‘Cause I’ve seen blue skies
Through the tears in my eyes
And I realize I’m going home.
– “I’m Going Home“, by Richard O’Brien from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”
Several times, I’ve started this post and I keep stopping. Baltimore is something of an underdog city and I have enough of an instinctive sympathy for underdogs that I can’t help feeling almost guilty for hating it. To put it in the most neutral terms possible, I just haven’t been able to fit in here. Perhaps it’s my fault. New York is perhaps the last city to need one more booster, but there we go. I like New York.
Mensa having a preacher at their monthly meeting was certainly not the first time I felt alienated here, but it was the one that finally clinched it. It said to me, “No, you will never make friends here.” It’s been four years and there is probably no one here with whom I will keep in touch after I leave with the exception of my sister and brother-in-law. The cost of living is so much lower here than in New York City that I kept hoping that somehow I could make it work, by traveling more, by doing things that I was unable to do in New York like gardening, but it just wasn’t enough to make me happy. I suspect the isolation was making me a little bit nuts. It’s funny, because I’m introspective and just a touch introverted people think I should do well alone. It’s quite the opposite. Since I’m not especially gregarious I need many opportunities to make contact with other people in order to take advantage of the few occasions when I feel moved to reach out.
They say you take yourself with you wherever you go, but in my experience that just isn’t true. I’m not the same person in everyplace, or at least I don’t behave in the same way. Some people find New York too hectic. One friend left after 9/11 for that reason. I’m just the opposite. To me, everyone here in Baltimore looks like they are walking with the weight of the world on their shoulders. It makes me feel like everything is hopeless. Furthermore, the place is ugly. For better or worse, I’ve always felt very sensitive to my surroundings.
I know that the popular belief these days is that depression has a biological source, but I’ve always felt that living in Baltimore was a major contributing factor in my depression. I guess I’m going to put that to the test. Just the thought of moving back to New York has made me significantly more cheerful during the past week.
A few good things have come out of moving here. I feel closer to my sister than I have since we were teenagers. I had a chance to live in an architectural masterpiece. A former boyfriend from New York said that he heard that living in a place like this is not as enjoyable as it sounds. That is totally untrue. The building and the apartment are great. If I could bring it to New York with me I would. However, in New York I would never be able to afford it. I had a chance to learn programming and to learn more about plants.
People do choose to live in one place over another for a reason. Sometimes it’s a job or family, but many people go to New York for New York itself.
Well, I’m going to be pretty busy during the next couple of weeks. I have a new place to fix up and an old place to get ready to sell.
Get my sister Sandy
And my little brother Ray
Buy a big old wagon
Gonna haul us all away
Man, it’s hard just to live
Man, it’s hard just to live, just to live– from “Baltimore,” by Randy Newman
Have a good stay and enjoy yourself in NY
I don’t really believe in depression existing in a biological vacuum- at least not for most people. I’m highly sensitive to my environment. I spent some time going to school in the midwest and I hated it. I just didn’t connect with the mindset and the weather didn’t suit me either. On the other hand in very big cities I’m over-stimulated; so I’ve settled for something in between and that really works for me. It’s done wonders regarding my attitude to life and that impacts depression.
The depression can be there, but how we react to it is half the battle. In the wrong environment it can just snowball into something much worse. Surrounding ourselves with things/people/places we enjoy greatly improves our chances of dealing with life.
I wish you all the best with your move! Tell us all about it 🙂