Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Okay, so there are two best possible worlds I am picturing right now.

In world 1, I live in the Valley. I move to a loft in a converted factory building, where I devote a healthy chunk of my vast living space to a messy studio. I bike to my new (but with same coworkers) job downtown when it's nice out. I have a bunch of friends I know and love, and we go out and do fun things together often. I feel safe. Town never changes much, but I find new things to do once in a while. I travel to NYC on weekends sometimes to see my family. I have a sculpture show during one of the open studio weekends at Eastworks, opening up my apartment to strangers; I am very charming and they are all complimentary. I meet other artists in the building and we commiserate. I decide to make a large number of items to sell at the nicer craft shows in the area. In the winter I go sledding or cross-country skiing, in the spring I hike, in the summer I swim in the river.

In world 2, I move to NYC. I get a small but adequate apartment in Brooklyn, really about the same size as the one I live in now. I am a subway stop away from my sister, and a short ride to work in Manhattan. My new job is sort of what I do already, just moreso. I make more money so I can afford the apartment. I work a couple of blocks from Union Square park, and a couple of blocks more to where my brother-in-law works, and we have lunch together once in a while. In my free time, I take advantage of the many many various weird activities I can do, though I often do them alone. I reconnect with some acquaintences and meet some friends of friends. It's more stressful, but exciting. In a year or two I find a job I'm actually excited about. I can visit the Valley whenever I want, though owning a car is a bit of a hassle.

So there it is. Either way I clearly feel I can do better than my current apartment. World 1 is safe and potentially boring, but pretty, and will allow me more time for making art. World 2 is more exciting but uglier, and has the potential to make me immobilized with anxiety. The dating pool in world 2 is vast; the one in world 1, not so much. World 1 is secure and homey; world 2 is a clean slate. This is my heavy decision. I have to make it by Thursday morning.



Anonymous said...

Where's your peace? Is there peace in either option? Do you need another option?

You've spoken often in your blog of a desire to get your art on in a more serious fashion. You haven't so much (that I've noticed) pined for a more metropolitan life. Of course, you have lamented being so far away from your fam. You've got a lot to weigh here, and both options contain risk.

If I were you (and I'm decidedly not), I'd go with the art studio and stay in the Valley, and then reconsider NYC in a year. New York isn't going anywhere. And you can go there anytime. In fact, perhaps creating a regular NYC/fam-visit schedule for the year could be just the thing to help you decide for positively sure. Fact: It's not a race.

And dating pool, schmating pool. People who are supposed to meet and find each other will meet and find each other no matter what. It's proven again and again on the television, and also all around us with all the people who have found their one-and-onlies. Again, there are no races here.

I hope you are able to find your peace and follow it. It's so hard sometimes during important decisions to know the difference between knowing it's a peace you're feeling, or wondering if it's just the comfort of things not changing much that mimics the feelings of peace. It's hard to know. I'm thinking of the old Serenity Prayer now, and about praying for the wisdom to know the difference. That wisdom-to-know-the-difference is a tricky bastard.

Here's one thing you can know, however: You are surrounded by people (friends and strangers alike) who love and care about you (or at least like you a whole lot) who will support you in any decision you make. It's an undeniable fact.

Good luck, lady. You're in my thoughts.

-Jennifer Myszkowski

Anonymous said...

I don't know you, but from your blog you often don't seem
*that* happy in the Valley. It sounds like a cool place but ask yourself if you are ready to move on.

Anonymous said...

This reminds of the situation that musician Dar Williams found herself in several years ago. It’s like at some point she outgrew the Valley and wanted to get near the NYC vibe. But not too close. So she left for the suburbs of New York. Ultimately, she found the love of her life and ended up in the city after all.

Since then she says the move was exactly what she needed, replacing the diversity of nature with a diversity of people.

That all being said, you aren’t her. And what worked for her may be the exact wrong thing for you.

Ask yourself what you want most. If art is the top of the list, then consider which environment would facilitate your process. If space and peace give you the tranquility to produce, then maybe stay. If the bustle of the city is the kick in the pants you need, then maybe go.

Use that same process with dating. Will the small pond effect of the Valley be too limiting? Will New York be too overwhelming?

Knowing what you need and want could lead you through just as much as realizing what you don’t want. And as Jennifer said, you don’t need to rush to decide. You could sign a short term lease with the current apartment, or test drive the large apartment.

Good luck and thanks for the great blogging over the years.


Anonymous said...

If you want it, you can have it. If you don't want it, you can't have it.

That said, you're too young to retire to Northampton. Why not take a taste of the loud life before resigning yourself to the quiet?

av said...

It's your decision and only you know the right decision for you. By the way, congrats on the job offer! You kick ass. I understand it's a great opportunity, and it won't be offered to you, exactly as it is, in a year. There is no guarantee you'll have such an easy way to make such a big change (i.e. a job handed to you on a plate). I think it came to you at this time for a reason and if you don't leave Noho and end up staying there the rest of your life you will always regret passing up this opportunity. Take a huge risk. It might be the most fantastic thing you ever do. My opinion is that you are selling yourself short staying in your tiny, comfortable, claustrophobic, beautiful community. Notice how nice it looks now. If NoHo was going to give you a kick in the pants to make art it would have done it by now. You can make art wherever you are, if you want to. If you can't rent a giant room to work in in NYC, share one with an artist coop and meet some people who inspire you to make art. Life isn't about sitting around sipping a hot cup of coffee breathing the fresh country air and knowing you'll never leave town again. It's about getting your ass out there and seeing what you can do with your talents and desires, even the ones you don't know about yet. This life is our chance to live and shine and I think you should see what a gift this opportunity is, and take it, even though you're scared. You know what? NORTHAMPTON will be there for you in a year. But this easy job offer won't. I see it as a sign. You've been talking about moving for years. It's because you want to do it. Think about how you'd feel turning it down. Think about the rush of taking a risk. The amazing thing is, you can handle it. The universe doesn't bring you things you aren't ready for. You weren't ready before, but you are now. Take the leap. As Deepak Chopra once said, (I'm fond of this quote and probably shared it before, and ignore the source!):

Step into the unknown, and you step into the field of all possibilities.

But of course, it's up to you.