1. You move somewhere new.
Result: It's weird, you're not comfortable, and everything feels like a struggle.
2. You go away.
Result: You're happy while you're away, but at some point, part of you wants to go back.
3. You come back to the new place the second time.
Result: Everything slows down a little. It makes a little more sense. You don't feel as overwhelmed.
That was my experience in college. My first semester, I was completely miserable. I hated it. I survived until the holidays of my freshmen year. I went home and got a chance to catch my breath. And then when I went back in January, for some reason, everything kind of came together.
I had a similar experience when I moved to Austin a few years ago. I came down at the beginning of December, but bounced around for the first few months, coming home for the holidays and then going back to DC for Obama's inauguration (which feels like about 40 years ago now...has it really only been 26 months?). When I got back and really settled in, things started to click, and I felt like my life was actually my own life again.
Now, though I just returned to Brooklyn last night, I am already getting signs that the pattern may be repeating itself. I did seven sets in the first two months that I lived here. That number will seem shockingly low to some, but to me, looking back, it feels right. The first few months up here had so little to do with comedy. The new surroundings, the new lifestyle (living with my partner for the first time), lingering illness, and even the actual move itself combined to make the past few months a time where all I could hope to do is survive. Now, this second first time up here, I feel like life and everything around me may slow down enough that I can add comedy to my life's equation, and it won't overwhelm the system.
Things seem to be breaking that way. Before I left for the airport yesterday, I had gotten two e-mails asking me to do shows in New York once I got back. The couple of New York comics I met and hung out with during SXSW make me feel like I have a much more connected web of familiar faces in the scene up here. And my time away reminded me that I have friends and fellow comics from other cities that are rooting for me, that look up to me, and that are in a sense up here with me, even if they aren't physically here.
No sexy ending to this post. But I'm glad I'm back in Brooklyn. I'm looking forward to looking forward, if that makes sense.