On aimlessness and anxiety

i’m having a tough time in NYC. i’m a receptionist at an ad agency, and though i keep sending myself reminders to do stuff, i let items slip through the cracks and have to implement last-minute measures. i get profoundly uncomfortable talking on the phone where others can hear me (i get strangely neurotic when people in meatspace are within hearing range). i feel like i hit a wall every time i try to take on large projects, and i have difficulty keeping myself organized and my shit together.

it doesn’t help that i’ve been dealing with a yearlong shitty roommate situation and a series of emergencies that’s made money tight, both of which have distracted me. But still, i need to do a good job, and i want to do a good job. How can i kick my own ass? i’m sure everyone who’s been in the workforce for more than three years has faced this. Any thoughts on how to just stick through it?

i’m also trying to look for other jobs, decide what field i’d like to be in, see if i even want to stay in NYC. i’m finding it difficult to even be in my own space, enjoy watching TV or reading, or even sit down long enough to look for prospects, because i have so much anxiety about everything.

i don’t know if grad school is right for me. i’d have to be very certain on the field and the job prospects it could bring to go to grad school. i’m thinking of an MBA, but a brief look at Columbia’s MBA page kind of disgusts me.

basically, i would like to live a comfortable life that doesn’t regularly demand fourteen-hour days, stop being so anxious about everything, learn how to make better use of my time, and do good work. i am trying to see a therapist too, but you always have good stuff to say. So lay it on me, even if it’s nothing but harsh truths.


You’re radiating a special frequency of generalized anxiety that’s unique to twenty-somethings living in New York. It’s the city itself that’s causing it. Most of you end up self-medicating with casual sex and benzodiazepines, but those are short-term solutions to a long-term problem. Grad school is a short-term solution too, but it’ll cost you a hundred thousand dollars to confirm the fact that you still don’t know what you wanna be when you grow up.

Basically what I’m saying is that maybe New York isn’t the right place for you. There’s no shame in admitting it.

I don’t know where you’re from or what you’re about, but if you want a comfortable life, you’re never gonna be happy in New York. That city doesn’t do comfortable. Ever. That’s kinda the whole point. It’s just eight million people agreeing to be uncomfortable with each other for the privilege of living in New York. Some people thrive. Some people wither. Most people just keep their heads down and survive.

If you’re a receptionist at an ad agency that means you’re a conventionally attractive white girl with a liberal arts degree and a boilerplate resume that’s slightly above entry level. That’s a pretty decent place to be. You’ve got all kinds of options. Maybe you should start looking elsewhere, both spiritually and physically.

Broaden the scope of your search for purpose. The world is large, but the bite you take out of it doesn’t have to be. Think big, but be open to smaller opportunities. Look everywhere from Portland to Paris. Find your hustle. Find your place. Find your people, and find them quickly. You’ve only got a few more years before this kind of aimlessness and anxiety petrifies into stagnation and regret.


61 thoughts on “On aimlessness and anxiety

    • The Coquette says:

      I’m pretty sure that was the first “first comment” comment. So yeah. Congratulations on that, I guess.

  1. JustThisGirl says:

    I would like to reiterate that there is absolutely *no shame* if NYC isn’t your kind of place. I got all sorts of shit from my friends when I left. Some of it was loud: “you’ll never be happy anywhere else.” Some of it was passive aggressive: “Well, you know, some people just can’t deal with it.” And some people just stopped talking to me altogether because NY was the only place they were interested in being and knowing.
    But let me tell you: I know that NYC well. I know it by heart. And I still love every bit of it. But I am SO. MUCH. HAPPIER. living anywhere else. I found a career that makes me happy and pays enough for me to live comfortably in a smaller city. I have friends who don’t care about money. I *don’t* have a roommate. (Or a live in SO)
    Listen, if you happen to find something that affords you a comfortable life in NYC, and you decide you like that nervous energy the city offers, that’s cool too. I have friends who wither when they’re not there. But decide for yourself. Know it’s all good.
    Also, it can just be a temporary solution, whatever you decide. Try it for a few years then reassess.

