2,399 days

2,399 days. That's how long we've been New Yorkers. Exactly 2,399 days. That's 1,004 more days than we spent in college. 1,151 more days than we've been married. We've spent almost a quarter of our lives, and some of our most important years in this city. The truth is, we grew up here. We became who we are today because of those 2,399 days. So now the question is, how do you say goodbye to a place where you've spent so much time, a place that has been so much more than a number of days gone by?

New York has been something of an identifier for me. My Twitter and Instagram name was "KatieinNYC" up until a few weeks ago. I liked that I could tell people we lived here. I felt it said a lot about us - that we work hard, that we have good small-space storage solutions, and that we are survivors (because, let's face it, living here is not always a walk in the park). I liked that I could recognize streets and places in movies and TV shows. I liked that there were songs written about New York and that people from all over the world came to visit. I liked the rich history and thinking about all the people who came here and succeeded long ago. I liked being able to call myself a New Yorker. 

But it was more than that. It wasn't all Meg Ryan movies and Frank Sinatra. New York allowed me to be me. Even more so, it allowed me to figure out who I was. Growing up I tended to go with the flow. If the cool kids liked it, so did I. By having the same opinion of my peers I was able to fit in. And fitting in is what it's all about in school. But then I came to New York and no one gave a damn about me. I say that as a compliment. No one looked twice at me to judge if my jeans were this season's or last or if the music I was listening to was old or new. Everyone here was too busy trying to get where they needed to be and worrying about their own lives to tell me my outfit/interests/personality was or was not "cool". There are so many different people here. I realized I didn't have be to be like everyone else, because I couldn't. It was when I experienced that freedom - that you could be whoever you wanted to be - that I fell hard for NYC. I felt like I was finally allowed to form my own opinions and craft my own personality. When you lose the nervousness of trying to fit in and learn to just do what makes you happy, you realize that who you are deep down is good enough for anyone, and more importantly, good enough for yourself. 

This isn't to say there aren't things I won't miss about New York. I won't miss how there's only one M train for every four F trains. I won't miss how when in a down pour the price of umbrellas doubles (and then the piece of crap turns inside out in 2 minutes flat). I won't miss the trash smell and sweaty backs in the summer or the frozen dog poop and cold toes in the winter. I won't miss the terrifying cab rides that leave me nauseous. I won't miss trying to arrange my errands based on proximity to the subway. 

But I will miss how much it feels like home. I'll miss the sweet doormen at our building who serve as our resident grandfathers. I'll miss our dog walking family who treats Lily even better than we do. I'll miss my team at work who will always be more than colleagues. I'll miss the friends we've made here. Friends who have gone through it all with us. Friends who are life-long and know us better than many people back home do. Friends who get me and love me and support me. Sure, I'm going to miss the city. But really, it's the people who I love in this city that I'll miss the most. 

There is really no way to say goodbye to a place and the people who have meant so much to Al and me over these 2,399 days. When I think about leaving I don't get one clear thought. I get floods of memories, from the ordinary to the extraordinary, of all the little moments we've had within this city. And for that I don't know how to properly say goodbye. I guess the only thing I can think of is THANK YOU. Thank  you New York. Thank you you for all of it. 

{photo by Tyler Wirken}

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