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For a long time I've had this nagging feeling that leaving New York will mean I failed somehow, failed some meaningful, important test. That because I waited so long and worked so hard to get here, moving back to Chicago will be an admission that I wasn't smart or strong enough to succeed. Then yesterday I read this:

New York can be a crutch. Yes, your music career is stalled. Yes, your art remains unknown. Yeah, you’ve yet to be published or your startup is only hype. But you live in New York, and that makes you better than the people who don’t (or so you reassure yourself). Where you live is not an accomplishment.

That seemed profound, although it probably isn't (I'm a very shallow thinker). But it's true for me. I thought being here would be enough—that the act of living here would be a self-fulfilling achievement, and would mean I had done something—and that I wouldn't have to work anymore to figure out what I want from my own life. What I wanted was to live in New York! It's big, it's glamorous, it's loud and cool and hard. Only that isn't enough anymore. I've reached the point where it makes me lonely and sad, where it has crippled my desire to create anything, and my only real failure is letting myself pretend otherwise. But that's the one thing I can fix, so now I'm planning and tossing and counting the days until I can go.

Kari Gpersonal8 Comments