  2. Kristen May Lee says:

    As I sit here nearing 40 in a small NYC apt that I neither own or rent,but live with a truly beautiful man,this is not the place in life I thought I’d be in my young twenties. This advice is spot on. The trick is to learn how to ignore all the noise or find peace of mind so you can comfortably exist in it without being too hard on yourself. I still haven’t mastered it. As time goes by you grow to learn this messed up ever changing city is not where all the fantastic opportunities exist. Wow Coke, I’m sort of relieved to learn about the weird twenty something epidemic of medicating in select ways is truly unique as you grow here, it’s somewhat relieving to have that pointed out after all this time. Did Paris already, I think LA is calling me.

  3. Mango says:

    Fuck. New. York.

    Seriously. I was so in love with that city, but Coke’s advice is spot on. Some people thrive, some whither, most just try not to drown. I still love it in many ways, but I had to accept that we were not a good fit, especially not with my own crazy roommates. I moved to the opposite coast and the sun and redwoods and beach are my life. I ditched the roomies for a small, modest apartment and a small, modest paying job, and my anxiety has all but vanished (as much as it can for someone with anxiety disorder, in treatment).

    I love New York. But listen to your heart, look at your circumstances, and fuck that place.

    • Xue says:

      Oy. I have generalized anxiety and recently visited New York, a city I’d idealized all my life. I didn’t like it. I couldn’t live there. It just feels like everyone is struggling.

      Alternatively, I’d visited the west coast last year (Portland and Seattle) and I loved it to bits, for its surrounding scenery and quieter vibe. I currently live “where people vacation”. Fine, everyone else can have it.

  4. KG says:

    I am not even really sure its a general sense of anxiety linked to being in New York. In the city I live, pretty much most of the people I know have a sense of anxiety about what they’re doing with their lives, even those who are objectively “high achiever” types.

    OP shouldn’t put so much pressure on herself, pretty much everyone is in the same boat. Perhaps also find a new job, I had to occasionally cover reception at an old job, and it always made me feel anxious as an introvert. Have you considered perhaps working as a disability carer? I enjoyed it much more than working in customer service type roles.

  5. katie says:

    This is amazing. I’ve been going to school in the city and am graduating in May, and after going home to CA for a visit this summer I realized how much I no longer wanted to be here. It’s crazy to think about because 17 year old high school me was so in love with nyc that I imagined growing old here.
    Now it just makes me hate everyone and get so anxious that I accomplish nothing (if I didn’t know better I could argue that I was the one who sent this in to Coke).
    I’m planning a move to Denver post-grad, and I’m so stoked. A surprising amount of people I tell that to actually aren’t shocked though. A lot of responses lately have actually been something like, “Yeah I don’t blame you. I’m really getting tired of it here too, Colorado sounds amazing.”

    Maybe its a generational shift of the 20 somethings that want more out of their lives than being perpetually broke/exhausted/anxious/etc. (maybe in response to the general anxiety she’s talking about). I think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and see it as us trying to achieve more of the self-actualization level via jobs/cities/hobbies we find fulfilling rather than just ones that make us money. I don’t know though -its like 1am.

    Maybe its just my west coast roots taking over and reminding me that I’m so much more chill than NYC will allow me to be, ha!

  6. Daniel says:

    I come from Iceland where it’s quite easy going and chill but I moved to Stockholm couple of years ago and now I feel more anxious, tense, irritated and this is Stockholm we’re talking about.. Not like it’s NYC so I can’t imagen the kind of press you must have living there.. Move to Iceland! 😉

  7. Daniel says:

    You really should.. Nothing that compares! Hit me up with a email if you ever book and I’ll send you all the do’s and don’ts!

  8. Vera says:

    I think it’s cool to ditch NY. I did it two years ago, not because of this stress you feel, but because I felt like I could get sucked in to this shitty “lifestyle” I didn’t want. Some of the people I met in NY were wicked cool (actually, many of them have also moved) but a lot of them were very close-minded, New-York-is-the-best types. Living well beyond their means with huge college debts. I got tired of “what do you do?” and the tacit competition about who was more impressive, be it about art, hobbies, jobs, vacations, friends, whatever. Not to mention that you’re basically forced to be a gentrifier there, so you can feel shitty about that too. Work isn’t your life, and it’s not necessary to make it the central part of your identity. Get out and move to a place that reminds you that’s how it is. And definitely how it should be.

