I’m a basic millennial that moved to New York City to “find myself”
Hey, it’s me. The absolutely insane girl that quit her job to fulfill a lifelong dream of living and working in New York City. The transition has seen no shortage of ups and downs (more ups than downs I’m happy to report), but I’m here to tell you that if there is something that you’ve always wanted to do, now is your time to do it.
I’m 24 years old. Which means that I’m wading into “quarter-life crisis” territory and I’m smack dab in that awkward stage between being a college scholar and being an adult that’s ready to settle down. I still want to go dance at that concert on Thursday night, but I’ll also be ready at work on Friday morning, with a coffee in hand and the PowerPoint slides printed out and ready to go. It’s a confusing time, your twenties, which leads me to my next point.
A few months ago, there was a domino effect of personal occurrences that made me take a step back and reevaluate my life. I wasn’t incredibly unhappy, but I wasn’t happy either. I felt stunted and discouraged – both in my personal and professional life. What did I value most in life? What were my priorities and ambitions? And, most importantly: what are my next steps?
I felt guilty for wanting more. I should be happy. I have a job, loving friends and family, I live in a great city. Why isn’t that enough?
We live in a society where nothing is ever enough. We’re not pretty enough, smart enough. Our jobs aren’t prestigious enough, our lives not fulfilling enough. In a time where excess runs rampant and moderation is lacking, there are so many factors to account for and oftentimes, one doesn’t know where to begin filling in the “enoughs”, if they need to be filled at all.
I’d like to point out now that I realize that moving somewhere won’t necessarily make you feel enough. What I do think is important is that when you feel stuck in life, you can change that. Whether it is a small change or a large change, the difference can make an impact on the trajectory of your life.
When something is wrong, we fix it. When you’re sick, you’re prescribed medicine. The antonym to a “problem” is a “solution”. So, when you find yourself stuck in life, find a way to change it.
This was when I decided to revisit my goals. I had made a list of targets for myself at the beginning of the calendar year and found myself digging up this sheet to see which I had yet to accomplish. Most of them were fairly simple and things that I had already checked off. However, at the very top, I had “move to New York” written out. Move to New York. Whenever someone asked me to list some bucket list items, I’d always say “someday, I’ll move to New York”. And as cheesy as it sounds, why can’t that someday start with today?
I kept that note taped to my wall and every morning, I’d look at it and remember the one dream that had stayed constant in my life since I was 14. Sure, the years had come and gone, I’d packed on a few pounds and switched a few jobs since my teens, but where I’ve always wanted to be hadn’t changed. I knew immediately that I needed to work and live in New York. During the daunting job application process (and the hundreds of rejections that ensued), I was continually tested. However, going through the process of finding the right job and then planning the move made me realize just how badly I wanted to be in New York. Am I crazy? Probably. Do I wonder about the “what ifs”? All the time. Am I scared for the future? Hell yeah. But, I can’t deny that so far, this change has been well worth it and I’ve never felt better about my decision to move here.
There’s something about the city that either draws one in or completely unnerves an individual. For me, the energy is unparalleled to anything I’ve ever felt before. The way that I feel when I’m on the subway, surrounded by people from all walks of life, from varying socioeconomic classes and all speaking different languages is incredible. The bright lights, the stench of the sewer (it is New York after all) and the fact that all 8.4 million of the city’s inhabitants are here for their own reasons are things that I am continually struck by. New York is an incredibly populated city, but the beauty of the city is that you can be standing in the middle of Times Square, looking up at all the skyscrapers and be entirely aware of just how singular you are. You’re entirely aware of all of your hopes, dreams, loves, losses and you’re reminded of the things you did that got you here. It’s an addicting feeling.
Moving to New York hasn’t been as glamorous as people make it seem (I’m currently crashing on a friend’s couch) and if I’ve learned one thing from moving to the city, it’s that there is no one else you’ll have in this life but yourself. From planning all of the moving logistics to packing up your belongings to the tearful goodbyes and the nerve-wracking first day at work, the only person that’s been a constant throughout the process has been myself. I moved to New York to live out a crazy lifelong dream; but I’m also getting to know myself better than I have before. I love that I get to challenge myself in this chaotic city that’s an overstimulation of all the senses. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m excited to be doing it here.
How I view it is that there is no optimal time better than now for personal and professional growth. It is important to know and put yourself first because these are pivotal years that should be capitalized upon. After all, you don’t want to be 80 years old one day, looking back on your life and regretting all of the things that you never did because fear got in the way.
Coming into this transitional period of my life, I felt a multitude of emotions – I was nervous, excited, happy and sad. Whether you’re moving to New York, to another job, to the other side of the world or down the street, change is hard. Change is messy. But, there’s beauty in change. It’s scary, but the unknown can be an opportunity. And the opportunity is exactly what you decide to make of it.