When I moved out of New York, I knew at the time that it was the best decision for my career and pocketbook. Only now have I come to realize how important leaving was for my sanity, as well. Not that I was afflicted with claustrophobia or exhaustion or any of the pseudo-ailments with which so many hypochondriac New Yorkers diagnose themselves. Rather, I’d deliberately forgotten that life outside New York is just as pure and valid as life inside New York, which is a hazard of the City just the same as street crime, and one that’s far more prevalent.
New York makes it easy to forget that there are millions of people with hundreds of interests—NASCAR, surfing, raising chickens, owning land—for whom a tiny constellation of concrete boroughs that are frozen for half the year is not adequate. New York makes it easy to forget that many Americans would probably find paying $950 for a 10-by-10 room overlooking garbage cans either unaffordable or unappealing, or both. New York makes it easy to forget that the vast majority of people in the world don’t read Gawker, The Awl, the Observer, the New Yorker or even the New York Times, and that that doesn’t necessarily make those people uninformed.
From Cord Jefferson’s piece, here.
This resonates with me, even though I’ve never lived in New York (and suspect, now, that I wouldn’t enjoy doing so; Portland does that to you, as does age). I feel like we left San Francisco for similar reasons, even if we didn’t know it at the time.