    • J Lynn says:

      Boilerplate” text means neutral, interchangeable text that can be reused in different documents. Commonly, it would be some standard explanation or background sentences that would be dropped into a news story to briefly define something like “superdelegates” or “Camp David Accords.” Or standard legal language that gets dropped into a contract.

      In this case, it suggests that LW has a respectable resume (good school, a job or two, a nice sounding internship) but nothing rare or distinctive for her (or his) class in NYC.

    • Kimberly says:

      Boilerplate in this sense is something that can be reused without changing. So Coke’s saying the resume is generic with nothing to differentiate it from other applications.

    • The Coquette says:

      The term boilerplate refers to any standardized document or text that can be used repeatedly for different occasions. A boilerplate resume can be sent around to a lot of different places without much alteration.

  9. Lin says:

    I don’t know if a ticking clock would’ve helped me in this kind of early twenties aimlessness.

    But then again, I petrified into stagnation and regret anyways, so who knows. Maybe it would have.

    (Also, as a quick edited aside, I’m beyond envious of all the people in the comments who were able to up and move countries so easily).

  10. Ali* says:

    Auckland. New Zealand is one of the few places that have working holiday visas for Americans, and the visa is free. Its so easy I’m not kidding that I accidentally applied and was approved. That was 5 years ago. It’s a big city, never too far for a great bite, best coffee in the world. But it’s not dense, and beautiful places abound. Just google Piha, New Zealand. I go there after work sometimes. I know there is appeal in the Big City, but you can have a city and an adventure, and still have room (physically & mentally) to explore, breathe and find your place.

  11. Gaybeard says:

    I’m living in Toronto and this hit home for me. I moved from a city of 750,000 to a city of 5+ million. I have the additional anxiety of not being able to find a job here though…

    Despite the challenges and the temptation to leave and be with my family, to live in a city where I already have an established network and know all the people that matter, I’m finally settling in here and am starting to learn that my lack of Torontonian concerns and points of view is actually a huge asset to surviving here.

  12. hautemess says:

    I was in full agreement until you got to the word Paris. Please tell me that suggestion was for alliterative reasons and not because you actually think its a good idea for a conventionally attractive 20something with a slightly above average resume who (probably) doesn’t speak French. I came to Paris 8 years ago with 2 out of those 3 criteria. Having fought the good fight against mountains of taxes, visa shenanigans that rival the tropes of academy award winning immigration films, a stagnant job market, housing black markets, and general French dickery, I can tell you NOTHING about Paris will alleviate your anxiety or aimlessness. And I’ve been extremely lucky in my time here, at least according to my banker. Speaking from years of experience and watching many expats throw in the towel…don’t move to Paris in your late 20’s without any language skills, large nest egg, or a company that is willing to sponsor your visa, pay your relocation costs and/or finesse your fiscal domicile so you pay taxes stateside only (nobody pays that much for a receptionist). The scenery is nice in the spring, but it is not a smaller challenge or more spiritually fufilling than NY (where by the way, all Parisians are dying to go). Now a student visa or doing a master’s here, might be a short term solution that will cost you less in tuition, at least.

    • Gaybeard says:

      Come to Canada for post-grad work. Foreign students pay more in tuition than local but it’s still a much better deal than the cost of education in the states.

    • WhoAmI says:

      Yep. Basically Paris is to France what NY is to the US (and vice versa).
      If you want a smaller, older, prettier, frenchier version of New York Paris is just what you need. But Parisians have more or less the same reputation in France than New Yorker in the US, so this is that.

      • unicornsrpeople2 says:

        Haha, as a native New Yorker who visited Paris recently, I agree 100%. The whole time I was there I was like OMG this is basically NY except the buildings are way more beautiful and there’s only that one ugly skyscraper.

