Yesterday marked my one year anniversary of living in New York City. It has been the most incredible year of my life. I can remember the weeks leading up to my move, and how I would try to envision what my life would be like a year from then. Would I be successful at my job? Would I have a group of friends? I wondered if I would change. There were no doubts- it had been my dream to move here for 16 years before making the plunge– but I still felt nervous. I remembered reading this quote from The Dawn-Breakers: “Trust firmly in your luck, cling to your happiness and dare to take risks. They will see you and learn to accept you.” Those words gave me comfort and I vowed to abide by them as I embarked on my new journey.
When you take a huge risk and move away from virtually everyone you love and start life all over again, you can’t expect to be the same. Spending a lot of time alone in a new city forces you to reflect in an entirely different way. Suppressing the things you hate about yourself is no longer an option; you must face them and fix them. Sometimes I am not sure if New York changed me, or if it just opened a part of my brain that I had not exercised yet. What we are exposed to shapes our views on everything- politics, religion, culture… so moving to New York almost instantly starts to re-shape how you see and understand the world around you, and how you understand yourself. In a way, submerging yourself in New York City is a hands-on version of getting your master’s degree in culture.
The most beautiful and interesting part of this city is how the people all work together. There are more than 800 different languages spoken. People of all different shapes, colors, and religions share transportation, restaurants, sidewalks, challenging weather conditions, you name it. These shared experiences break down the language barriers and force you to see everyone just as they are- human beings. Because no matter where you came from or what language you speak, most likely the subway or the weather has pissed you off in the past week, so you automatically have something in common with 10 million other people. On the other hand, you have similar pleasant experiences… like that moment when you are taking a stroll by the Hudson River and the majestic Statue of Liberty comes into view. Or when you look out the window and see the first snowfall of winter. The feeling is somewhat indescribable, but the thought that comes to mind is “I can’t believe I live here.” Your chest tightens and it somewhat takes your breath. People who have lived here their whole lives tell me that still get that feeling. In that moment, even if New York has beaten you up in that week, it’s all worth it.
Living here is certainly not always a walk in Central Park (see what I did there?). When I moved here, I was mostly alone. I wasn’t in love with my job. I didn’t know and still don’t know exactly how to make a mark here. But I trust in my luck, I do things that will make me happy, and I continue to take risks in order to pursue that happiness. I met my boyfriend here, I have a great group of friends, and I have a job that I like. I hope that as my life progresses I continue to dream about the future, because what I have proved to myself is that I actually can achieve my dreams. It is a comforting thought knowing that I have the power within myself to create a beautiful life. This blog is going to be me reflecting on the past year and the adventures ahead.
Looking forward to the next year.