Okay, here it is. I'm moving to New York City. I've been wanting to go live there for as long as I can remember, mainly in a series of on-again-off-again "NYC bugs" over time. I've never taken the leap because, well, it's freakin' nuts. But here's the situation today. It's still nuts but very suddenly I find myself with the opportunity, freedom, and, perhaps, even need, all bundled together at one time.
To accomplish this, I'm going to go by as much of the book as offered up by the Consumerist's Move to New York City Sane and Not Broke, as possible. The article, which I first found online during what I believe was the umpteenth occurrence of my
numerous NYC "bugs" early last year, offers a frank outline of what to do and what to expect once one more delusionally NYC-happy chump like me arrives there. For my purposes of transition, it will be considered the operational bible.
What makes this possible for me, or at least, convincingly possible - kinda like a mirage perhaps - is a major tenet of the article which is that it helps to have a friendly support system in place when you get there. Read, it helps a lot.
I didn't believe I had such a support system until earlier this year during my grandmother's funeral. At that time, I was re-acquainted with my grandmother's side of the family, friendly and wonderful folks I've ever only kept up with through stories and the like, usually from three people over and two right. Still, anyone within such natural proximity to my late grandmother has a heart of gold and can be trusted where I instinctively trust so few to an admitted fault just because they radiate from her love and direction. Oh, don't take me for corny, these are real people, but you would have had to known my grandmother to understand. These relatives have lived in New York City all their lives (my aunt actually has recollections of meeting my natural father there way back in the 60s; she's the only person that I know of besides my mom who does), and the idea I might shack up with them to start life in NYC had come up before when, I guess, it seemed like I needed direction or something, or perhaps I myself was openly flirting with the idea. Certainly my grandmother was all for it but things were going pretty good for me at the time and moving out of Florida wasn't a serious consideration.
And things are not bad now. They are, I suppose, god-awfully static. I took a gamble on becoming an autonomous private investigator and walked away from a great salary, great people, great benefits, and, a great job doing what I am passionate about doing on some daily basis, which is working with PCs and codin'. As has been long blogged, the PI thing didn't work out first time around, so I thrashed about to quickly restore a regular paycheck - quite necessary, since, in the middle of all this, I'm paying out on a bankruptcy. Somehow I found myself, by the grace of non-bridge-burnin', at my old college job monitoring burglar alarms, which fit the bill perfectly at the time. Thanks to that, six months ahead of schedule, I completely paid off my bankruptcy and have since really been free to do whatever I please. I've been staying put at the alarm monitoring gig mainly out of convenience, and, a loosely made promise to stick it out for 2 years. Turns out I'm not perfect and had to break that promise, though I am still committed through the end of August.
Which brings me here. In assessing the overall situation, I find myself with a little bit of money (thank you Simple Dollar!, for you have been the back bone of a financial revolution in my life!); gram-side relatives still holding out their couch to help; and, none of the real tie-downs many people my age have. You know, loving wives and adoring children. My three decades of working steadfastly to avoid any emotional development and maturity whatsoever are at long last paying off in reckless freedom. Yeah! Among all this, there's that damn persistent survived-beyond-the-Seinefeld-sitcom-years-and-9-1-1 "be a New Yorker", bug.
Folks, seriously now, why the hell not? Wouldn't you? The choice is to continue lopping along in this delapitated old house (sorry Jim, I meant, prestigious Historic Monument to Olde Tampa) waiting for the next IT break that may actually come, but, would only serve to leave me wondering "what if", if I got as comfortable as I have in the past. New York City is oozing with opportunities, and, a lifestyle potential I've in fact long promoted here in Tampa. I have the freedom, I have the opportunity, now.
Not All Perfectly Sensible
My situation is not ideal of course. When I say I have a little bit of money, I mean a little. Perhaps it is more appropriate to call my Simple Dollar revolution more of a minor coup in the way I've been spending and saving, but I did save some and some is about what I need to make a go of it.
