of the people I grew up with on a regular basis, because they’re all living at home and we only have one bar in town. (Same one who’s owner likes my mom so much.)
I’d miss this place so much if I went elsewhere. I missed it so much in college that I came home almost every weekend. But I’ve out grown it, at least for the time being. I’m ready to be in my city every night again.
And I’ll get there soon. I know it. It’s just a matter of hanging on long enough.