Luster Lost - Is It Time To Leave New York?

I’ve been having a lot of conversations about transition lately – what it means for people and how it shows up in life.

Everyone seems to be dealing with it at some level, especially in this continued time of uncertainty. In recent exchanges with friends and neighbors, the biggest questions center around leaving New York, either temporarily or permanently. COVID has changed the face of our city and caused people to ask themselves, “What am I doing here? Do I actually need to live here anymore?”

But is leaving the Big Apple really as easy as just packing up the car you probably don’t have and hitting I-95 for destinations unknown? Let’s look at the 4 things I hear the most often from people contemplating this change.

Your Job

“But my job is here – I can’t leave.”

For so many New Yorkers (and people everywhere), it’s our job that anchors us to the place we live in. We work in an office, we commute, we manage a team, and we need to be visible.

But for the past few months, many companies have had a reckoning. You can be a great manager from your home office, and you can still participate in meetings, tackle that big project, and be seen. You don’t need to physically be in the office to be good at your job anymore, and that that has been eye-opening for companies and employees alike.

Many are asking, “If my job can be done remotely, what else is keeping me here?”


It’s always interesting to hear what brought people to New York in the first place. For many, it’s the culture. Whether it’s the museums, the bars, and restaurants, the shopping, or just the incredibly diverse population we enjoy, New York has always “had it all.”

It’s difficult to imagine how this city will look in the face of the new, post-COVID “normal” where social distancing continues, tables in restaurants will require space between them, and we won’t be cramming into live shows at Webster, standing shoulder to shoulder waving our cell phones in the air. 

A friend recently said, "all the benefits of New York just aren't there anymore.  Can’t go to the restaurants, ride the subway, see the people, and participate in the events. What's the point?" 

Even if the city does start to take on a semblance of its former self, people have discovered how fulfilling other areas of their life can be and have filled their days with video calls with family members, more quality time with loved ones, baking bread, cooking, etc. Living without doesn’t mean going without.


Population wise, New York is a huge city but from a geographical perspective, it’s actually quite small. I remember after Hurricane Sandy, walking from my apartment in Brooklyn to an appointment in SoHo. It wasn’t ideal but it was possible because New York is so accessible. New Yorkers pride themselves in their proximity to a subway station and take comfort in easily getting from point A to point B (unless you’re trying to get crosstown in rush hour!)

NYC is also easy – and as a result, it's easy to become spoiled because everything is within walking distance and anything you could want is usually at your fingertips including late-night pizza, Instagram worthy coffee, and some of the best restaurants in the world. 

So for many, the past nearly 3 months quickly became inconvenient – stores closed, Amazon Prime no longer doing next day delivery (the horror!), and restaurants scrambling to figure out how to stay in business. 

But we’ve adapted, and maybe have pointed out that their threshold for inconvenience is higher than they thought, the overwhelming need for instant gratification has lessened, and convenience isn’t as vital as we thought it was.   

The Unknown

When it comes to life changes, this is the issue people encounter most often. 

Fearing change as we transition into the unknown is common psychology and it’s how we’re wired as humans. But what if change wasn’t something “scary” and we weren’t inclined to stay in a place of inaction because pulling the trigger feels daunting?  

Maybe you’ve known for some time that New York isn’t the place for you anymore and recent events have been the catalyst to driving that point home. Others are ready to embrace their long-held desire to relocate to “the burbs”, harkening the rumble for more space and fresh air and this was the push they needed. 

There are many strategies to initiate change and the first step is to simply visualize the possibilities. See yourself on the other side of where you want to be and comfortably sit in that feeling for a moment or two. 

How does that feel?

If any of this resonates, let's talk about what's holding you back in your life right now.

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