I’ve heard people describe New York as a city filled with people who are rude, impatient, and always going somewhere in a hurry. But if you have never lived here than you have not had an opportunity to truly experience all that is wonderful about the city that never sleeps.
Day to day life in New York City is very different than what you see on TV or a quick weekend in Times Square, riding the hop on hop off bus around, being in awe of all the lights, and visiting all the popular tourist attractions.
There is a soul and heartbeat in this city that is forever engrained in my heart. Most people don’t know this about me, but I am actually a native New Yorker. I was born in Queens and lived there until I was six years old. My parents got a divorce and that’s ultimately how I ended up growing up in the suburbs of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex in Texas. So when you hear me speak and notice a bit of a Texas twang, that’s why.
While I mostly visited New York during the holidays growing up, I can honestly say that New York has always been in my soul. Growing up, I always felt a little different – like a fish out of water. It wasn’t that I had a hard time making friends or a rough childhood, but something in my spirit has always just been different. I was a super independent kid, a bit quiet as a child but always up to something and kind of just marched to the beat of my own drum. I also was pretty creative. You should see the dress I made out of a red garbage when I was younger. I was fresh even in my younger days. I think I have always had this energy and ambition in me thats larger than life. I’m a dream chaser, I’m a visionary, I’m an optimist and truly believe you can do anything you want and be whoever you want to be with a little grit, grind and hustle. It’s very much the spirit I have witnessed in New York City that I love so much.
You have those New Yorkers who were born and raised here and are never leaving, those that were born and raised here and can’t wait to get the hell out at some point and then there’s us – the transplants who didn’t grow up here but came to NYC chasing dreams, the next big opportunity, and a chance to be free to be who you are. New York in one word is MAGICAL and as the saying goes, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. It’s a place where you feel alive and witness the heartbeat of the city everyday. It’s a place to get inspired, meet interesting people, be exposed to art, different cultures and so much more. It’s a place that opens your mind and takes you out of your bubble, constantly reinforcing the fact that we are all just a melting pot of humans moving through each day from so many different walks of life and its these differences that we should embrace wholeheartedly. The energy here is electric and unlike anything I have ever experienced before. It makes you come alive and know that no dream is too big for you to conquer.
So when I was nearing the end of law school in Cleveland, Ohio and thinking about where I wanted to live, New York was really at the top of the list and the only place I could think of that made perfect sense. Law school was rough for me. I had a lot of inner turmoil going on back then. When I think back to that period in my life, I feel like the real me was trying to get out. I struggled quite a bit during law school when it came to what I wanted to do with my career. You would think that by going to law school the plan should have been obvious (like be a lawyer, duh) but for me it wasn’t that simple because during law school I had an epiphany and realized I had committed to a whole profession I wasnt even sure I wanted to actually be in long term. At 31 it was like everything I thought I had figured out about my life & career was turned on its head. But me being me at that time, I continued and completed my program anyway (and have a mountainous student loan to prove it).
I began to see myself in more of a creative space that would allow me to explore other opportunities that dealt with things I naturally enjoyed and was interested in like technology, digital media, fashion, home decor, visual design etc. I wanted a change of scenery because the thought of moving back to Texas did not appeal to me whatsoever, and I wanted to get exposed to more than what I had known at the time. I just started feeling like I was living in box, confining myself to everyone else’s standards and opinions of me and it was eating me up inside and I had no outlet to really share what I was feeling without feeling like I would be judged, criticized, looked at as a failure and every other negative thought someone could have about me. With graduation approaching, I knew I needed a fresh start and to be surrounded by things and people that could help renew my mindset, live more fearlessly and would allow me to just be myself.
So when my then husband (now my ex-husband) and I were considering where to move post law school, New York was it for me. While I wasn’t sure what exactly was happening to me during law school, I just knew something in me was stirring, was craving a different energy and new experiences beyond the boxes I had been use to checking my entire life.
New York has always been in my veins and is honestly the place I feel like I should have been a long time ago. But I am thankful that my need for something more in my life brought me here at the time it did. It’s opened my eyes to so much on both a professional and personal level. It’s been a place I experienced many joys, sadness, heartbreak, and failures as well as triumphs and has taught me that above all else to never stop chasing my dreams and the life I deserve. New York City has a way of growing you and stretching you outside of your comfort zone and I am so thankful for that. It’s given me so much and I am forever grateful to have the privilege to call it my home.
One thing I have vowed to do is to spend more time to get to know this city that I love so much. It’s been almost 7 years since I moved here but so much had happened in my life during a big portion of this time that I still feel like I just got here yesterday and still have so much to see and do. So part of this journey I am on will definitely include getting to know the city that has given me so much in just a few short years. I will be tracking and keeping up with my explorations right here so stay tuned. Until then, I will just end with one of my favorite songs that captures this amazing city best – Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys.
What’s been your experience either living in or visiting NYC? Drop me a message below and let me know what you loved.
Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind