Why I Reluctantly Gave Up on My Dream of Living in New York City

Susan Poole
8 min readSep 26, 2022

But what a great place to visit!

Photo by Diane Picchiottino on Unsplash

Pinch me!

I’m living a long-time dream today — even if it’s only for a few hours.

I’m sitting in a Midtown Manhattan coffee shop with my laptop open, spinning thoughts into words and wondering why it’s taken me so long to find my way here.

I’m visiting my oldest daughter, who unlike me, followed her heart to the Big Apple when she turned twenty-five. When I was her age, I thought about making that move but never did.

In a way, I’m jealous of her life.

At this moment, I’m in awe of the energy surrounding me. The youth. The ambition. The diversity. I’m soaking it all in, letting my imagination run wild. I’m channeling my inner Carrie Bradshaw and pretending that I’m a successful writer who hit it big in the city that truly never sleeps.

I’m also feeling old. Like I don’t belong here anymore. And it’s not that there aren’t plenty of people of all ages moving past me as I write. The guy sitting next to me appears close to my age. I’m curious — Does he live here? Or he is just visiting like me?

Despite being awestruck by everything around me, there’s this overwhelming sense of knowing that the current version of myself could no longer survive here. I’ve lived in the suburbs too long and abandoned several of my earlier dreams.

Looking forward, not back.

In searching for a cool spot to set up camp today, I pictured a gritty diner with old vinyl booths, a long sit-down counter, and a short-order cook making pancakes and omelets on a giant kitchen griddle. If they had Wi-Fi, I’d be good. Bring on your best greasy spoon!

But after peeking in a few windows and not finding exactly what I was looking for, I eventually landed in a Starbucks. Of course I did!

I’m a creature of habit and somehow couldn’t step outside my comfort zone too far. The familiarity drew me in and put me at ease, so here I sit. Despite the guy who just wandered in from outside, danced joyfully to the music booming from the overhead speakers, and then proceeded to ask everyone for loose change, I’m comfortable here. Relaxed…

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Susan Poole

Mother, lawyer, nonprofit executive, breast cancer survivor, and aspiring author. Recently left her day-job to write about topics that she’s passionate about.