Three years ago today, I moved here on little more than a whim–something to do post-graduation, something to give myself. It was an opportunity as much as it was a challenge. I didn’t want to stay in Provo. I didn’t want to settle for some whatever job. I didn’t want to look back at my life and wonder why I hadn’t tried. I didn’t want to think I couldn’t do it. So I did it.
In a letter to my little sister right before I moved, way back in August of 2013–when I was 22 and jaded and graduating and scared about the big world I was suddenly meant to inhabit for real–I wrote “So, yeah, New York. I have no idea if I’ll like it. I mean, chances are I won’t. There’s lots against it. It’s expensive. It’s far away. It’s dirty. And it’s gonna get cold. But the thing is, even if I hate it, it’s all mine. Like my life, my choice, my dreams. I think I’ll like living like that: for me.”
And I was right: I hate it and I love it. But mostly, I love it. I love the way it feels familiar. I love the pride that comes with having (if I may be so bold) made it. And I love the way it so quickly became home.
I remember the terror when I first arrived. I couldn’t find a place, a job, friends. It was loud and expensive and lonely. My family was two hours behind but I felt light-years away, sure that I had made the biggest mistake of my life. But then I found a place, I foraged for friends, I tried my hand at figuring out a career. Within a few months, I felt settled. I felt rooted in something so entirely mine. And somehow, someway, I figured it out.
Not easily. And not perfectly. I had good times and bad times, but that’s life. New York is not perfect. I mean, it’s not like I made more working here than I would have anywhere else (LOL). The city tax is debilitating. There’s absolutely nowhere affordable to get a haircut. Apartments are old, rats abound, laundromats are a given. It’s cold and then it’s hot and then it’s blistering cold. Everyone is loud and impatient and absolutely frantic. There are so many people. There is so little space. But for some reason…it’s this magical place where dreams happen.
I can’t believe it’s been three years. And I definitely can’t believe it’s ending so soon. But we’re not getting into that right now! This is a celebration. An anniversary. A nostalgic looking back on the years I’ve managed to collect in this, the greatest city in the world.
I’m so glad I’ve had three years here. Three years of the best ramen, the best donuts, the best autumns, the best people. There have been too many glittery nights, Times Square extravaganzas, roadtrips, concerts, and dollar slices to count. It’s been food on food on food always with dessert in between. I’ve had good days and bad days, but everything–from the hum of traffic to the sweaty subways, the laundromats and the double bags at Trader Joes–absolutely everything about this wondrous city makes even the mundane monumental. So here’s to the music, the dancing, the karaoke, the outdoor movies, the parks, the overpriced movies, the overpriced everything, the shows, the dance clubs, the bridges, the walks, the food carts, the museums, the shopping, the restaurant weeks, the driving range, the awkward dates, the good dates, the celebrities, the holidays, the photo ops, the friends.
The fact of the matter is you can fit a lot of life into three years. According to “Seasons of Love” math that’s 1,576,800 moments so dear. And I probably have about that many pictures to prove it. But here, a sampling from one year added:
And because I’m being a sentimental hag, here’s a special shout out to my OGs. Three years with these girls and…. I have no words, only love. And a lot, a lot of pictures. But don’t hate, appreciate.
Honestly, this day used to be my favorite day because I basically got to say how cool am I?! But now it’s a little bittersweet. Because it’s the last. Three years is all I get for now with this whole moving thing. But I’m so glad I made them count–that the people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had, the lessons I’ve learned…they’ve all been so utterly priceless.
And if you think this is sappy and sentimental, just you wait another two weeks when I have to say goodbye for real. I’m not ready. You’re not ready. Nobody is ready. But this, this is just the beginning.