New York City: A Two-Year Journey
Four living arrangements and seven roommates later, I find myself reflecting on my experiences over the past two years that have helped mold me into the person that I am in this moment.
When I first moved to New York in the summer of 2015, I didn’t know what to expect because I really didn’t have any expectations. The summer prior, I spent my time interning in the city. It was an amazing experience, but this time was different. I was fresh out of college, ready to take on the world and navigate a city I somewhat knew. I was an intern for seven months at a top public relations firm and I lived in a five-bedroom apartment with four other people before moving to New Jersey for a few months. I had to continually remind myself that the value of my experience was unmatched and this is what needed to happen to help me get to where I wanted to be.
After conflicts that came about with my New Jersey living arrangement, I moved again and it wasn’t an ideal situation. At this point I still wasn’t hired full-time, I had to deal with major some apartment issues and my room could only fit a twin sized air mattress. I had dark moments here. I was stuck. I felt numb and as if I couldn’t move. The room surrounding me that could barely fit my belongings didn’t help. I was suffocating. This is it I thought. I’ve allowed this place to break me. It was hard. I was used to tough, but this was next level and I wasn’t prepared for it. I should move back home. But, have I really given this a chance? I only knew three people because meeting people in a big city is difficult. My everyday routine was the same. Am I burned out? If so, we have a problem. Depressed? Anxiety? Overwhelmed? All of the above.
I wanted to be here. I worked hard to get here. But, there have been a number of times when I had to dig down deep and remind myself why. Keep your eye on the prize. But is that prize really worth it? It is. You’re right, I’ve got this handled. They say if you can change your mind, you can change your life. Facts. The moment I decided to take control of what I could and change the things that I couldn’t, I started to realign my focus and put energy into other areas of my life that needed it the most.
On November 3, 2016, I signed an offer letter for one of my dream jobs and my first apartment lease on the same day. A year prior to that, I contemplated moving home every day and couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. It was a very humbling moment because I decided to take a leap of faith and choose the person I had the potential to become versus giving in to how I felt at the moment. I’ve learned that success doesn’t just happen when you put in the work, but it also happens when you don’t give up. I’ve had a lot of discouraging moments. Moments when I thought I wasn’t good enough. Moments when I have struggled to keep up. Moments when I didn’t think I was prepared for thesituations life was throwing at me. But, not allowing that the discouragement to consume my life, has allowed me to reach the point I am at now.
Now I know more people than when I first moved here (who are by the way amazing individuals), I’ve had the chance to do some exciting work and I’m learning more about myself every day. New York City is a place that has given me some of the best moments of my life, but also some of the worst. They say if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. But, on some days I do find myself questioning if I’m making it, just surviving or some weird combination of the two. I’m blessed and humbled to be living in a city that at one point seemed only like a childhood dream. I’ve learned that if you allow your passion and dreams to carry you forward, while owning it, you can help manifest everything that you want in life. But remember to whom much is given, much is also expected. Much like how flowers can’t flourish without the rain, success rarely happens without some type of adversity.
New York City continues to mold me, hand me powerful teaching moments and presents me with the opportunities that I’ve always dreamed of. It isn’t always easy, but no one ever said that it was going to be. When I look back on this experience years from now, I know that I'll be able to honestly say that it was worth enduring these tough moments because they have only made me stronger.
So, here’s to you New York, our love-hate relationship, the moments I will never forget and the person you are helping me become. Thank you.
(Photography: Stephen Crosson)