Let's Hear It For...
New York, NY, the vibrant, jam-packed city notorious for its hustle, bustle and 5 a.m. pizza finds. It's also the place where I first took a long, deep inhale of muggy manhole steam and thought, "I'm home."
New York has been on my radar since I was a child. New York was watching "Good Morning America" every Saturday morning with my family, in awe of the enormous backdrop Times Square supplied for its anchors. I was always envious of the pedestrians waving their signs for the camera, seemingly minuscule in comparison to the ever-changing digital billboards behind them.
New York was spending every New Years Eve watching the ball drop in harmony with Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest's voices, as they counted down the seconds until midnight. The hosts would be situated outside in freezing temperatures, breath visibly cascading out of their mouths. Yet, they always looked so happy.
New York was growing up in a sports-obsessed household where we would watch and attend Major League Baseball games regularly. I'll forever be fascinated with the New York Yankees' uniforms, their navy blue and white pinstripe pants complimenting the rich, freshly-cut grass they play baseball on. To me, these details define the patriotic spirit of America.
I wanted to be there.
On my 21st birthday, my life-long dream came true. At 12 a.m. on August 23, 2016, I landed at the JFK airport in New York City. I will never forget stepping off of that plane and into New York's brightly lit, sparkling sky. Now that is how you begin a birthday.
As luck would have it, I met some of my best friends while studying abroad in Sydney, Australia the year before. One of them, Sara, a New York native, volunteered to play tour guide for the week. I joined her, plus two of our other friends from Canada, for seven days of sight-seeing, jaw-dropping unfiltered 21st birthday madness.
The next week was spent in upstate New York, Long Island area and of course, all around Manhattan and Brooklyn. My phone was unfortunately involved in a system malfunction months later, so only a handful of photos survived. Nonetheless, pictures nor words can truly describe the feeling I had when departing the Big Apple. Usually, a planned destination is flooded with expectation prior to the trip. New York was the first (and only) destination I've traveled to where I felt as if reality exceeded expectation. The energy within this city is something you cannot photograph, it's a f e e l i n g. The day I returned to California, I made a promise to myself:
"You will turn 23, on August 23, 2018 - in New York."
I needed to be there.
After that initial trip, the thought of me nestled in a small apartment in the city, surrounded by like-minded individuals, was playing on loop in my head - every hour of the day. I was doing well as a recent college graduate. As of February 2018, I had just returned from a two week vacation in Australia. I was living in the heart of Sacramento, within walking distance from everything. I had two jobs (one with a major tech company) and was also freelancing on the side. But... something was still off. I didn't feel content, and I certainly was not satisfied.
Next thing I know, months have flown by and it's May. I'm on Google Flights scouring last-minute deals, scheduling my return to the East Coast. While I was excited to see my friends, this five-day trip was solely to network, browse and explore my options. I knew New York's honeymoon period had worn off, having experienced that firsthand months before in Sydney. I also knew I needed to experience the Big Apple again before deciding to up and move to the other side of the country.
"Am I really going to do this?"
My trip to the East Coast was nothing short of fulfilling. I was able find the determination needed in order to make a drastic, yet realistic move. I was ready.
I will be there.
Two days ago, I moved out of Sacramento. I didn't renew my lease, quit both my jobs, packed my bags and left. I knew if now wasn't the right time, no time would ever be. I am (almost literally) heading to the East Coast on a dollar and a dream. But, I am DOING IT. The first, but biggest, step in the process.
At times, I didn't think I could do it. There were a lot of hiccups and misfortunes along the way - and I'm still not in New York. When I found myself influenced by others, I was led astray and left aloof. I questionably let trusted friends and colleagues' opinions inhibit my drive, yet would scoff at strangers who told me, "You're going to do great."
I recently got approved for a rental in Brooklyn, and interview requests are starting to trickle into my inbox. These things are wonderful, but they can also change in the blink of the eye. Persistence and perseverance, on the other hand, are things I can carry with me for life.
Whatever will be, will be.
I am there.
I hope if you're reading this, somewhere, sometime, some place, this guides you to do whatever the f*ck it is you want to do, and to do it NOW. I don't write about my experiences to sound like a mediocre self-help book (though I do love 'em), but I was exposed to my truth through doing the unthinkable. It's uncomfortable. And it's hard. And it makes you feel crazy. But that's how you know it's worth it.
Gut instincts are real.
Energy is real.
Your life is real.
You are real.