It started with a drunk tweet.
"The bartender has stopped taking my money, but keeps giving me booze. I imagine this is what Fillory is like"
(For those unaware, Fillory is the Narnia adjacent land in "The Magicians" and "The Magician King". Go read those books now.)
Then the next day, I (soberly) started stating that other things would exist when we got to Fillory and Dominique suggested I write a post about my personal Fillory. I immediately started thinking of all the wonderful things I would list. Then I thought about them more. I thought about which things would cause me to have a "be careful what you wish for" moment and which things just wouldn't make sense.
Fillory is Quentin's ideal world. The world, where if he could just get there, everything would be perfect, he would be happy and ennui would cease to exist. The problem is that, even in Fillory, Quentin is not perfect. He suffers from a severe case of "wherever you go, there you are" exacerbated by the fact that he is whinier and more self pitying than Luke Skywalker and Wesley Crusher combined.
So then the question became "would I be happy in Fillory?"
And also "WOULD I GIVE UP NEW YORK FOR FILLORY?"
And then "Oh hey, wait, IS NEW YORK MY FILLORY?"
Because New York is my Fillory. New York is the place I've been waiting to move to my entire life. The place I wrote about missing every single year. I have in more than one relationship said that not being able to move to New York ever would be a deal breaker. And then it really was. And I moved.
Once you move to Fillory though, the only thing you can blame your unhappiness on is yourself. Once you finally stop thinking "I just want to be anywhere else but here" and you're still unhappy (albeit less so) you have no choice but to start looking within.
I've had a lot of conversations with people about their first year in New York. About how they struggled, how lonely and depressed they got. How hard it is to make friends or make ends meet. How they almost gave up and left or about how they just decided it wasn't for them. And when they see me and I seem down they attribute it to this and I just want to (ok, maybe actually have once) yell "OH MY GOD THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH NEW YORK" because, for me, it doesn't.
Yes, those things are true. I guess, I don't know. I've never moved somewhere else far enough from home to have to start completely from scratch making friends and the cost of living is not drastically different enough (or different at all?) for me to notice. It IS hard to make friends. It can be, and often has been for me, a very lonely city. But I'm somebody that has trouble making friends everywhere. Who is lonely everywhere. Who is prone to becoming overwhelmed and in need of hiding from the world behind books for a few days EVERYWHERE. It's not Fillory, it's me.
But I am less of all of these things in New York. I spend more time thinking "if this isn't nice, I don't know what is". And I've forced myself to a place where I'm out of excuses for not growing the fuck up and admitting the only person in charge of my happiness is myself.
Because if I can't be happy in a city where there's magic free booze, more museums that I can even imagine existing, a year round 4 day a week farmers' market, public transit open 24 hours, access to any type of food I want delivered for most of the day and an entire populace fluent in sarcasm, I sure as hell don't know where I will be.