New York City is a wonderful place to live. Many times it is thought of as THE place to live. Not just by American standards, but internationally, too. For over a century people have looked to New York as the shining light at the end of the tunnel. The goal is to get there, make a life for yourself, because we all want to make it in New York City…
Isn’t that the dream?
That’s the dream I had. I first came here when I was fifteen or sixteen. My father thought it would be a good vacation for my mother and me to take with him. Family bonding. So off we went to the big city. I was so excited. I remember pulling up to our hotel that was smack dab in midtown, across from Madison Square Garden, and not even being able to comprehend what life must be like to live in this city. Everyone looked so glamorous and cool to me. I saw tall women with the longest legs wearing the prettiest dresses. I saw guys wearing their headphones, forcing their way through the crowd because they were natives, and they knew the streets well. They left all the tourists who were too terrified to cross the street when the red hand would start blinking in the dust.
I thought..”I want to be like that.”
I left NYC to go back to what I presumed to be a dull life in Virginia Beach, VA. I thought there was nothing there worth anything. Yeah we had a beach, and a tourist season… but we didn’t have rooftop parties going on every night, we didn’t have cool bands playing secret shows in warehouses! The closest thing we had were small house shows and hanging out at the boardwalk, hoping something fun and adventurous would come our way.
So I booked it from Virginia Beach. At the age of 22, after taking a few years off from school to try to “figure myself out” I decided to apply to Parsons. I thought, for some reason, that I needed to head to the biggest, best, most glamorous place I could reach. I remembered the tall women and the cool guys with headphones. I still thought.. “I want to be that”.
And now I’m here. Sometimes it feels surreal. I never thought in a million years that I’d be walking up and down these streets doing normal everyday things like buying groceries, or running to the laundromat. I never thought I’d understand the subway system, that I’d be able to navigate where I was going in the blink of an eye. I never thought I could do any of it. But I’m here, and I’m living it every second of the day. And you are about to, too.
I wanted to write this piece because if there is any advice I can give to those of you that I know have felt the same way, had the same dream, it’s this: cherish every moment you have here, but also take the time cherish every moment you have back home.
I went back to Virginia Beach recently, and the place I remember as being dull and outdated all of a sudden has this glimmer about it. New York City is fun, but it is tough. Not in a scary way- just in the most real of ways. Yes, there are those cool shows happening, and all of the best food, drinks, and sightseeing, but sometimes it’s easy to forget where you come from. The place I call home, that I thought lacked vigor and passion, is so special to me now. The funny thing is nothing about it changed. Only I did.
Understand that what you are about to do is an incredible step toward the rest of your life. And that it’s something to be excited about. Just remember to take these last moments to be grateful for the life you already have, along with your friends and family, too. Home isn’t about glamour, it’s about love. The funny thing is it took me chasing the former to realize I needed the latter.
Upon these realizations, I can’t help but I feel incredibly grateful because I have not only one, but two homes. And if I can feel this way about this place, who knows how many other homes I’ll get to have?
How many homes will you get to have?
…I think it’s as many as you want.
So get excited! New York is about to be added to that list. Just never forget who you are and where you come from, because that person and place is lovelier than you think.
Also, if anyone ever needs advice, is feeling overwhelmed, or just wants to blab about how much you love your new city once you move up, know that we’re all here to lend an ear. After all, we’re all in this together.
Until next time,