Vacation was beautiful and I never wanted it to end… but here I am, back in NYC. Back to work, back to everyday reality in a city I have outgrown. New York is a young person’s city, or a rich man’s city. It’s not a good place for a person like me at this time in my life. I feel empty and lost here. I have a good job, but it’s not what I want to be doing. The few things I liked about this city when I was 26 don’t exist anymore. The nightlife isn’t what it used to be, the parties aren’t what they used to be, the places aren’t what they used to be, and neither are the people. I don’t know why anyone would ever want to raise a kid here, unless of course they were rich… but even then….When I moved here at 24, I thought I needed to be here in order to achieve artistically, whether it was writing or painting or whatever. Clearly, the entire world is now connected through online media, remote work, and no one really needs to be in one place to do what they love or achieve what they want with their career (unless they’re an actor or a musician maybe… but even then…this just ain’t it, kid).
When I walk the streets, there are only remnants and relics of the past that I once enjoyed and for a short time loved. Now, I walk the streets and instead of daydreaming about a future or life in the city, all I daydream about is being somewhere else. I day dream about Europe, a slower lifestyle, a smaller and cleaner city or even a small town in the countryside or mountains. I daydream about a relaxed pace of life, dinners with family and friends, clean air, a house with a view. This city has made me tired and sad.
Tonight I walked past a couple of baby/children’s boutiques with adorable winter sweaters and high-quality stuffed animals on display in the windows. It hit me that I am never going to have a kid. When I was in my 20s, I thought for sure one day I would have a kid, but now that I’m 34, I’ve realized it’s just not happening. I don’t feel sad about it; it’s my decision, after all. It’s just weird to walk around the neighborhood where I spent so many days walking around and hanging out with my then-infant niece and my sister, who was three years younger than I am present-day, back in 2012. My how the times have changed in these past ten years. How the city has changed; the world has changed. Not for the better.
I grow more jaded and cynical each and every day I am forced to live in this city. Maybe I would have had a kid if I’d been married by 30, and before the current state of world took a turn for the worst. Now I realize that to have a kid would be more selfish than NOT to. It just seems unfair that the world made my decision for me. If there wasn’t a war happening, daily threats of nuclear holocaust, and another climate catastrophe every day, perhaps I would have been happy to have a kid.
I am engaged now… finally, after 9 years as a couple. I likely won’t be married for another 2 years. I am in no rush – I mean I waited this long, didn’t I?! My family certainly seems to be in a rush; they keep expecting that I will have the wedding next summer (which is only 10 months from now). Not happening, sorry. Although, perhaps I should have it next year, because because who knows how things will be two years from now (given the current political climate, war, nuclear threats, global warming, and advancing age of all of our parents). Maybe this world won’t even exist next year….
I am lucky that I live where I do, as opposed to so many other places where life would be much worse off right now. This world is falling apart … I try to enjoy every day now, for what it is. I try to enjoy every day that I have to work, once I have some free time to myself and the work is done. I try to enjoy every weekend day I spend alone, even though my boyfriend is working – there are pleasures to be found in being alone. You never know what each new day may bring, whether that something is good or bad. So it is best to just enjoy each day as it is, even if it is not ideal. If these last few years have taught me anything, it is to appreciate the little things in life and the (hopefully good) people that you have in your life.
I could go on and on about vacation. I feel incredibly lucky and fortunate that I was able to take such a great vacation. I feel fortunate to have the boyfriend I have, the family and friends I have, and the in-laws I have. I am lucky to have all that I have in this life, even though I bust my ass for most of what I have… I am fortunate that things have somehow come together over the last five or so years to get me to the point that I am at today (not that most days aren’t still a struggle, but at least I’m not contemplating suicide as I do three nights of floor-set at Hollister every month and wonder how I am going to afford a dinner out for someone else’s birthday).
Instead of going into depth writing about my vacation, I’m just going to post a shit ton of photos that sum it up. We started in Venice, traveled to Tuscany with his parents for a week, hit up multiple wineries and medieval towns while we were there (Siena, Montalcino (the town closest to our lodging), Montepulciano, Pienza, etc.). My in-laws went back to Venice when we departed Tuscany, but we made several stops: Modena to see not one but TWO Ferrari museums, a night and a day in Milano (more on that later), and then we spent a night in Lake Como because we just weren’t ready to go back to Venice yet. It was all so fucking amazing, words cannot describe.
I wasn’t a fan of Milan – even though we were only there for 24 hours. The hotel we stayed in was cool – very modern with lots of fun art pieces and installations. It was also super close to the city center, which came in handy for me, since I spent a day alone wandering around Milan, while Christian got a tattoo by a famous Italian tattoo artist he was able to book last minute (don’t ask – I already had my ring at this point, so if it made him happy… whatever). I did 9 miles by myself that day, and realized that I could never live in Milan. The city is a mix of very old and very modern structures – it is almost similar to NYC in that sense, but obviously much cleaner and prettier. All of the women are emaciated (and I am not lying). Most of the women also seemed to be under the age of 30… I saw mainly students and young people while I walked around that day. But, of all the women I did see, old, young, middle-age… they all had some serious eating disorders. Like, most of them looked like they needed to be in the hospital… and I am NOT exaggerating. I felt like such a cow next to these women…. and I am not a big person. I don’t think I saw a single woman/girl who weighed over 95 lbs. I get that it is the fashion capital of the world, but holy fuck. My ego took quite a blow that day, and I couldn’t really enjoy food for the rest of the trip… I’ve never felt so fat in all my life as I did walking around Milan that day. I was really happy we decided against spending a second night in Milan and decided to drive to Lake Como, since it is only about 1.5 hours from Milan, and Christian had never even been, despite having lived in Milan for several years! It was worth it:
Before we ended up in Milan and then Lake Como, we had briefly entertained the idea of spending the last few days of our vacation in Greece. It just didn’t make sense to waste another day spent traveling or buying plane tickets just to spend 48 hours or less in Greece, when our time with Christian’s parents and friends in Venice is already so limited each time we are there. We decided to just go back to Venice so that we could enjoy the rest of our vacation and see his friends and spend more time with his parents. We made it out to Lido not once, but twice this time… both nights were a lot of fun… maybe too much fun. Thank God Lido now has electronic rental bikes, because when we were ready to leave each night, there were no Ubers to be had and we needed to get back across the Island to catch the ferry back to Venice proper.
I could post a million more pictures and tell a million more stories. I wish I never had to come home… apart for being reunited with my babies (my cats) and seeing my own family. I hope that some day very soon we can live in Italy or France… or somewhere else close by, where life doesn’t move at the pace of NYC and every moment doesn’t pass by in a blink of the eye the way life does here in New York.
I’ll leave you with the food highlights from the trip (since that is what this blog was/is supposed to be about):
Now that I am back in NYC and inspired by the skeletal women I saw in Milan, I am trying to get back on the straight and narrow (i.e. no meat, save for special occasions, minimal wine consumption (sure, Jan…), and healthier eating in general). Wish me luck! Venice is great since the cuisine is primarily seafood, but boy did I go to town on meat in Tuscany: you have to… it’s the Tuscan way (when in Rome, do as the Romans do, am I right?!). Anyhow. We are still waiting for a case of wine we bought at the castle winery to arrive. This is what motivates me. I’m not sure where we are going to store it in our 1-bedroom apartment, but I’ll find a way.