        • WhoAmI says:

          Tbh I love skyscrapers (I’m a slut for contemporary architecture like that). And you get tired of haussmanian bullshit real quick when you live surrounded by the thing. Because yes basically every other city in the country made similar architecture during that time period so it’s everywhere, with more or less success in the result.
          I was thinking more about weather and garbage in the streets tbh. Paris has a nicer winter-spring and is a bit less garbage-y (just a bit).

    • tall basket says:

      If it were a century ago, like, “fuck the jazz age and you’re humming Gershwin as you walk down the street to meet up with Gertrude Stein while the sun also rises” kind of move then yes. By all means, move to Paris.

  13. J Lynn says:

    Could the LW also be a gay man? I’ve worked in several creative-field offices (for-profit) and, anecdotally, extroverted gay men are often prized in this role. I think a woman is more likely the author of this particular letter, but possibly not?

  14. Rose says:

    20-something here who’s been in NYC for 8 years, and I agree with Coke. I had anxiety for my first couple of years out of college, but I’ve settled into sort of a routine and a living situation here that doesn’t drive me insane. The fact that I like my job, that I know what I want to do for the rest of my life, and that it’s freelance (lots of time off), plus living with my boyfriend (which is so much better than living with a roommate) helps significantly. Going to college here helped because I had a four-year adjustment period, and living in a quieter part of Brooklyn helps. But many of my college friends have moved on to other places and are thriving, many more so than I am. There’s no shame in leaving NYC, and there’s no point in staying here if you’re working so hard you can’t enjoy it.

        • Laura says:

          It’s good to know other people are in the same boat. It make me feel more confident to make the first move and invite people to do things. Sometimes it just seems like everyone else is so busy and popular, and I fear I will come across as a creepy loner.

          • J Lynn says:

            I used to be shy like that, but I’ve found that people are often grateful when others take the initiative to organize social stuff. For some people, one-on-one invites are better because groups are overwhelming. But for others, saying “I’m going to be at X bar at X o’clock” and then inviting a half-dozen people is easier because you’re more likely to get at least one taker, and it can feel lower risk. And if several people come out, it can transition into a regular hangout with a “gang.” And if no one shows up, it’s still useful socially to establish yourself as a “regular” face at a nice bar (so long as you don’t overdo the drinking), because that’s also a way to make friends and acquaintances.

  15. Chops says:

    I spent a week in NYC and it was enough to confirm that this small town southern boy had no business living there and I was quite alright with that realization. There’s a certain romance to the place, sure. But I decided if I was gonna be a broke twenty-something, I’d rather be a broke twenty-something in a town where my dollars went further and the mountains were a little closer.

    Best decision I’ve ever made. And now this former broke twenty something is becoming a comfortable thirty something in an environment where I have room to grow. It’s quite lovely.

  16. Liz says:

    I’m feeling sort of similarly, but I just don’t have the slightest clue where else I should look, or what else I could do for a living. I lived in one state my whole life, then moved here right after college. I’ve never been an adult anywhere else.

  17. S says:

    I think it’s the same with San Francisco. I feel like I wrote this same exact letter to you a year ago, and have decided to embrace the situation and try to enjoy the experience. Good luck OP!

    • killerwail says:

      I’ll second that San Francisco comment. Every other day, my partner & I fantasize about moving somewhere smaller and slower in Colorado or Oregon. This city sucks out everything you’ve got.

  18. unicornsrpeople2 says:

    I can relate to OP a LOT. I grew up in NYC and moved back with my bf (now husband) 4.5 years ago after college. He wanted to be an actor, I had no clue what I wanted. We both worked in food service (not as glamorous, I know :P).

    A couple of years back we realized that the type of life we want to enjoy together isn’t going to happen in NYC. We were going to move until my hubby realized he wanted return to school to become an environmental engineer. We decided to take advantage of the CUNY system because there is a broad range of subjects, it’s affordable, and if you work hard you can get a great education here for relatively little money. He just had his first day of class on Monday and he’ll be 31 in April.

