What I Learned From My Brief Affair With New York City
August 17, 2005. The day I moved to New York City and the day my life would change forever, or so I thought. And it did, but not for reasons I had anticipated.
Growing up in a small town, I wanted more — more diversity, more culture, places I hadn’t seen before and people I had yet to meet. In my magazine-collaged bedroom walls marked with an underlying mix of designer perfumes and a tinge of teenage girl angst, I found my answer in New York, the most fabulous place on Earth. Or so I thought.
I decided to visit New York for the first time only after I got my acceptance letter to a fashion school in the Big Apple.
I dreamt in Gossip Girl filters. Runway shows, Louboutins, strutting through Central Park, celebrity watching and afternoons spent at the MoMA. What I got instead was a caffeinated dose of reality: public transportation, the stench of urine, homeless men yelling obscenities, and homesickness. I lasted for barely three months and transferred out after first semester.
I was 17 years old and the city was eating me alive, or so I thought.
Almost 10 years later, I realize that August 17, 2005 changed my life not just because of New York in particular. It was the first time in my life I had decided, as an individual, to do something with my life that was risky and a little out of the ordinary. (This led to many other leaps of faith throughout my life.) I didn’t ask permission and I didn’t care what people thought, I just went for it and let the experience play out, for better or for worse.
As we get older, we look back at our younger years with magic in our eyes. And too often, we forget that what we truly want is ours for the taking. We overthink, we overanalyze, we feel judged. So the next time you realize that you genuinely want something, take the jump. See where it takes you.
All you have to do is decide.
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