If I ran into an old friend yesterday and the standard catch up conversation followed, I’d be tempted to say I just graduated and moved to NYC to pursue magazine journalism, and so on. I’d likely use the word finally several times, and I’d talk about getting settled into my little studio and adjusting to financial independence, and so on. We’d talk about how long ago high school seems or how quickly college flew by and where all of our mutual friends are now, the predictable and completely unpredictable aspects of time, and so on. But that was yesterday.
Today I can finally recognize the reality of time. Today my story is definitive, measurable, quantitative. Today, I have lived here one year.
It has been over a year since the anxiety of finding an internship, the worry of affording this cost of living, the panic of leaving everything behind, and the uncertainty of whether I would make it consumed me. A year past resume building, job site scouring, trip planning, and double-shifts saving. I made it here, I’ve met people, I found my very own home, I joined a masthead, I wrote guest blogs, and I got a byline all in the last year.
I will never forget the moment I saw this island’s skyline through my plane window a year ago today: the vastness and sheer incomprehensibility of it, the busyness of boats navigating all around it, and the sense of activity you could feel from the clouds above. I looked down and felt the overwhelming unknown in my gut. I would live somewhere in there, somehow, and I had no idea what to expect. After dreaming of living in New York City since I could write my outright excitement and anticipation didn’t even leave room for fear.
In the following 365 days I would jump at the opportunity to try anything new here. I covered museums, cafes, restaurants, bars, parks and rooftops. I found an Upper East Side apartment, a part-time waitressing job, a full-time editorial job, and a church home. I ran my first half-marathon, went on my first deep sea fishing trip, shot a gun for the first time, took my first surfing lesson, ate wild game, became a Yankees fan, saw Coney Island, paid my own rent, attempted to cook real food, and assembled all my furniture.
There have been a year’s worth of challenges and obstacles to overcome through these triumphs. My computer crashed with 4000 pictures from Europe and all of my writing clips lost, I was hit by an Escalade and almost died on the street on my third day here, I’ve lost sleep and completely panicked over money and bills and overdrafts and rent, and I applied to over 60 openings before my first job offer, which followed my fourth interview.
The bad proved as vital as the good though and made all the difference in who I’ve become. I learned to budget and save and spend wisely. I learned how important family is and how blessed I am to have such a supportive one. I found comfort in friends of the same faith and hospitality from old, timeless ones. I learned finding yourself takes courage and persistence, and being yourself is just as hard. Most importantly I’ve learned that I still don’t have everything figured out and that there’s always more to learn and see and do and share.
I have a lot more to accomplish in the years to come, particularly here in Manhattan. I have a few museums left on the list, it’s only fair I see a Mets game, I have to find another job in two weeks, and I have to save if I ever want to leave and travel. I have plenty more people to meet and learn from, and more to write as always, and more to give. I may not be much smarter or wiser or experienced, but I’ll take it one day at a time and see what the next 365 reveal.
As for celebrating, I spent the first day of my second year in NYC with my closest friends who shared in my revelry. Katie and Rachel and I painted the town pink gallivanting around town in floral dresses via someone else’s convertible Mini. We toasted with champagne in a rooftop garden and shared in anticipation of all that is to come. Making it here and living out our wildest dreams has been complete bliss, and we have so many more adventures ahead. After all once you’ve made it here you can make it anywhere (Yep, Jay-Z).