A New York City cab driver once told me you can only consider yourself a New Yorker if you’ve lived in the city for seven years. I left in July, after 6 years and 11.5 months, for Philadelphia. Screw it -- I wasn't going to be confined to one place because of an arbitrary qualifier.
I moved to New York when I was 16. I spent my entire high school life not really having one, which was my motivation to work hard to get out of the tiny German town my family had relocated to. I wanted to make it to NYU. I wanted to be someone. I succeeded, and the move proved to be perhaps the most important of my life -- I grew up quickly. I became a journalist. I had a fast, exciting life. And then, suddenly, I didn’t really want it anymore.
It wasn’t that I felt rejected by the city, a sorrow I’ve seen in others that have been chewed up and spit out. Having grown up moving every three years, I began to feel stifled by the looming sense of complacency. I feared becoming the kind of writer who goes to NYC to become one and then stays there. Even for a place that has the tendency to change and turn itself over, remaining indefinitely seemed out of the question.