It’s true. A year has passed since I found myself packing up and flying across the country to begin my adventures in NYC. New job, new home, new life. Or, well, at least a different one, filled with some hopes, some dreams, a bit of trepidation and a lot of unknowns.
The learning curve after such a change is always steepest at the beginning. And in the first few months I packed it in. I found a place to live, nicely located near my NYC priorities: a good grocery store and express subway lines. I bought furniture and learned that delivery services in this city are the reason why I used to pick up the large item I bought when I lived in suburbia. I had the pleasure of eating a several places I always imagined myself eating at, and becoming enough of a foodie to confidently recommend places to visitors of my ‘hood. I saw every outstanding show on my Broadway list, and hit up smaller plays and concerts that you only find in a fair and vibrant city such as this. I fulfilled a childhood promise, seeing a friend perform at his Carnegie Hall debut. I took in the dramatic sculptures of Richard Serra at the MoMA. I became a MoMA member (only for the store discount, really). I made my way to places I had never been: the Cooper-Hewitt museum, PS.1 for their summer opening, the New Museum, Brooklyn.
But, as I settled in, the adventures gave way to the routine that is everyday life. Work and sleep, with the intermittent break for some television. It was the life of the intern, the life led by thousands, be they in the middle of Nebraska or the center of London. It was growing up, growing into the new role awaiting anyone leaving the safety net of school.
I found myself with responsibilities. I found myself making decisions, calling consultants, issuing drawings, going to client meetings, meeting with clients on site. The abbreviations ASP, DRM, VIF and DO gained meaning. I learned that I CAD comparatively fast to others, and can revise floor plans like nobody’s business. I picked up Photoshop skills that I only wish I had in school, and started sketching on paper one again. I avoided Sketch-UP like the plague, found refuge in Rhino, and made best friends with a fine tip red rolling ball pen. I found myself constantly feeling inadequately prepared for the authority I had been given, but grateful for the chance to feel stupid. I made mistakes, learned how to deal with mistakes made, and, I’d like to think, arrived at a place where I feel, well, comfortable.
Yet, as I reflect on the past year, as one is ought to do as they face the upcoming prospect of that work equivalent of final grades, I find myself oddly discontent. I have done a lot. I have learned a lot. And while I am comfortable at work, where I am no longer the office freshman, or even team novice, I am not sure if I am happy.
Architecture and happiness are definitely not inclusive. I’d like to think they are not mutually exclusive either, but it has been hard to find any of my archi-friends with a burning passion for the job they rush off to each morning. More often than not, our gatherings are sessions bitching about crazy bosses, crazy clients, crazy deadlines, crazy expectations.
Yet we soldier on. We’re a committed bunch. We don’t dilly-dally. We are monogamous creatures…well, at least to our need to create. We may cheat on our employers at some point in time, free-lancing or entering design competitions or pouring ourselves into some other creative outlet, but never on our desire to imagine the unimagined.
I keep on seeing it. Colleagues who spend hours outside of work pursuing something that inspires them. Long hours do not faze them, drowsiness is all but ignored. Something drives them, keeps them committed. I’d like to say I have that too. This blog may be testament of the opposite.
Anyways, I know I’ve got it. The itch, like the mythical itch of relationships, which many use to explain their adulterous ways. I’m tempted by things around me, by alternative lives I could possibly lead, ones that take me out of this world. Ones that would make me a sell-out. Yeah, it’s only been a year. And maybe my itch only needs a change of scenery to be satiated. But, maybe, just maybe, something more drastic needs to happen.