But some are bigger things, too. The fact that it’s not only the city who is 11 years older, but myself, as well. That I have been through a decades plus change — graduating high school and then college; figuring out that I wanted to be a writer; having my heart broken and breaking a few hearts myself; moving from the dangerous Housing Projects where I spent most of my childhood into a place where I felt safe coming home after dark; my hips, my poor vision, my first real kiss.
All of this has happened over the last 11 years as the city has changed and grown and rebuilt right along with me. That I can look up into the sky and see a gleaming tower where they once stood nothing but an empty sky pregnant with grief and fear and loss is a colossal gift; as much as the simple fact that I am lucky enough to still be here, generally happy and generally healthy and generally loved and alive, alive, alive.
Sometimes you feel like you can’t count on it, just like you feel like you can’t count on your own heart or your own head or your own body. But in the changing you can count on something. That things will be hard and scary and disorienting and that some things will end; but there will be happiness and triumph and luck and new beginnings. I can sweat on the subway platform in the morning squished between 100 too many people but that night I can get a delicious cheeseburger with a close knit group of friends at 2 a.m. if I want it. I can dodge a dead rat on the sidewalk one evening and the next I can see a concert and feel more connected to the people around me and more alive than I’ve ever felt. I can count on this city to let me down, but I can also count on it to lift me up.