I have no idea how to start this so I’m going to explain it like a fairy tale (because that is exactly how feels). This is a long post written mainly for myself and my mind’s musings…you were warned.
Once upon a time (also known as November 2012), I spontaneously bought plane tickets to New York City in order to finally visit a city I’ve only seen in movies and photos. The trip was short and sweet but it made a lasting impression on me. As I walked down the crowded/dirty/noisy/vibrant streets I felt more alive than I did all year. 2012 was an extraordinarily tough year on my well-being so the sudden rejuvenation created a connection unlike one I experienced in Chicago. I started smiling, dreaming, laughing, hoping, wishing, expecting again. It was an awakening of sorts.
I once told someone that I was afraid to visit NYC – that I knew I would fall in love with the city and want to move there. “’I’m afraid of this happening” I told him, not fully realizing the truth behind the simple confession. It sounds silly but I always suspected there was a reason it took me basically my entire life to visit the big city. For whatever reason, the universe wanted me to wait until I was ready. This brings me back to my earlier point…deep down I knew that once I got a taste of the Big Apple I wouldn’t stop until I ended up there.
And there is exactly where I will be starting June 15th.
You read that right…I’m moving to New York City!!!
I’ve being dropping tiny hints here and there, but now I can finally reveal the truth. It’s been a long time in the making. What started as a desire to simply find a project and travel weekly to the big city quickly escalated to a full-blown desire to permanently relocate. There were many factors working against me but the universe conspired to make it work out in the end. I’m lucky to work for a global company with offices all over the United States and the world, so transferring is always an option. I’ve been waiting for months regarding the transfer (it’s tough to get approval) and as of last month I found out the incredible news – my transfer request was approved!
What was once simply a bold declaration to my family and friends became reality with one email. In all honesty I think the majority of people didn’t fully believe me. I mean, we all dream big and fantasize to others but how often do we follow through and actually turn hopes into reality?
I came across a quote last week that summed up my exact feelings and put my fearful mind at ease: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.” I’ll be the first to admit that I am completely utterly fully terrified about moving. I know about four people total in or near the city and have reached out to all of them. Ok ok, so terrified isn’t a great word because I’m not actually fearing for my life or well-being or anything of the sort. I’m scared but who wouldn’t be? This will be the biggest change I have ever made in my life and I’m taking it on alone (with support from my family and friends of course).
To put it simply – I’m starting from zero. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Out of the many people I told about my sudden relocation, only two asked me the true question…what am I running from? Oh how I needed to be asked that question and oh how I wish I knew the answer. After further investigation I concluded that it’s not something I’m running from, but something I’m running to. Lately, I crave change more than I crave chocolate and just about anything. I don’t want to wake up one day and realize that I never attempted to conquer the desires floating around in my heart. With every birthday the feeling of life passing by grows stronger and more profound.
I’m still young but there is so much I still want to do in my life. This is my year. It sounds selfish but this is the year I live for me and no one else. I want to grow and develop myself, get to know who I am, and rebuild the self-love I seemed to let slip away in the past few years. Only then can I whole-heartedly give myself to others. There is nothing to fear – I’m young, capable, responsible, uncommitted, and free. The only question is, why not? I’m moving quite simply because I want to and because I can.
But it’s not that simple and it’s taken me months to figure out exactly why I was doing this. I’m lucky to have someone incredibly special and close to my heart to turn to when perspective and/or a reality check is needed. On a particularly emotional day, one where my head was filled with doubts about the move and I battled to hold back tears while at work all day, I texted him because it felt right. It was the first time I confessed my fear to anyone. In reciprocation he gave me exactly what I needed to hear from everyone around me – that I made the right decision and was doing the right thing by moving. So simple. I didn’t even ask him…I just confessed and with one concise text message he blew my fears away. He put everything in perspective for me in minutes and I immediately knew he was right.
I feel as if I already conquered Chicago/the Midwest. I lived here, went to school here, found my comfort zone here. But that’s just it – life is about challenging yourself. We are meant to push ourselves and see what we’re capable of. Challenges help us grow into who we’re meant to be. That’s why I feel an insatiable urge for change. That’s why I’m moving. I can’t deny that I’ve had it easy most of my life and now I want to struggle a bit. I want to feel what it’s like to step outside my comfort bubble. I want to challenge myself down to my core and then bounce back stronger than before. I want to feel alive with every emotion ranging from euphoria to despair. I want to understand life’s spectrum and become in tune with it and in sync with myself.
I can only guess how many more days like this I will experience during my first few months alone in the city. I’m staying realistic and I know what to expect – I’m not looking for some Sex and the City fairytale. This is by far the scariest and boldest thing I have ever done and I can’t believe I haven’t convinced myself out of it yet. New York certainly isn’t for everyone…some love it, others hate it. Heck, it might end up not being for me but it’s worth giving a chance.
Chicago, thank you for all the memories and the wonderful relationships you helped me build. My life truly started in this city and I’m sure I’ll return one day when the craving strikes. But for now, see ya from the east coast!