A croissant tried to convince me to move to NYC this morning.
Listen. I love croissants. I loved croissants when I was a kid using the edge of a spoon to pop them out of a Pillsbury can and I love them now as an adult when a single croissant costs more than the whole can. (And tastes like it.) In the most fortunate of circumstances, there’s an award-winning bakery on the bottom floor of our office building in Tribeca. They specialize in French pastry—specifically fresh bread and croissants. I had tried (and adored) their ham and cheese croissant several times before, but this morning, I decided to go for a plain, classic croissant.
It was unbelievable. I legitimately stopped in my tracks after taking the first bite. It was so light and crisp, mysteriously unencumbered by the layers of butter sandwiched between soft layers of dough. I had planned to save half “for later,” but when it arrived warm from the oven, I had no choice but to eat the entire thing right then and there. And I wondered, for a moment, what it would be like to eat amazing food like that all the time? It’s an option now, thanks to working for an organization that is headquartered in NYC.
The Best Croissants of Your Life only comprise one small category of New York’s advantages. There’s also the aforementioned Best Coffee of Your Life, the subway that still gives me heart eyes, and so many amazing people that I get to call not just coworkers, but friends.
But I’m not moving to NYC.
At least not anytime soon. Right now, I’m choosing to stay in Pennsylvania.
Most weeks, someone at the office will ask, “So, what’s in Harrisburg?” with obvious confusion. And I totally get it. The weekly commute is long. The office culture is pretty amazing. And it’s not like I’m living in LA or even a bigger local city like Philadelphia. I’m in Harrisburg, a place most people rarely get right on the first try. “Pittsburgh?” “Hicksburg?” “Harristown?”
(Note: Harrisburg, while humble, is still the capital, you guys.)
It likely comes as no surprise that I love the Tuesday commutes into NYC. It’s such a fun adventure, filled with an abundance of kind and generous people, and I’m so, so grateful for it. But as I watch the world fly by in a backwards blur on the train back every Tuesday night, I’m even more grateful to return home to Harrisburg.
There are so many things I don’t know about life. I don’t know why you can do nothing to your hair one day and look amazing and then spend an hour using three professional-grade heat tools the next and end up looking like Monica in Barbados. I don’t know why the most annoying song is always the one that gets stuck in your head. I don’t know how modern life is supposed to work, how we’re supposed to do all of the things, all of the time.
The only thing I know for sure about life is that people are the best part.
They matter most. They’re worth investing in and sticking around for.
Harrisburg might not have a coffee shop that is open past 4pm on a weekday, but it has Jenelle and Jer and two little girls I love getting to watch grow up. It may not have the Best Croissants of Your Life, but it has Freddy and Erin and Bryce and Jody and Mel and Lauri and our monthly group dinners. There aren’t opportunities around every corner and dreams just waiting to be chased down, but there are mornings on the back porch with Jenny and Olive and evenings spent sharing a jar of Talenti and an episode of Queer Eye.
If there’s one other thing I know about life, it’s that it refuses to follow a linear plan. So I’m not making any assumptions about what the future may or may not hold. I probably won’t always live in Harrisburg, and when that time comes, I hope it’s a welcome change. But I’m so glad I get to be there for now, surrounded by a sea of friends who have become family. I’m so glad that when people ask, “What’s in Harrisburg?” I don’t have to stop and think about it.
My people are there. That’s all. And that’s plenty.