I wasn’t one of those people who moved to New York City on a whim, nor did I have a lifelong dream of living in the Big Apple. To be honest, I still don’t tout NYC as being “the best city in the world,” just because I’ve lived in and traveled to some incredible places over the years. Before moving here, I always knew I’d like living in Manhattan and that life would never be boring. What I wasn’t prepared for, was accidentally falling in love with New York.
Many New Yorkers can pinpoint the exact moment when they fell in love with the city. I’m not one of them. My experience was more like a slow boil. It’s like when we start dating or talking to someone new, casually and without any expectations whatsoever. Then suddenly, something hits us and we think, “Uh-oh, I’m in trouble,” realizing we care about that person more than we had anticipated.
My decision to move to the big city was based solely on pursuing my music career. I had a few friends from college who moved here as well, so I didn’t have to start from scratch in terms of social relationships. Everything else, however, I had to figure out on my own. I had to make my own industry connections, I had to figure out how to make a living working for myself, and I had to learn how to get out of several sticky situations that don’t happen as often in suburbia or the countryside. In hindsight, I think it was the process of learning some tough lessons through firsthand experience that made me accidentally fall in love with NYC. Pair that with the wonderful element of surprise, and falling in love with New York was inevitable.
I never expected to meet such amazing people and develop even closer connections with the friends I already had. I never expected my writing would be regularly published in a print magazine and distributed around the world. I never expected my music to be playing in an Upper East Side bar. And I never expected to have this much of a sense of belonging. In my book, that makes all the hardships and sacrifices that come with living in NYC worth it.
When I’m in the thick of the daily grind, working odd hours and doing whatever I have to do to get by, it’s easy to take all that great stuff for granted. But when I stop for a minute, it’s almost overwhelming to think how my life here is fully and completely mine – and I would never have had these experiences or this life if it weren’t for New York. It’s crazy what this city can offer and teach us when we’re willing to leave our comfort zones and forfeit a certain standard of stability. I learned how to speak up for myself. I learned where my moral boundaries lie when it comes to what I’ll do to get ahead. And I learned that even if life doesn’t happen the way I mapped it out, I’m tough and smart enough to figure out another route.
Although I knew, cognitively, that life in NYC would be an unforgettable adventure, I had no idea it would be this epic. No matter where I live, I’m always going to be in love with New York.
Also, some people fall in love with New York, but then choose to leave the city. Plus, becoming a New Yorker, when does it happen? And, loving life in Manhattan years after moving.