This post originally appeared on the 40:20 Vision.
I was recently told “True New Yorkers are the ones who chose to come to New York. The ones who left their families and support networks to be in the city. They’re not just the ones who were born and raised here.”
When I started dreaming about moving to New York City that’s all I thought it would be – a dream. I had never lived away from my family and friends. I was even nervous to share this dream with people – because the more people I told, the more people there were to hold me accountable.
As I landed a dream gig, found an apartment in my top area of Manhattan and packed up my belongings, I kept waiting for the catch. It shouldn’t be this easy.
They say everyone has a “Welcome to New York” story. Mine came in the form of a stolen wallet and iPhone my first month here. Next the struggle to have enough money for bills and for fun became apparent quite quickly. I call that the “Are you sure to want to be in New York?” story.
But even in the midst of stolen items or when money is tight I try not to complain. Because this is what I chose. And as a result, I’ve become a smarter person. A more determined person. A person who will be able to say I looked my biggest fear in the face and took it head on. A person with stories of tough times and sad days, but more importantly a person with unparalleled life lessons and rockstar nights.
My brother got engaged this year. My sister got engaged this year. And I moved to a city where I knew one person. I don’t compare myself to them – I look at their current situations and think, “Here’s to different life plans.”
Throughout my first year the hard times kept me grounded. They reminded of my choice. They also set me up to appreciate the good parts more than most would. Here’s to gaining more smarts, more determination and even more lessons in the year to come.
The 20:40 – What choices have defined you? If they’re not creating the life you imagined it may be time to start choosing differently.
Stephanie Florence is a 20-something who can talk to a brick wall and dance to a kazoo. On every day that ends in “y” you can find Stephanie meeting people, telling exceedingly long stories and taking the approach of a student…always. Find her “Going with the Flo” at stephanieflo.com.