I’ve been laying low on the blog front, but doing the exact opposite in my every day. I’ve taken the last few weeks to reflect on my writing to date, to imagine where it will go in the future and to truly experience the present. I realized I was going into situations thinking to myself, how can I write about this later? As a “student always” I will maintain that curiosity, but focus instead on being fully present in the moments.
I find it hard to believe, but I’ve been in this place they call the Big Apple for 6 months. Since moving I regularly say that ‘every day is a good day,’ but I would be lying if I didn’t acknowledge the lows along with the highs. In reflecting on the past 6 months, 6 key lessons have emerged.
I lost a lot. People say you can start a conversation with anyone in New York by asking how they got here. Inevitably it’s a story filled with struggles that test our abilities to keep pushing forward.
In my first few months I lost my Auntie Stephanie and pup Tequila to heaven’s pearly gates. My iPhone and wallet were stolen and I literally lost my way (gets tricky in a new city without a superphone, aka smartphone). It was difficult dealing with the passings and setbacks in a new city, but I knew I could only allow myself a certain amount of time to be sad. Lesson 1: Dwelling on the negative only keeps you from enjoying the positive.
I was trusted as a professional. On the side hustle front, entrepreneur friends have turned to me for counsel and some even want to pay me! In my day job I take an active role in my clients’ programs and I’m called on to support projects outside my regular accounts. I’m serving as the Operations Manager for an internal initiative that strives to equal the male-female ration in leadership positions and provides support for employees on their way up. (This program is also the catalyst for my high five with the company’s CEO/President! Side lesson: It pays to speak up in the elevator about your enthusiasm for a program.) Lesson 2: Go after the work that excites you, challenges you and most importantly, scares you. Push yourself to do the things you think you cannot do.
I had to ask for money. It’s hard to admit this, but definitely a part of my New York makeup. I realized how quickly money goes here and when you factor in the unexpected – like replacing a laptop – the challenge becomes greater. From babysitting to bartending (can you see me serving up cocktails?) to reinventing my first biz of start to finish party services, I’m planning ahead so I don’t find myself in a similar situation. Lesson 3: Get smart with the dollars and remain grateful for your support system.
I met a guy. For the first time in a while, I really liked someone. We didn’t have a lot of time to spend together before he headed off on an adventure so we packed everything in over the course of one month. Lesson 4: The length of time you know a person means nothing when it comes to making a true connection. I expected this notion from my social media connections (it’s easy to make fast friends with shared interests via Twitter, for example), but not from a person I wanted to date and one I initially met in real life. I grew up thinking I had to follow this drawn out path to find that connection, when really; two people just need to be open at the same time. Who knows what’s to come, but I look at the situation knowing I’ve come away a better person just by being a part of it.
I made new friends, but kept the old. (As the Girl Scouts’ song goes…) I joined a non-profit. I attended networking events. I took yoga classes. I picked up girls at parties. I put myself out there. The people I’ve met have been the main reason I’ve experienced a seamless transition.
On the other hand, I Skyped for hours. I mailed postcards. I sent 1,300 texts in a month (yes, it is somehow possible on a stupidphone). I hosted 8 visitors (with more on the way!) I made time for phone calls and avoided multitasking during them so I could truly listen and be a part of each conversation. I’m still working at how to perfect the keeping in touch. Lesson 5: Moving to a new city tests your ability for meeting people while it challenges your creativity for staying in touch with those back home. Both remind me the most important parts of your life are defined by the people you choose to have in it.
I left my comfort zone. For 25 years I lived in the same state and never more than two hours away from the house where I was raised. Some people make big moves for college while others take the leap following graduation. I needed a little more time to fully commit to a big transition. I struggled in the past with change, and I’m still learning how to handle it, but I’m comfortable with it being a work in progress. Lesson 6: When a change is the right one for you, you won’t have any doubts about making that leap.
Here’s to the lessons to come.
Regardless of location, do you have any “coming to New York” stories or lessons to share? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.