I grew up both loving and fearing New York City.
As a child of the 80s, I became aware of the city in the pre-Guiliani era. Times Square was to be avoided though for entirely different reasons than it is today. Central Park was a haven for muggers. Subways, if used at all, were used with trepidation even by born and bred New Yorkers. It's also worth noting, I was an irrationally paranoid child.
However, New York was also the city of ballet and Broadway and I had memorized the entire score of A Chorus Line before my fourth birthday. Also worth mentioning, my favorite character in The Baby-Sitters Club was the sophisticated Stacey McGill who hailed from the Upper West Side.
By the time I was ten, crime rates in the city fell dramatically and I became interested in the Beats and counter-culture movement of the 60s. I was determined to live in Greenwich Village and NYU was going to be my ticket there. Unfortunately when it came time to apply to university, NYU and I had different ideas on which of their colleges I should attend and how much I should pay. Instead, I took my lefty-leanings to DC and studied International Affairs at GWU. In the meantime I visited the city almost monthly and absorbed the culture and differences between neighborhoods. I vowed to return permanently after college for grad school.
But then I realized, I didn't really know what I wanted to do. While many people go to NYC to find themselves, I really wasn't comfortable being one of many wandering waifs in Williamsburg -- before it was cool, natch.
So there was Philly, some traveling, a boy, a move way out west to Seattle and another boy. Needless to say, Seattle and I were never besties but I had great friends and a job I loved in 2009 when there weren't many jobs. So I stayed and plotted my move back. New York was the goal but an opportunity in Philly arrived just in time for Christmas 2011. Thankfully it did, because almost immediately after I returned it became important for me to be near family. The world works in mysterious ways.
I was comfortable in Philly. Friends who knew me in Seattle said I seemed so much more relaxed despite the things I had on my plate. Life was...comfortable. Then a friend in New York needed help building a website which quickly became more than a website. It became a business. And suddenly there were more opportunities to work, and write, and even appear on TV. I quickly became intimate with Philly-->NYC transit options...and well...also a boy, but that's all I'll say about that here :-)
For almost a year I shuttled between what I called Work 1 and Work 2 with additional projects occasionally earning the title of Work 3 and Work 4. Despite my geography, my second life was quickly becoming the life that fit better and I needed to commit to it.
Finally, after 20 some years of bobbing and weaving, I'm proud to say I'm a New Yorker...