When I arrived to New York City, eleven months ago, I arrived with a sense of urgency and passion. I was fresh out of college, and had always dreamed that New York City would be my next step. It is filled with infinite inspiration, and populated with people who are following and achieving dreams. I wanted to be one of those people, and I was excited to get here and hit the ground running. Eleven months later, I can certainly say that I hit the ground running; however, it looks very different from the strong long strides that I had imagined.
The transition of moving to New York City post-college certainly wasn’t expected to be an easy one. I pictured family and friends saying: “Oh you’re moving to New York? That’s great!” This response would then be followed by the (innocent and obvious) question of, “Do you have a job lined up?” Realizing this, I felt they were expecting to hear about some really great opportunity, and I knew that my honest reply of, “No, I don’t have a job… or an apartment…but I do have a plane ticket?” didn’t really seem like something that would elicit an encouraging response.
So, to prepare a comeback for these conversations that would start pouring in as my spring semester came to a close, I prepared what my naturally positive self called, “the silver-lined-ready” responses. “No… I don’t have a job, but honestly, I’m not worried about it!” or “No… I don’t have a job, but I have a lot of connections and I feel really confident that I will find something!” or (my favorite), “No…I don’t have a job, but I’m actually really excited about the unknown – it’s kinda the beauty of it!” I repeated these responses over and over again in my head, and I told myself that no matter what, I had to say and think these things with confidence. It’s what some might call “the fake it until you make it” mentality.
But to be quite honest, naturally, in my mind, I was terrified. It was me, by myself, moving to New York City. I was a native-born and raised Texas girl who was schooled in the rustic mountains of Colorado and in the homey city of Boston…What made me think I could move to NYC and hit the ground running? Thankfully, I knew some people in New York already…but still.
Going from “sheltered college student,” who lives in the dorms, pays with “board bucks,” and has a great spiritual community of friends, to a “newcomer New Yorker” who gets the dream job, with stable income, finds an apartment, and knows the ways of the city, in STAT amount of time, was sort of (understandably) daunting.
On the lowest of days heading toward the impending graduation date, I imagined the unfolding scenario to be much like that of a little bird, who is just about to leave the safety of her sheltered nest, to venture out into the world on her own, jumping, so excited, then WHOOSH, free-falling 150 miles/hour towards the ground, without any idea how to fly or land or stop.
But I continued what I thought at the time was the “fake it until you make it” mentality. I kept my plane ticket for my planned June 1st date, secured an apartment four days before my flight, networked like crazy, found a job exactly one month after moving, started riding my bike to work from Brooklyn to Manhattan after two months, and got plugged into a church home-base within three months. Looking back, I realize that all of these things (and the dozens of challenges I’ve tried and overcome since) didn’t happen because of the “fake it until you make it” mentality. Sure, it took some gutsy confidence. But I now realize that it wasn’t any kind of “fake” confidence at all. It was a real confidence. A confidence in knowing that God had a path and a hope for me.
Since my move, I’ve realized that I overcame the things I did because I was willing to trust God with my path. I was open to opportunities that so often do happen in New York, and I was open to the idea that the path might not look exactly as I’d envisioned.
The question I asked myself when I started writing this was, “What did the transition of moving to New York City look like?” I had hoped before the move that I could compile a list of five-ten things to do to master this great city. Honestly, I can’t give offer a list of answers.
It looks different for each person. For one close friend, it took a year to find a secure job; for another friend, it took only days to find a nourishing spiritual community. However, at the core of the matter, I think a successful move and transition to New York has to do with a calm and strong understanding that God has your path at the forefront of His mind. If you are open to that, to Him, and to the opportunities and people that he presents to your life (especially in New York City – there are founts of inspiring people!), then you can take some comfort in the unknown. You can take comfort in not having all the perfect answers. You can take comfort in knowing that if you give your best to each day, then you will “make it,” because you will be living in God, with God.
One year later, and I still remember how that gutted feeling of free falling and failing felt in my stomach. And yet, one year later, I am still alive, and I’d say I’m beginning to thrive. Granted, I’m still learning and still trying to find my path, my purpose, and what that even looks like exactly. But my confidence in God’s plan and in the inspiration that I knew existed in New York City drive me to keep going, to keep learning, and to keep adapting.
Marissa is a 22-year-old Millennial who grew up knowing her path would one day take her to New York City. Passionate and eager to learn, she is currently discovering her path towards her dream career. She knows it lies somewhere in the intersection of documentary media, social advocacy, and culture. She spends her free time co-leading the Brooklyn Chapter of Back on My Feet, a nonprofit running club; cooking and hosting dinner parties; and discovering new parks, museums, and coffee shops in the city.