At Least We’ll Leave Before We Have To Go

Me & Abbi On The Roof“New York is all about what could be,” says David Cloyd, a 34-year-old musician who moved to the city from Austin ten years ago. “You know: The potential. The possibilities.”

New York Magazine is the source of Mr. Cloyd’s quote, at least partially responsible for my sense of urban, upwardly-mobile aspiration. The Intelligencer’s cocktail party talking points, “Party Lines'” glossy pics of soirees I’ll never attend, and the pages-upon-pages of million-dollar, high-rise, smoked-glass condos I’ll never be able to afford.

It’s the degrees of separation that make everything so tantalizing. One might share a venue with Ingrid Michaelson, or meet Jared Kushner at a party. Plum Sykes could be a friend-of-a-friend.

Moreover, the next rung is always just brushing the edge of one’s fingertips.

Reluctantly admitted example: I said to Abbi just this Saturday as we ran down Park Avenue, “If I could just get to SVP, I’d get to fly business class.”

Periodically, though, that same addled pusher of aspiration that once foisted its champagne dreams and caviar nights on me makes good with the flipside, as it did with a recent article, “Where the Urban Dream Life Is Going Cheap,” in which the relative merits of Buffalo, New York (or Anytown, USA), are explored in opposition to New York City’s oppressively limitless opportunity

[Cloyd is] echoing, of course, the aspirational mantra that’s lured a million hopeful dreamers to New York before him. And in exchange for this promise of limitless possibility, this tantalizing what-could-be, New York requires of these dreamers that they pursue two simultaneous lives: the romantic, invigorating, spectacular life you imagine for yourself, and the expensive, often dispiriting, intermittently grueling day-to-day life you have to lead in order to keep that dream life alive. This is exhilarating. This is exhausting. This is what New York is all about.

Even within the narrow category of work (ok, it’s a pretty wide category), I find myself saying it all the time, “There’s so much opportunity here!”

And there is. I’m constantly unsatisfied with what I’ve accomplished, and looking ahead towards what could be.

But when does reaching towards that limitless void of possibility approach diminishing returns? When do the parties to which I’m not invited, restaurants at which I don’t dine, and museums I don’t frequent lose their allure?

As Abbi and I look towards what’s next, these questions and more are the subtext of every conversation.

Only time will tell…

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