Lately, I find myself intangibly frustrated. I believe that people are generally doing their best on a daily basis, but in recent weeks, I haven’t been that charitable. I get cranky at people for standing next to me on a crowded subway car. I find myself unable to stop hate glares from shooting out of my eyes when four tourists in a row walk together, completely blocking the sidewalk for people who have time-sensitive destinations. I’m swearing more which only makes me more cantankerous.
When I confide this frustration to loved ones, they often suggest New York itself is the problem. I used to take violent offense to this; I love this city. But lately, I do wonder if the crowds and constant looming threat of poverty are getting to me.
A voice teacher once told me that all long-term relationships ebb and flow throughout the years. There are times when you love ardently and times when you love indifferently, like a Kardashian and her hired basketball husband (exception: Kloe and Lamar). I experienced this last year with theatre after a second surgery threatened the voice I treasure and no handsome prince fell in love with me during my silence.
I think a lot of times, the ebb of passion for something I love is for self-protection. Big disappointments do not get easier with age; they are more overwhelming without the fearlessness of being a new adult. I worry that New York will never yield the life I crave and that I’ll never find career stability in a creative field. I worry I’ll be one of those bitter women dressed in way too young clothes who never had a life or a family because she was holding out for some impossible dream that long ago turned to dust. My mom and I had brunch next to a couple of these women not too long ago and I felt like Scrooge on his last ghost, if Scrooge had been drinking mimosas with his langoustine tail burrito (there’s romantic comedy gold in there somewhere).
I had the opportunity to leave New York for a really great teaching job in a city I love near people I adore. I hemmed and hawed; by the time I was ready to put myself out there the position was filled. Though disappointed, I was relieved. I am not ready to leave. I’m frustrated with my life in this moment, but a new setting might not make those frustrations disappear. Running towards something is better than running away, always wear sunscreen, etc.
Yesterday, it was eighty degrees and sunny as I strolled through Central Park after work. I couldn’t believe I’d ever felt bitter about New York. After Trader Joe’s and a rush-hour subway ride home, I believed again. For every Theatre in the Park there’s a Rat in your Garbage. This is the city.