Three years ago, I moved from a slow town in the deep south to New York City. The decision to move and the following transition to city life was without a doubt one of the toughest times I’ve ever faced in my life. Sure, I was excited and eager to move. I talked about it for years before I took the plunge. And I knew the opportunity awaiting me was what I needed for my life. But after I arrived in New York, I mostly remember being occupied with fear and grief, for the first few months here, despite being around friends and moving with my partner.
Before I moved, I sought out all types of advice and information about life in the city, but despite it all, no one could have prepared me for the challenges and changes I faced every day during my first year.Transitioning to New York can be tough, especially for ambitious, slightly-controlling, perfectionists like me. It felt like all the rules of everyday engagement and laws of the universe no longer applied. In a word, NYC felt lawless.
When I told people I was moving to New York, many of them called me brave. And when things were bad my first year here, I tried to hold onto that. But really, I never felt brave, just stupid. I’d constantly ask myself, “Why did I leave such a good life?” Now, I know what I missed wasn’t a good life, but an easy life. The truth was, my life wasn’t that great. I would wax poetic about the simple, small acts of my old life, like driving your groceries home in a car. And while the small conveniences of living in suburbia were nice, they weren’t enough to provide me with the satisfaction that comes from growth.
The things I did find in New York – the opportunities and adventure, the interactions that pushed the limits of my cultural understanding and sympathy, and all the things that made me want to move here in the first place – career potential, diversity, city amusements – made my life tremendously more meaningful. At some point, the city beats everyone down and there were times when I wanted to pack it all up and go back home. Fortunately, my stubborn determination kept me from throwing in the towel and now, three years later, I can’t imagine living any other way. I have a very satisfying job, a happy relationship, and am love with my little corner of Brooklyn!
More than half of New York City’s population are transplants. We all have our different reasons for why we were drawn here and why we choose to tough it out and stay here. A lot of the NYC-based lifestyle blogs I’ve read often idealize life in New York City. And while it’s nice to think that your life in New York will mean living in a quiet brownstone with frequent trips to the neighborhood bagel shop, the reality – especially for young, single women – can be entirely different.
Being ambitious can be isolating, especially in a new and overwhelming place. So I’ve created this space to share my story and the story of other brave women who have found success and happiness in the city where dreams come true. I hope you’ll follow along.
(featured image via Thomas Hawk)