WOMEN

Why I'm Glad I Quit New York At Age 24

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 04: The sun sets over the New York city skyline during a women's singles quarter final match between
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 04: The sun sets over the New York city skyline during a women's singles quarter final match between Victoria Azarenka of Belarus and Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia on Day Ten of the 2013 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 4, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images for the USTA)

On Saturday night, I found myself in a karaoke bar at 3:45 a.m., participating in a raucous group rendition of "New York, New York." This, you may be surprised to learn, represented a certain amount of personal growth. Even though some of my best friends in the world live here and it's the epicenter of my professional universe, "not really liking New York" has long been part of who I am. I've always had fun when I visit, but I've found the most professional success and personal happiness outside of New York. My take, since about age 25, has been, "Why would I want to make it there when I can make it everywhere else?"

A new book called Goodbye to All That, out next month, chronicles 28 writers' experiences with loving and, eventually, breaking up with the city. I spent the worst year of my life in New York. Right after college graduation, I moved from Missouri to join my college boyfriend, who had landed my dream job. I ended up here not because I had something to prove, but because I couldn't think of where else to go. No job, dreamy or otherwise. No inclination toward any particular city other than "not my hometown." When I decamped for the West Coast fifteen months later, I didn't feel failure or regret but relief. For me, New York is that guy I went out with only briefly and then successfully transitioned into friendship. We were always meant to be platonic. But in the years since I've moved away, I've learned that "I'm kind of meh on New York" is not a generally accepted point of view. It rivals "I've never seen The Goonies" for most controversial fact about me.

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