You know, it’s been five months since I officially became a New Yorker, but in the back of my mind I still fear that it’s only temporary and that I’m going to have to leave, that it’s all going to be taken away from me. I don’t know why this is.
One reason might be that I work in New Jersey. This isn’t really a problem, but it is a fact. Every day I take the PATH train to work, and I switch trains at the same stop in Jersey City where I used to get on when I still lived there. I live in one state, but I work in another. Not only that, but my employer is the state itself. So while I live in New York, New Jersey has pull over me.
A second reason might be that since long before Matt and I officially moved in together, I was unofficially living at his old place in the financial district. For at least a year, I was sleeping there, commuting to and from there every day, and keeping most of my clothes there. I’d visit my own apartment every few days, but those visits became less and less frequent, down to once every seven or eight days. So while I was unofficially living with Matt, I still had this phantom “other apartment” where most of my stuff was. Perhaps I got so used to having a phantom apartment that I still feel like I have one now, even though I distinctly remember moving all of my stuff out of there at the end of July, a month after I’d officially moved in to the new place and started using it as my official mailing address.
A corollary to that reason might be that my moving process was so gradual that I never really had a clean break between living situations.
Another reason might be that even though this is “our apartment,” I don’t quite have the same claim on it that Matt does. We live in this apartment because it comes with Matt’s job. Matt could unilaterally decide he wants a new job and we’d have to move; or Matt could break up with me (not that that’s gonna happen) and I’d have to move out. My living situation is kinda dependent on him. But maybe at some point we’ll rent a place together that will be equally both of ours.
The next reason also relates to Matt. For the foreseeable future, I want to stay in New York. But what if Matt decides at some point that he’s sick of New York? When you’re part of a couple, you have to think of concerns other than just your own. We’d have to reach some compromise.
Finally: for the several years that I was pining away over Manhattan from my Jersey City perch, I had these grand visions of what it would be like to finally be a Manhattanite. I’d be able to go out whenever I wanted. I could meet more people and have more dates. I could meet people in chat rooms more easily. I could bring people home more easily. Now, I much prefer the coupled life to the single life, but I’d always associated living in Manhattan with being single. Manhattan isn’t quite as exciting when you’re part of a couple. Instead of going out to a bar on a Monday or Tuesday night, I have dinner with Matt and we settle in for some TV. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with this – it’s just different from what my visions of Manhattan had been.
I’m 31, almost 32, and any potential for me to be a young single guy living in Manhattan is gone. I spent those years differently than I might have and they are unrepeatable. I’m always going to mourn that. Well, maybe not always, but I haven’t yet gotten over it: staying asexual and closeted until I was 24, staying in Charlottesville, VA for law school instead of moving to the big city after college, and then living in New Jersey for several years once I finally did move back up to the NYC area.
I think I need to acknowledge all of that as a kind of death. A death of years, a death of time, a death of opportunity. It totally sucks – it totally sucks that it’s all gone and that I screwed it up. Part of me keeps hoping that I can catch up on what I’ve lost, that I can make up for it somehow. But I can’t. I guess I’m still in the Bargaining stage.
I just realized that.