    Personally, I really struggled with finding my own path, so I can relate to you a lot there. I also have had some pretty bad anxiety. My own BA is not especially useful for getting “good” jobs, at least not the ones I am now interested in. I also spent the last 4 years convinced that grad school was not the path for me. I was too uncertain and afraid to commit to a program. I already carry a lot of debt from my not-so-useful degree so I’ve been extremely wary of committing to more student loans.

    However, a few weeks ago I had an amazing moment of clarity. Everything sort of fell into place and I suddenly knew the career I want to pursue. I am not qualified, but my degree is sufficient for admittance to my chosen program. It’s early days, I never took the GRE so I have a lot to prepare before I can apply. But it was a really amazing feeling and I now have a new sense of purpose for everything I do, because I finally have a goal to work towards.

    I guess my rambling point is, if you’re not sure what you want to do with your life, there’s nothing wrong with that. You should take your time and try (I know it’s hard to find time here!) to pursue your own interests. Explore what you love and why. If you’re fishing for a career, it certainly won’t hurt to follow your passions. Whether or not you’re ever financially successful is another matter, but for many people the satisfaction of work that they love is worth way more.

    Don’t go back to grad school. Not until you feel certain of your path. If you’re someone who can push yourself, you may be successful in whatever course of study, but if your interest isn’t there you are more likely to fail. Same goes for the job market after school. There’s so much competition, especially somewhere like New York, that if you aren’t genuinely into whatever it is you’re doing, you’re likely to get beat out by those who are. And even if you can secure work, that’s no guarantee that you’ll enjoy it. Which isn’t the most important thing to everyone, but consider how much time of your life is spent at work.

    For the record I’ll be 27 soon, so all this soul-searching didn’t go down as fast as I would have liked. I needed to grow a lot as a person first. But that’s just my experience, yours is entirely your own. Put me to shame and figure yourself out by 24 😛 But the point is we’re all on our own path. Don’t compare your success to anyone elses. And if you realize it’s NY that’s getting you down, move! I love my hometown, but it’s not exactly the nicest place to live. Maybe the change of scenery will help you find your own path.

    Best of luck!!!

    P.S. I read an article called “How to Find your Passion – It’s Not Where You Think!” by Christine Hassler a few months ago, I found it very enlightening.

  19. KH says:

    Maybe it’s not a geographical problem at all. Sounds like a classic case of ADHD causing anxiety to me, not the other way around. She should ask her therapist for a proper diagnosis before making big life decisions.

    Self-medicating is common (and never a good solution) but it’s also common for people to recognize when they need medication and to obtain non-addictive medicines via legitimate means to treat what is ultimately a physiological condition.

    What if she’s on the right career path and just needs to get treatment that would allow her the opportunity to thrive in her current situation? I personally don’t like NYC and can understand not wanting to live there, but I wouldn’t throw everything out the window unless I was sure it was a mere dislike of NYC and not a deeper core issue.

  20. unicornsrpeople2 says:

    Sorry for the megapost, but just one more point about NYC. A big part of this generalized anxiety in our generation is due to a shitty economy (although the NYC job market is still pretty great, especially if you’re willing to take “lowly” service jobs) and the fact that NYC has never been less affordable, and it continues to become less and less afforable almost daily. I live in the apartment I grew up in, it’s in Manhattan Valley (basically Upper West Side). My apartment is rent stabilized. My husband and I still need 3 roommates to afford to live here. Groceries are expensive. When my dad first moved here in the mid 1990’s this neighborhood wasn’t very nice and could be kind of scary. Now it’s SUPER nice (bars, restaurants, an authentic french bakery) lots of amenities. The rents have also, at least, doubled. My small brownstone used to be a family building, but is now almost completely rented out by Columbia students living in multiple roommate situations.

    The forces of gentrification are hurting young people in general as well as well as minorities and the underprivileged in general (not as much, of course, if you’re a privileged young person you still get a huge let up). But the point being that lack of access to affordable food and housing in NYC at large is really hurting people fresh out of college, especially if their chosen field requires internships etc.