I'm also 42. I mean, dude, normally the big city lights are best pursued by young scampers of the type I was when I blurted this idea out as a goofy wobbly high school student, but came to Florida instead. Kid that age doesn't mind curdling up one or two nights on the steps of some random fire escape, cuz, actually, it's kinda noble or romantic in some fictionalized sort of way. By contrast, if I'm at my aunt's house for more than a few months with no progress, it's going to look, well, pretty pathetic.
You think I wouldn't enjoy being one of the mole people?
I'm also doing a few things wrong in all this, I suppose, according to the Consumerist's article's don't move back plea, which is that I'm budgeting for an exit strategy (who am I after all, George Bush?), and, get this, I'm taking my car. The car will make it easier to transport a few necessities, and, it will be on hand to sell for money to pay apartment brokerage fees when that magic day arrives. But more than anything, really, it's a safety blanket. It's paid for and I haven't put 26,000 miles on the thing yet. If worst comes to worst, it can carry me back to Florida all bloodied and beaten, lest I hit the streets and wind up as one of many of New York City's mole people. No, the car normally wouldn't work out in New York City, but in the particular neighborhood where she'll be stowed, it's relatively safe and there's no one forcing you to move it around every couple of hours. If I can get it there in one piece, I can park it and forget it. Which I promptly will. Till I need apartment money I mean.
Let's be clear, at my age, I'm never going to enjoy the New York City night life the way a younger person might - and I'm not going to do that whole crazy writing of the Great American Novel/tortured artist thing. But, if I do make it at some job and survive, 20 years from now I can be that comfortable old guy who figured the city out two decades earlier, enjoyed doing so despite the hassle, and, who reaps all of the the city's classical virtues in that time - even if I'm simultaneously described as that weird crank living in the basement studio. What, you think I'm going to beat that future for me here? And come to think of it, what am I talking about, future?
For this angle, my own mother is my unlikely model. 42 seems kind of late for anything to "do", or to "happen", but I took note of my mom's life these past 20 years. In that time she kicked alchohol, picked up a paralegal degree at an actual college - not a 4 a.m. infomercial college; got married, learned to drive (she spent her would-be driving formative years in, of all places, New York City), became a widow, became a lottery winner, and, an amazing interior decorator and full-fledged cook all in the space of time I'm now just starting from. And, she did all this after relocating to Florida. It's really not crazy, and it's probably in the blood.
There's a lot to do. I mean, there is a lot to do. I have to begin liqudating stuff almost immediately, especially for a buck where I can, (I've reactivated Yard Bark folks!), pass an A+ Certification test for maximum opportunity renderin', check out my 'net connectivity options from my old laptop (aunt doesn't even have a computer!) using a Verizon broadband service I suspect; finding a good home for my two budgies, and, on and on and on and on.
I shouldn't stress too much because, knowing me, I won't do half this crap anyway. But, it all sounds good and sharp - like I know what the heck I'm doing, doesn't it?
Oh, as for timetable, I'm leaving in the early weeks of September.
There are people on my blog e-mail list who are doing, or have done, the whole NYC thing. I'll take any advice, any leads, any time, any forum. That's another Consumerist tip I'm taking. Tap everyone you know who's ever been or done, or is doing. So, you, don't be shy in commenting or e-mailing. I won't be looking anyone up for awhile - mainly I need to get there and believe I'm staying before I engage in the folley of actually calling anyone up to announce as much. And, in any event, the Consumerist sayz y'all ain't got time for another shmuck showing up to prove he can do the Big Apple. Good point.
Look for the Blog Coming Soon
And finally, tell me this isn't great blogging material. It is. Turns out there are little blogs here and there by other folks who've taken the NYC challenge, and these blogs do very well. Seems everyone loves watching people make it, or, crashing and burning. So, I'll start one. They have all different starting dispositions. Since most of them seem run by higher-functioning good-looking people who would probably make it anywhere they went (in fact, I couldn't find one by someone who actually did crash and burn), I think I'll cast mine as one about an overaged big-city idealist of marginal ability at best, trying to make it. The secret of building any audience is actually to focus on the potential for failure, which secretly fascinates people. Stay tuned for the domain.