there's a quote from sex and the city that has stuck with me for years. years. miranda, pregnant, is about to get an abortion. that last minute before she's about to make the decision, that last minute before choosing option a over option b, before changing her life forever, she turns to carrie. and in desperation, anxiety and fear, she says:
"carrie - is this my baby?"
and what can carrie say? when it comes to the big decisions, we can offer our friends advice, we can listen to them, we can help write the pros and cons list, but we can't make the decisions. and we can't tell them, without a shadow of a doubt, what they should do.
what can carrie say?
my favorite decision to make was what to do after college. strange, i guess, but hear me out. i know it may feel nerve-wracking and big and it takes deep sighs to make that decision, but i was ready to move on from philadelphia. the old anywhere but here mentality. and that mentality, it gives you a lot of freedom. a lot of breathing room. so i went on interviews for opportunities that took me all around and finally decided on a job in baton rouge. a week later i got into graduate school in nashville, my first choice, tore up the job offer letter i had just signed and went to nashville instead. and it all seemed so easy. i got my job offer in december, i got into graduate school in december, and just like that my future was decided on my winter break.
it's quite easy to decide the next step when you don't have to act on the decision for six months. that's the part i liked. that's why it's my favorite. it felt so much easier. so less immediate than the other decisions i've made.
so when i got into my car a few days after graduation, packed up, knowing what came next - all of a sudden heading off to a strange town where i knew no one and it was further south than i ever had lived and people had real southern accents and i guess they recorded country music there and oh god what had i done - i kept thinking: is this my baby? am i really supposed to be doing this? was this the choice i was really supposed to make? is this where i'm supposed to be?
over, and over again. is this my baby?
when i came to nyc, i had a general knowledge that i wouldn't stay forever. it's far too expensive of a city to stay in forever. and the suburbs in the northeast are not an option for me. i've done hour-long commutes and i can confirm they are not for me. the jersey or new york or connecticut or whatever state's suburbs that other people live in are not for me. and i appreciated from my time in other cities that there are many grand places to live. but new york, as i knew before i settled here, is an addictive place to live. you never run out of restaurants to discover, film festivals to attend, parks to walk in, corner stores to visit. it makes you pay a high price but it offers you so much. so very, very much. and so i've stayed, content. blissfully content. i thought - yes, i'll leave one day, but years from now. when it's more immediate. when it's more clear.
and, as it happens when we are bold enough to say we are blissfully content, one day two opportunities came along. the right opportunities at the right time. i don't know if they are quite mine just yet, but i'm at the point where i can see them. i can almost taste them. they're almost in my grasp.
but one is not in new york.
and so, before it's actually in my hands, i've been struggling. i know if this opportunity comes along again in a few years i won't want it, i'll be past it. and i know that that's ok - other opportunities may come in a few years that i'll want, too. this is not the be all and end all. but it's good. it's really good. it's that thing i've always kept my eye on. but you see, new york and i, we're just not done with each other. to move somewhere else feels unsettling. i feel unfinished. and i hem and i haw and i hem and i haw (in true type a fashion, over something that is not yet guaranteed) - and i keep asking, is this my baby? is this the opportunity i've been waiting for? or - do i really have to follow through on all the talk about leaving? i keep looking life in the face, pleading with it to make the decision for me, asking it to make clear to me what's the right path and what's the wrong path. again and again i keep asking - is this my baby?
is this my baby?
carrie never answers miranda. she changes the subject, asks her if she should just leave.
she never tells her that it's her baby.