I had probably the most enjoyable Thanksgiving ever last week. For the first time I didn't spend it with family, and instead did it with friends. I wish I had figured out how much more enjoyable it was doing it this way sooner, but better late then never. My boyfriend lives in New York, so Tuesday after work I hopped on a train up there to spend my Thanksgiving break with him. He had to bring his mom to the airport that night, so I met up with a friend I hadn't seen in a long time and we had dinner and drinks. Meeting up with someone you haven't seen in awhile is so much fun. You have so much to talk about, and can just go on and on catching up with each other. We hung out for almost four hours before finally saying goodbye. My boyfriend took off Wednesday, and we went exploring around some potential neighborhoods I could live in when I move there. That night we went to a house party of these two daddies who have this beautiful apartment in Hell's Kitchen, then went to a drag show at Therapy. While I'm not a big fan of drag, it was fun just getting drunk and hanging out with a group of people. Thursday morning I was supposed to take the train out to Long Island for thanksgiving with family, but was really dreading going. I love my family, but put all together at once they can be a lot to handle.
Them: Oh you're gay?
Them: Well you're still having kids right??
Them: Well you're still young, you'll change your mind eventually!
As I was about to leave for Penn Station, I checked the Long Island Rail Road app for service advisories. If I believed in a god, I would say he granted me a miracle. There was a downed power line at one of the stations and it was causing huge delays and cancellations throughout the whole system. It gave me the perfect excuse to stay in the city. So instead, I plus-oned with my boyfriend to a friends-giving on the Upper West Side. It was cool because they live half a block from Central Park West, which is right where the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade goes through, so we watched a bit of the parade until it got too cold. It was the first time I'd ever seen the parade in person. We spent the next nine hours all just getting drunk, eating tons of food, gossiping, and just enjoying a big 'ole gay thanksgiving. It was an interesting mix of guys too. You had guys in their 60s all the way down to guys like us in our 20s. You had millionaire tech executives (the guy who hosted it all) to a guy who is a professional escort, to everyone in-between. I've been spending more and more weekends up in New York, and every time it gets harder and more depressing to go back home.
I guess life here has changed a lot recently, and mostly not for the better. My roommate and best friend moved out of state, and she was a big source of support in my life. Another very close friend of mine got a new job and moved to Germany with his boyfriend. He has been my closest gay friend and party buddy since we met 3 years ago. With him gone, that has left a big social void too. I used to go out every weekend, and now I've only been out here in the city once in the last two months (and that was for his going-away party). To make matters worse, another close friend of mine moved with his boyfriend out to the far-flung suburbs and doesn't come into the city much anymore. He was probably my first real gay friend that I met back in college, and we've stayed close since. So I now have no close friends left around me on a daily basis, and not much of a social life to be had here anymore because of it. Because I know that I am moving next year and also because I'm so busy with other stuff, I've stopped investing much into my life here in Philly. I'm not really trying to make new friends, I'm not getting involved in anything outside of what I already am, and am instead putting that energy into making connections, both professionally and personally, in New York. I just don't see a reason to start over again here when I know I'm going to leave. I see investing in the future as a better option. That being said, I'm a bit sad at losing so much of what I had of my life here. I love this city with all my heart, and it gave me a great start in life. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but I've come out in one piece.
I'm also entering the final stretch of grad school, and the workload has absolutely skyrocketed. I'm routinely putting in 60 hours a week between work and school. Because I don't have much of a life here anymore, I've started falling into the workaholic mode again, which makes me low-level depressed. In a way it works, because I have so much that needs to get done and get done right that being able to focus like I do is important. In the next six months, I need to finish up all my remaining classes, take the New York State licensing tests (multiple ones), and then begin applying and interviewing for public school teaching jobs in New York City, which is a feat unto itself. If even the littlest piece has a crack, it throws off the entire plan. I'm such a nervous wreck right now because trying to balance all this for the next six months is exhausting and there's still so much time left to go. I am so motivated though. The one dream I've always had was to live in New York, and now I'll finally have the earning power to afford a good life there. My boyfriend lives there, and I definitely see long-term potential for us.
I'm of the attitude right now that this phase is just the challenge before the prize. If it all goes according to plan, I'll have the life I always dreamed of when I was a closeted 16 year old kid growing up in a depressing small town. I'm hoping it'll make the moment it all comes together that much more satisfying. Until then, I just gotta suck it up and push through.