    Due to my lucky circumstances, my stabilized rent is lower than some studio apartments in Brooklyn and the Bronx. And I have a four bedroom in Manhattan. The further and further out of Manhattan that victims of gentrification move, the harder it is to commute to decent paying jobs in Manhattan. Of course, the double edged sword for young poeple is that many of them are also pushing gentrification along as they move to affordable areas and drive the rents up. So basically its a shitstorm. Unless you work on Wall Street. Then it’s awesome to live here.

  21. Maggie says:

    I have ADHD/anxiety and I felt the same way at work and with especially with calls. Take a page from the Beyonce handbook and make a “Sasha Fierce” like persona, but for work. The “business persona” helps me take things at work less personally, reduce anxiety, and improve confidence.

  22. rollertrain says:

    OP, please please please don’t pay for grad school while under the influence of anxiety and personal crisis. It’s just more debt, and the ROI’s are generally no longer worth the cost of the degree. Scholarships, grants, someone else’s dime, sure, but trust me, you do not want that level of debt in your life yet. Possibly ever.

    • coskel says:

      As a card-carrying member of the “excessive student loan debt club”, I approve of this statement.

      Interest NEVER dies, just so you know.

  23. J says:

    “Basically what I’m saying is that maybe New York isn’t the right place for you. There’s no shame in admitting it.”

    Heh. I didn’t realise how much I needed to hear the underlying proposition here – that it’s ok to do what feels best for you even if it it isn’t conventionally ‘the best’ or most glamourous option – until I read it right here.

    Thanks, Coke and commenters.

  24. Nerdlinger says:

    Return to your roots, New Yorker. Leiden beckons. The church bells play Armin van Buuren and we were up until a few years ago the unofficial headquarters of the Bilderberg Group.

  25. hm says:

    Yo, as a native New Yorker I had to peace the fuck out to realize life doesn’t have to be that harsh. It’s home–it’s where I was born, but it is equal parts not the city I grew up in and not worth the hustle.

    Being born in a Brooklyn hospital, with a Brooklyn family, the only way out is to fall outta love. Hard.

    I can breathe now.

  26. Josh says:

    It’s always crazy for me to hear how much people loathe New York. I moved here shortly after college from a city that was actually sucking the life out of me (Washington DC— great place to visit, truely terrible place to live). Found a job I liked in a week through some frantic networking. Found a roommate, who in retrospect turned out to be a scumbag but the first two years were totally chill. I partied my ass off and have some of the best stories.

    Years later, I’m much more settled and everything feels less hectic. I do work a ton but I’m super passionate about what I do (and I’m paid pretty well). My life here isn’t all that cushy (student loan payments are a bitch but everyone’s got problems) but I still manage to have amazing meals, the most fabulous clothes and go to the wildest parties. I’ve never been more comfortable anywhere else.

    And trust me, I’m not one of those “NEW YORK IS THE ONLY PLACE EVER #NEVERLEAVE” people. I love to travel and get away for a bit. But goddamn it feels good when I get back.

    • J says:

      Well, it does help if you’re a) well-paid and b) like your job. I’d stick out New York if both of those were true.

    • mothbat says:

      may i ask why washington, dc is a terrible place to live? i’ve never lived in dc proper, just in the suburbs, but i love this city.

      • Josh Little says:

        I guess that wasn’t totally fair. DC was just a horrible place for me at the time. I wanted to work in a very specific creative field and it just wasn’t available. I felt hopeless, directionless, and anxious as fuck. Leaving was the only option.

        I’m sure you’ll love it though!

  27. Mel says:

    London has a similar effect. It’s so busy sometimes I want to scream but at the same I love it. Having said that I give it a couple more years before I’m completely done. Loving the idea of Canada/New Zealand for a year X

  28. Mil says:

    It’s amazing how quickly the saturation in these megalo-metro areas has happened. I feel like not even 10 years ago, there were job analysis books telling the youth to move to the city where the dreams of progression and self-betterment were thriving. And now, probably more than half of my peers living in these cities are over it and self-medicating with drugs and distractions, like CQ mentioned. No real input with this comment, other than, I’m intrigued to see where the next 10 years will get us.

