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By Anna Murphy
New York, NY, USA

Anna Murphy
Anna Murphy

This summer marks my fifth year living in the city – and I feel that I can just say "city" and everyone will understand that I mean the greatest city on earth: New York City. It's kind of a milestone I never thought I'd reach, to be quite honest. Every year, starting in 2008, when someone would ask me if I'll be a "lifer" I'd laugh it off and say, "Oh, no way – I think this is temporary." I'm beginning to feel like after half a decade, the odds are not stacked in my "short-term" favor.

I've grown up a lot in my five summers and sometimes I feel like I have very little to show for it. But what I do know is this: I don't go the long way when I see there's a muttering homeless person in my path (although sometimes I step into the street). I have a complicated coffee order at my neighborhood coffee shop and a barista that knows it by heart. I have gone back to my roots, literally, in the form of my hair color. Bottle blonde was so (way too) southern of me. I have a few jobs under my belt, some bad bosses, many calendar invites and call agendas, some incredible friendships, a broadened skill set and an appreciation for interns…even when they smell like vodka the next morning (lest I forget that that was me not too long ago). I have had a lot of bad dates, a few silly relationships and even a serious one that will forever affect how I look at certain spots in the city. But thank God, it's a big city and there are many ways to avoid "our spots " and get where I'm going. Wine-filled weekly viewings of The Bachelor with my friends make me realize that we're just career girls who need a break sometimes…and we just happen to live in the best city in the world.

I've seen my favorite bands perform in concert and gotten closer to them than I ever thought possible. I have an appreciation for open cabs on a Friday night and smoothly running L trains on my way to work. I have a never-ceasing admiration for Central Park reservoir and the Hudson River running path. Really, after going almost weekly, I still am rendered speechless by the fact nature can exist in this concrete jungle. I have a church that I have started going to regularly and a routine that is as "normal" as I know to be possible.

I've learned how to live alone, deal with brokers and score a sweet (if not very expensive) pad via Craigslist. I refuse to add up how many thousands of dollars I have paid in rent over the last five years because it will make me cry. But if I did, I would cry on the street because I am a New Yorker and every emotion can acceptably happen in public. You can't fight with your boyfriend in your apartment, what would the neighbors say?

While I don't have it all figured out (if anyone does, please direct me their way), I have a much better grasp on reality and a greater sense of purpose after five years here. Although I have a depleted savings account, I wouldn't have spent my money any other way. Although I thought age 27 would find me married with children, I recently heard that 33 is the average age in NYC and realized I'm not an old maid. Although I have anxiety about my future, because my future is now, I'm living my life the only way I would want to.

There's no place like New York to make you realize that you are a tiny little piece in this great big puzzle. The longer I am here the more I have self-awareness. I need to treat people better, right my wrongs, and not fear the unknown. So while I say, for the fifth time, that it's my last year in this glorious city – who can really say what happens? And for the first time, this not knowing is A-Okay.


Anna Murphy enjoys long runs along the Hudson River, live music, vegan cookies and the Florida Gators.

All opinions expressed by Anna Murphy are solely her own and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.

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