Moving to New York: Five Month Update

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I’m sitting in my favorite little cafe below my apartment building. The manager greets me with a warm smile as I settle into “my seat” and we briefly catch up. He promises to come back when there is more time and I crack open my laptop for an evening of writing.

To the day, it is officially five months since I moved to New York City — the big apple, the big city of hustle and grind, the city that never sleeps. In one sentence, it has been nothing short of a whirlwind of an adventure here: I dated. I fell in love. I found the man of my dreams. I explored the city. I made friends. I lost friends. I lost weight (thank you stress). I gained weight (thank you NY pizza).

Last week, I moved out of my subleased studio and signed an one year lease in a fancy skyscraper apartment complex. Yes, as the rumors go, the rent is ridiculous here. Yes, the weather is freezing and I can’t feel my hands most of the time. Yes, I still feel lonely from time to time. All in all, though, I wouldn’t change my decision for the world.

This is why.

Moving here has taught me to trust my ability to survive and thrive without any support: Moving to a new city is like riding a roller coaster — there’s excitement and hope but there’s also fear and apprehension creating this nauseating mix of dread and thrill. Will you like the people? Will you make friends? Will you get homesick and move back? What if you hate everything about NYC? I had all of these thoughts and I delayed moving here for months, presenting excuses of high rent and better opportunities elsewhere. Between you and me, though, I was worried I wasn’t going to “make it” here. I was paralyzingly worried of failing.

I finally took the jump when I realized I was making myself miserable by notmoving here. I moved in July, with two suitcases and a duffel bag. Five months later, I bought three carts of IKEA furniture and decided that I was actually living for a while in NYC. It was such a relief to settle down somewhere after years of consulting.

For those of you debating a move, my word of advice is simple — if you want to move somewhere (anywhere), do it. Find a way to get yourself there initially (i.e. a job that you don’t love) and watch how things begin to align. Truth is, nothing will ever completely line up for you — there will never be a “perfect time” to make a move. You just have to do it. Step into the roller coaster. Buckle yourself in. Go for it. And watch how you survive and grow under pressure. You’re going to make it and the reality will be more glorious than you ever imagined. Moving here, in the words of Beyonce, has shown me that, “…if there is one thing I’m willing to bet on, it’s myself”.

The opportunities here are ridiculous: Truth is, NYC was the next best career move for me — I am surrounded by opportunities, literally rubbing elbows with them on the subway everyday. New York city has provided me with unlimited resources to pursue anything I want — it’s like a candy shop for any career. Interested in finance? Get into banking. Love medicine? Attend any top school or work for a major hospital here. Enjoy start ups? Lucky for you, new businesses are opening up every few seconds in NYC in almost every business sector. The possibilities here are seemingly endless: Just this past month, I was offered a communications director position at a startup that blends mindfulness with yoga and meditation. Last week, I met a woman pioneering HIV research in South Africa. A few days ago, I was asked to create contraception curriculum for rural areas in South Asia. I was promoted while bowling last night. I am constantly struck and amazed by the hustle of those in NYC — this city doesn’t stop and it inspires you to do more, do better with your own hustle. It constantly asks you, ‘what more can you do with your life?’ It’s addicting. I wake up everyday wanting to do more.

Being alone has taught me to love the hustle: One of the reasons I left Los Angeles was to get away from the normalcy and suffocating routine of my hometown. I left everything behind. The payoff was being completely alone. In exchange for family and close friends, I had an empty apartment, solo meals and days on end without close company. I watched the rise and fall of the sun from my apartment with no human contact within twenty four to forty eight hour time spans. With that solidarity, I exploited and maximized my time to do everything I’ve ever wanted to do — I did whatever I wanted to do, over and over again, risking failure and relishing the opportunity to do something new every day. Moving here gave me the privilege of being alone for a few years to pursue my dreams rather than risk regretting not doing something before marriage and kids.

Moving to New York also put into context how much I’ve changed and grown over the past few years: When I first moved here, I reached out to preexisting friendships and began meeting friends I knew from high school and college. There was one college who was going through a rough patch when I moved here: he was going through some relationship troubles at the time and needed an ear and friend to support him. I listened, went to his play, supported him and even asked to be trained by him. When I mentioned I wasn’t able to train with him, unable to cough up $700 at the time for a few sessions, he implied that I was playing games. Some more passive aggressive texts followed from him. Looking at the blatant disrespect and rudeness, I decided that this was it for us. I ignored subsequent texts from him when he apologized. I realized that my tolerance for new friendships was very low — I already had a group of five close friends I grew up with and their constant support, respect and patience was what I expected out of future friendships. Anything less was not worth my time. I had changed and it was all for the better.

I learned to let go of control and let life happen: Moving to New York taught me to embrace the life I’m living. Granted, my life is nowhere near what I had expected when I was eleven planning out my life (i.e. residency at 22 and a marriage at 26) but it is exactly the adventure I had hoped for.

I sincerely believe everyday is a gift when I wake up: everything I had ever worked hard for is at my disposal — from my view to my furniture, my apartment is put together solely by me, each IKEA furniture put together by my own blood, sweat and tears. I work on projects that have a greater purpose. I run full speed for miles across the streets of New York, between skyscrapers and waterfronts, past crowds, cabs and carts. I thrive off the sense of exhilaration of being completely free. I love the feeling of coming home, walking down my long hallway with pictures of family and falling asleep alone to a view of the city. I love being completely alone, feeling at peace with my own company. I fell in love with my own life and NYC was the perfect place to find myself again and launch the next phase of my life.


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