The essay covers an article by Joan Didion, “Goodbye to All That” which was published in the year 1967. The article’s publisher entails Slouching Towards Bethlehem. The piece narrates the life progressions and decisions that led the author to an optimistic and competitive life in New York in her early twenties. The epitome of the author’s message comprises the expression of life’s decisions and how they impact on one’s life. The state at which the author lived showed an aggressive, ambitious, and a dedicated young woman who defies all the odds to start a new life in a new city – one that is characterized by competitiveness and resolute need to succeed.
In her twenties, the author sets the journey to start a new life in New York City. This marks the turning point in her life which thrust her into a life of competitiveness and reliance on herself. The zeal to survive on her own is fundamental to the author that she identifies instances that she experienced difficulties but did not call for help. This is in the need to prove to the self that she can certainly manage her own life and make something out of it in the long run. For example, the author notes that she made $65 or $70 a week which proved very difficult to survive on. She notes that “the money was so little that some weeks I had to charge food at Bloomingdale’s gourmet shop in order to eat, a fact that went unmentioned in the letters I wrote to California” (Didion 1967). The lack of asking for assistance was informed by the knowledge that her parents would rush in to help but undermine her potential to learn to fend for herself.
The author describes life in New York City as one for the very rich or very poor as presented by different people. She adds the notion that New York is a city for the very young who have time to experiment on beliefs that they can make in life. This is a fact that she comes to terms with at the end of the article which she asserts she “does not know she made it in the City” (Didion 1967). Most of the friends that she lived within the city at an early age had relocated to “Dallas, Antabuse, or bought a farm in New Hampshire” (Didion 1967). Herself and her family had moved to Los Angeles as she notes that she was young no more to entertain a thrust life of New York City. “I talk about how difficult it would be for us to afford to live in New York right now, space we need” (Didion 1967). The sentiments show a profound change in life as grew older.
The author describes her enormous love for New York. She notes that “I was in love with New York” (Didion 1967). The falling in love with the city was informed by the new possibilities and desires that she opined to achieve. A shining star one would see herself and the possibilities of life one can achieve amid the competitiveness in the city. The value of life is to make decisions that lead to substantial life and prove to the self that you can handle different challenges. The realities in New York do not deter or sway the author in relenting and desiring a different course. In fact, in a life set out to stay in the city for six months turned out into eight years of stay in the city.
The decision to settle in the city shows the resilience and determination of the author to make a life on her own. She is open to making new friends, new life, all of which were away from her comfort zone. This depicts the capacity of an individual to commit and own up to the decisions that one makes in life. The sacrifices one is bound to make in pursuit of new dreams, new hopes, new aspirations, and new goals. The desire to be independent and initiate different aspects in life takes a course in the author’s narrative.
In a nutshell, the author sums the value of making the most of every moment in one’s life. From the early twenties, as you grow older, the author sees the value of trying new things. This is a commitment to build strong values in life – a result of the choices you make and the impact they create. The pros of living in a city like New York enhance the setting of a mindset as a young person to build a good life. A city of newcomers where opportunities can be pursued and dream built. In the end, she notes the need to live a settled life with family away from the rush and competitiveness of New York City.