Like a moth to a flame, we can't help but read every single essay a young woman writes about her departure from New York City. It's shocking, isn't it, that anyone even feels the need to publish such an essay when we already have Joan Didion's "Goodbye To All That"?
If you are leaving New York City, all you have to do is Tweet your favorite lines from Didion's piece, maybe paste a longer passage on Facebook... or maybe just vanish, wordless, into the night of your new city, where you can read Didion's essay and let it warm you like a blanket. You made the right choice, for you. And it's okay if no one ever reads about what led you there on NYMag's style vertical The Cut, where all True Emotions land.
In the latest zombie version of Didion's classic piece, we meet Ann Friedman, who moved to Los Angeles from New York City like no one else before her has ever done. Friedman writes:
"Right after college graduation, I moved from Missouri to join my college boyfriend... 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. 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.
[Yadda Yadda Yadda DIDION]
The Joan Didion essay is a parting note to a city she loved recklessly at age 23. 'I do not mean love in any colloquial way,' she wrote. 'I mean that I was in love with the city, the way you love the first person who ever touches you and you never love anyone quite that way again.' This is the anthropomorphized way I love California."
We're glad Friedman finally found her city to live in, but we can't help but wonder if she came to New York with the right intention. It seems like her life in New York was doomed from the start, by her own predilections. Should we Ask A Native New Yorker if 15 months is long enough to even let New York City break you appropriately?