In 23 days I will be leaving New York and moving to Paris. Everyone I tell keeps asking me why I made this drastic, somewhat random decision. My answer is “Why not?”. I have been in New York City for a little over three years now…maybe I will come back, maybe I wont. What I do know is it has been the most amazing, difficult, eye-opening chapter of my life. The first real chapter. I also know there is no sense in making long-term plans, because life is insane and will basically never, ever roll out how you expect it to.
I am completely overwhelmed by excitement, nervousness, sadness and joy. This is the first time I have truly thrown caution to the wind and made a decision that was 100% my own.
I have weaknesses aplenty. One of my most significant struggles has been learning to thrive in a, often times, vicious environment as an independent, single woman. I have grown significantly, but I have always had a hard time making choices on my own. I hate being by myself. By nature, I tend to find myself feeling lonely more often than most people I know.
Fortunately, I have an amazing group of friends (these two included — mad love Erica and Stacey) who have helped mold me into the stronger person I am today – a person I am actually proud of. I know that, no matter where in the world I am living, they will always have my back. I am very lucky…no reason to feel lonely.
NYC has taught me so much about myself and the person I, one day, hope to grow into. I have crashed and burned, and then learned to get back up on my fucking feet…to view every single “negative” experience as a lesson. I have learned to see the silver lining. And for me that practice alone is actually golden.
I caught up with a close friend recently over brunch, during which he told me he had distanced himself because everything felt broken. He has been having a really tough time (I think it has been a tough winter for a lot of us, unfortunately). But instead of sitting there and throwing some never-ending pity party, he decided to share with me his turning point — I found it to be simple, inspiring, and tremendously beautiful…
He said he couldn’t remember the last time he had looked up at the sky. But then then one day he did…maybe to check and see if it was still there, or because he was starting to forget what the sun looks like; perhaps he just decided to allow himself a quick time-out from negative energy that was consuming him (an energy that so many of us, myself included, have a tendency to give entirely too much power). Whatever the reason, he did look up. And when he did, making this conscious decision to free himself from a trap that is much easier to fall into than it is to escape, what he saw was a small break in the clouds. It was really tiny, but it was there. And then he saw a RAINBOW.
Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that keep us going…like remembering to look up at the sky. Think of the endless possibilities. Of “infinity”. Think of what life could be if we just took that extra effort to make a few small adjustments.
Life is really crazy, isn’t it? This is why I have decided to be a little crazy with it. To take insane, impractical risks and get used to rolling with the punches. Some things can be controlled, and other things cannot. All I know is I don’t want to be on my death bead wishing that I’d done something I could have, but passed up out of fear.
Like I said before, New York has changed me a lot. I have myself to thank for some of it, my experiences to thank for other parts, but most of all, I have my friends and family to thank. These are the people who have taught me the most valuable lessons, reminded me what is actually important in life, and provided endless love and support along the way.
Even though I don’t always like being “by myself”, fortunately I now know that I never really have to be. This is a sense of security that breeds bravery, courage, and personal growth. So, I will go to sleep each night thanking my lucky stars, and do my best wake up every morning and look up for that break in the clouds. Some days I will see a rainbow, others it may be too tough to find…but I can continue to move forward because, even if I am standing in the middle of a snowstorm, I know I am not standing there alone.
*photography by Spencer Kohn