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I am the sleep drunkest person ever. I am a sleep lush. This morning, my alarm clock went off, loudly and about 2 feet away from my head, for seven whole minutes before I realized what it was. I remember thinking, groggily and maybe still half dreaming, “Oh my god, that is so annoying, I wish someone would turn it off!!!” And then I was like, “Wait, I can turn it off!”

Also, one time I woke up and hallucinated in the dim light that there was a giant spider on my bed. It was the only time I have seen an illusion like that — it was so vivid. I grabbed a tissue and tried to smash the spider multiple times and was so confused when no bug guts appeared on the tissue. So, either I was sleep drunk or my apartment is haunted by ghost spiders.

This weekend marks a decade since I moved to New York City. It feels like it can’t possibly have been that long and like I’ve lived several lifetimes here, simultaneously and nonsensically. Ten years ago this weekend, I moved into my freshman dorm at NYU, thinking I was all grown up. I had no idea how wrong I was, but the city taught me. Since then, it has inspired me, frustrated me, raised me and smacked me down (sometimes literally).
I am infinitely more jaded than the 18-year-old girl who moved here but I think I’m wiser now, too. I’ve lived in six different homes in two boroughs and five neighborhoods (West Village, Soho, Chelsea, Prospect Heights, East Village). Each one felt like a different city and a new era of my life. I’ve done so many things here that I could never have done anywhere else and I’ve met so many fascinating people, even if they have left or we’ve grown apart. Loving New York and wanting to build a life here is the only thing I’ve been reasonably sure of for more than a decade, since I was 16 years old. My tastes and goals and looks have changed (watch cheesy slideshow above to peep my ill-advised past fashions) but my adoration for my home remains.
Sometimes I feel like I never want to leave and other times, I wonder if I would be happier if I lived somewhere peaceful and affordable, where people work to live instead of live to work. I have no idea what my life will be like in the next 10 years but I’m hoping the city will continue to guide me.