Friday, December 17, 2010

A New City, a New Leaf. Or Not.

One of the great things about moving to another city is that everything you have becomes new again.

That coat you've been wearing for the last three winters? No one here has seen it before. The funny story about how you got out of a speeding ticket? No one here has heard it before. Your go-to cookies for potlucks and parties? No one here has tasted them before.

Of course, all of this unfamiliarity can become exhausting as well. After all, when you're in a new city, it's just as true that no one knows your favorite drink, your greatest annoyance, or even your birthday.

In any case, Paul and I aren't new anymore. We've lived in Brooklyn a little more than three years; this is our fourth holiday season in New York. Everyone's seen my coat, heard my stories and tasted my cookies.

Moving to a new city -- much like going away to college -- is the opportune time to reinvent yourself. You're surrounded by people you don't know, who don't know you. But mostly I've found that I don't really want to change all that much.

I'm well aware that I'm far from perfect. I can think of half a dozen things off the top of my head that I could do (or stop doing) to make myself a better person. But in the fundamentals, I'm pretty OK with who I am.

Even though I haven't much changed on the inside, it's time for everything on the outside to change a bit. Those shirts that were three years old when we moved to New York are now three years old in New York time. Even now, several boxes sit wrapped beneath by parents' Christmas tree, filled with shirts, a purse, slippers -- items I chose with my mom during our annual holiday shopping expedition when I visited home in September. I haven't changed, and neither have my parents -- always too generous, always willing to overlook my flaws.

Perhaps it took moving 500 miles away to see myself and my family in a clearer light. Or maybe I'm just getting sappy as the holidays approach and another new year begins. Probably a little of both. Either way, I'm a lucky girl.

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