Regardless the particular object of attachment, “breaking up is hard to do,” as the song says. Whether it’s saying goodbye to a friend, lover, or even a city like New York there is a strong urge to go back and try one more time to make things work out. We know in our heart of hearts that things happen for a reason and that the reason doesn’t just go away, but hope springs eternal anyway.
When it’s a friend or lover a rebound comes in handy for two reasons: to help us get over the person we miss, and also to create a spark of jealousy in the one we think we want to win back. There might be a bit of an ego boost, but this scenario rarely offers anything more than that.
When the lost love is a city, well, it becomes a series of tumbling dominoes. Everything about the new place points up a deficiency by comparison to the former and misery grows. There is nothing the new city can really do. When leaving an island metropolis like New York, Midwestern landscapes cannot compete with an ocean view. The challenge is to forget abuut searching for what isn’t there, is not capable of being there, and seeing and appreciating what is.
Just as it isn’t fair to expect a new person to come into our lives and play the same role as the person who isn’t there anymore (after all this is life, not a recasting of a Broadway show!), it isn’t fair to say the new city isn’t New York. We all already know that. What the new place does offer is a chance to explore, to learn and to grow…just as New York did when we first landed there, or any other place to which we transferred. Besides, just as Ellen Burstyn and Charles Grodin did in the Broadway production, plans can be made to spend some time together SAME TIME, NEXT YEAR, no dominoes required.