Five years ago today I moved to New York City for a part-time job in media. I fell in love with NYC the summer prior as an intern at a small PR agency. After that experience, I was determined to live and work in possibly the most wild city in the world after I graduated from college.
That summer after college graduation was challenging. It felt like everyone from the Class of 2014 had landed a real world job, except for me. I remember applying for 10 jobs a day and feeling so discouraged that I only heard back from a few companies and start-ups. I remember taking the 7 hour bus ride from Rochester, NY to knockout several interviews and then hopping right back on that gross bus for a long ride home. It took me several months to find an opportunity that was a good fit with my skills and actually wanted me.
My parents drove me down to NYC on LDW. I moved into an apartment in Bayridge, Brooklyn, right off the last stop on the R train. After my parents moved me in, they waved to me as they drove off back to Rochester. As I stood there, tears began to fall. I wondered what my NYC life would actually be like. I was scared, excited and for the first time ever, on my own. Even though all I wanted was a job in NYC, I realized that I was going to miss my parents, the safe haven of college and had no idea how much my first post-grad year was going to push and develop me.
Some things have totally changed since I began my Carrie Bradshaw adventure. Here are the five lessons I have learned in my five NYC years.
I made really bad decisions.
It's almost painful to remember some horrible decisions I made as a young New Yorker. Almost all of these decisions involved drinking wayyyy too much. I was transitioning from a college student to an adult, and I had not yet learned that adults can't party on a Tuesday night. My drinking impacted my friendships, intimate relationships, safety, health and even my career.
I was scared to cut people off.
I stayed in a lot of dating relationships and friendships that were not good for my spirit. I've learned that in order to maintain a positive life, sometimes you have to let people go. Back then, I knew that some friendships weren't real or positive, but I was scared to cut people off for the fear of being seen as "mean" or a "bitch".
I was determined to get my dream job.
Looking back, I think I was super bright-eyed and know I was determined to get my dream job - which I got! I emailed my dream company every week for months until they had me come in for an interview. I still believe that once you have a goal, you have to fight for it. Five years later, I know that it's easy to get too tired or busy to chase down your goals, but you have to pursue it with everything you have. I still fight to keep that fire in my soul because you should always remain that bright-eyed girl with lots of dreams.
I had no idea how to be a healthy adult.
As mentioned above, I was not a healthy person my first year in NYC. I was in negative relationships. I drank way too much. I lived in an apartment that I hated. I worked three jobs for my first 8 months in NYC including dressing up as a Christmas present and handing out fliers in SoHo. I had no idea what it meant to be mindful or empathetic. Now, I am surrounded by positive relationships and people. I have role models and mentors. I have a loving, committed and wonderful life partner. I hardly drink and actually know my limit. I live in an environment that I love. I make money now! HAYYYY. I am confident in my body, skills and mindset. I feel proud of who I am and where I am going.
I was truly enamored of NYC.
When I first moved to this city, I couldn't get enough. The hustle, the museums, the $1 pizza, the clubs, the so many cute men, the adventures, even the R train had some redeeming qualities. Everything was new and shiny. I have since been around the block and know that I will eventually leave the city for things like a backyard, savings, a suburban Target and new adventures. But I know there is no where else I would rather be during this time of my life. New York is where you come to dream and evolve. It's where you come to glow up. And I can only imagine how my bright my glow up will be in the next five NYC years.