    (For perspective, I live in the back-desert of Washington right now; and I might be falling in love with it.)

    Another observation/question, buttressing CQ’s original response, the homies that ARE thriving in these cities, I think run on a different frequency, right? But is this a new human tendency? or has humanity always had the hustlers that thrive on stress and the hustlers that need down time?

    What a wild time to be alive!

  29. Josh says:

    I’m rejecting the idea that I / anyone else enjoying living in a major metropolitan area must be thriving on stress. Living in New York is not stressful to me. If it did, I would certainly get the fuck out ASAP.

    I think what I’m thriving on is the pace and the energy. Everything about this place operates on my frequency and that makes me feel less alone in the world. The fact that I was able to successfully land here was determination and some pretty good luck.

    • Mil says:

      Well-put Josh, I think I could have chosen my words better, what I meant was exactly that, some people thrive on the pace better than others.

  30. Eliza says:

    I recently moved from Sydney Australia to Casa Grande in Arizona. People out here move at about 1/10th the pace and it’s taking everything I’ve got to learn to slow the fuck down.

  31. Ashley says:

    i think this is the most on point advice I’ve ever read. really hits home! im a native new yorker, my entire extended family is from NYC but i grew up in its suburbs, about 45 mins from manhattan.

    at 26, i HAD to leave (i had a short stint living upstate and in manhattan besides). it was move the fuck out or kill myself, my anxiety was so crushing and i wasn’t interested in gaining a benzo addiction, id rather be dead. I’ve been out of NY for about 5 months now. whenever i go to visit i cut my visit short because my anxiety levels go through the fucking roof just visiting people! and its not my friends and family that are the issue, its the overall environment. i can’t stand it and have to bounce early.

    NEARLY EVERYONE i know has anxiety and other mental health issues and most either self medicate or over-medicate with prescribed drugs that border on an addiction. some have died of their drug addictions, others are in rehab, some have nearly died. all natives as well – NY transplants don’t know what its like to grow up here and see everything turn from reasonable into an impossible to succeed at shit storm – jobs are barely above minimum wage and rent is $1000 for a basement closet an hour from the city without utilities. everyone is trying to leave, but they don’t know where to go or what to do.

    i through a very rough period of time decided i didnt want to do my chosen career anymore (which i was somewhat successful at but mental health issues and very bad luck ended that), and decided to pursue a long time passion instead that was very low paying but offered a better quality of life. so i moved to a resort area in another state, and now work in that industry in a low wage entry level position with some room for advancement (but the perks are very worth it), as well as a very part time shop job (again, its all about the perks), and now very recently at a high catering hall that pays well. i don’t really want to work in the food service industry for the rest of my life but if this is the starting pay and theres room to move up and it pays for my bills, and my other jobs pay for my fun, then maybe its not so bad. i work a lot and very hard, but at least living here it feels like its actually worth it. the strip malls, traffic, and being stuck living with my mother because i couldn’t afford the rent? yeah, not so much.

    oh and my rent? $600 all included, with tons of amentities, across the street from a ski lift, only catch is my roommate is nuts and neglects her pets and is the messiest and grimiest person I’ve ever met. its been a rough fucking season snow wise, and I’ve been at times home sick missing family and friends and my dog, but i haven’t been this anxiety free in a very long time. money has been tight because of the bad season but now with the catering hall gig my anxiety is back to slightly above average levels as opposed to sky high. I’m working on it.

    my decision to leave NY saved my life. i recommend anyone who has anxiety issues that lives in such an impossible area to live, to move somewhere beautiful where the rent is affordable and theres enough jobs in the industries youre interested in. don’t be afraid to take a low paying job if you can make it work (either by getting a second unrelated job or with savings) – I’ve made some very valuable life long high level industry connections since I’ve been up here. if i ever decide to work my old profession in this industry i have an easy in… but i want to work on the mental health issues first before i burn more bridges than i already have in the past working in that profession.

    i don’t think ill ever be moving back to NY any time soon, if ever.

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