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mixed reviews

2024.02.01

Okay. We made it through January. If I had to give my opinion on the past month, it kind of flopped.

Not that it was necessarily terrible. I got a lot of the things I needed to do done! Some of them were really hard! I finally scheduled a dentist appointment, I started attending a weekly social discussion group, I have been to the gym 3 times this week already, which is more than I have done in months. But I don't feel that good about it.

Last year, I had said I wanted to run my first ultramarathon in April. Around August was when the idea really crystallized. I was running up to 20 miles at that point, so doing 30 didn't seem like much of a stretch. However, after I got home from Japan in September, things have not been that easy. I have barely tapped out at a half marathon since that point, there is realistically no way I'll be doing an ultra in 3 months. Oh well.

Something about coming back to the US, NYC specifically, at that point in September, kind of crushed my soul. I know now more than ever I don't belong in NYC. I don't think I can really be happy as long as I live here. This was further reinforced by my trip home to California in December, it's not perfect, but for that short week I felt like I was starting to thrive again.

That doesn't mean I'm planning to leave just yet though. Even though I'm not happy, I'm not suffering miserably either I guess. Things are fine. My job is good, I make a good salary, I am lucky to live in a great little apartment all by myself. Compared to people I know with similar jobs to me, I have an absolute bounty of free time to myself outside of work.

The problem is, there are not that many things I want to do here in my free time, so I just resort to spending time online. My most favorite hobbies-running on the trails, hiking, gardening and tending to plants, tbh most everything outdoors, is not that feasible here. I try to make it work, but it's hard not to notice how the NYC version of these activities is a cruel and shitty facimilie of the real version.

Even generic seeming things like eating at a restaurant are worse here. It's too competitive to get a seat or reservation, it's crowded as hell, and seeing the prices for what ends up generally being mediocre food pretty much ruins the experience for me. I have kind of stopped eating out, because the pros barely eke out an edge above the cons.

Then, the other more generic activity I like, hanging out with friends. Tbh it may as well be against the laws of physics. Back home, my favorite times with friends were where we didn't do much of anything at all. Run errands, pick up groceries, fold laundry, pull weeds. Drive up the hill to look at the view from the top, and then go back. Nobdody was trying to impress each other in the way people do here. Maybe it's that everyone in NYC is so busy that they want to get the absolute most out of their socializing time, so they go all out. I don't know. But everything is way too much for me. The bar/club is my personal hell, and I described my issue with restaurants, so it's really hard to hang out with people. I don't know if I'm just missing something, maybe this is part of growing up, but I really miss the more low-key and casual vibe of my old friends.

So it's hard. Most of the time now, I'm biding my time. My hours on the stair machine at the gym, staring at a blank wall, are a cruel facsimilie of how I used to run the trails. My home cooking, eaten alone, is a cruel facimilie of the food I used to eat at random tiny taquerieas and strip mall family-run chinese places (which may as well have 4 michelin stars compared to most restaurants here). Times I would have spent with friends at home going on walks and doing laundry is now time spent alone, listening to an audiobook or youtube for company.

I think you can see my problem. I just don't think I was meant to be here long term. I'm still making it work though, for now. Show up to work, show up to the gym, save money, try to keep in touch with old friends, for the time when I will finally be able to be free. I'm pretty sure I will be here next January, but after that I'm not sure. I hope, at the very least, I will be somewhere that I can go outside and see the sun.