I looked out my 31st floor window tonight into the glittering skyline of New York City. Even though I’ve lived in this apartment for close to 5 years, I’m still mesmerized by the beauty of the bright lights, big dreams, and peaceful Hudson River. There are times I can’t even believe that I live the life that I do.
How did I get so lucky? How did I get here?
I often think back to my first apartment in Manhattan 11 years ago. My bedroom was one of the smallest rooms I’d ever seen and the view was starkly different from my current one: two feet in front of my window was a brick wall of the adjacent building. I had absolutely no light coming into my room. Although the view left something to be desired, I didn’t really care. I was 22 years old, new to New York City, and was just glad to be here. Even the 4th floor walkup wasn’t a downer (to me anyways … out-of-town friends and family thought I was nuts for paying $950/month for a matchbox of a room). I knew in my heart I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
And I won’t wax nostalgic and say it was all roses … it wasn’t. There were times I wanted to pack up and go live an “easier” life back in Florida. I missed my friends. I missed driving. I missed the warmth. I missed the familiarity. I got tired of stressing out about money and not having enough. I got tired of working so much to get ahead. I didn’t have a lot of luck on the dating front. I felt a bit lost.
New York isn’t the easiest city to live in … only the strong survive. And that, my friend, is what I’m most grateful to my city for teaching me: how to be a survivor.
I learned to stick up for myself and ask for what I want. I learned to not take no for an answer. I learned that if I want something I’ve got to go and get it. I learned to take big leaps and not be afraid to fall. I learned to listen to and honor my truth. I learned to love. I learned to forgive myself. I learned to be still. I learned to listen to my heart. I learned.
This city has shaped me. This experience has changed me.
It’s no surprise really … just how much this location has affected the course of my life. Sure the choices I made over the last decade certainly play a role, too … but the majority of those choices were available to me because I was living here. Just seems that where you decide to live tells you so much about where you are in your life and what you value.
And I’m someplace else now. I’m in a completely new phase now than when I got here.
In 1999, I was a work-hard, play-hard college grad. Working crazy hours and partying ’til the wee hours: that’s how I spent my time. I loved the bigness of New York. It always kept me on my toes. I was never bored.
Fast forward to 2010. Now, I’m a wife, mother, entrepreneur and yogi. I crave quiet, not noise. I like space, order, room to breathe. I crave nature, air, trees. I want to learn to cook and have a big-enough kitchen to experiment. I actually like to be bored now because I know how to embrace stillness. A true Gemini, I also love adventure and seek it out often.
Change … it is a coming.
In 17 days, my view will be drastically different: in the place of skyscrapers, I’ll see huge green trees everywhere I look. And I’ll actually see the stars in the sky, something that doesn’t happen in Manhattan because it’s so bright here at night.
On a Tuesday in late September, I’m packing up my things and moving with my family two hours away to the Berkshires of Massachusetts. I’m excited, scared, curious, and still kinda in a state of disbelief that this is really happening.
You know how you know you really want to do something – especially BIG stuff like moving cities, getting married, getting divorced, changing jobs, having a baby? You actually do it. You don’t procrastinate. You make calls, you deal with the details (even the challenging, frustrating and annoying ones), you share your story with people, and you start “acting as if” you’re living this change. That’s what I’ve learned so far from this transition.
I know I’ve got a ton of learning in front of me, too. It’s all a work in progress … but I’m riding the wave and seriously stepping out on FAITH that this is the best step for us as a family RIGHT NOW.
When the impending change gets a little overwhelming (and that’s how it goes with changes), I stop and visualize my new scene, my new life: me, relaxing with my cats on my screened porch after an awesome day working from my home office, dinner cooking in the oven. I smile as I hear my husband and son laughing in the playroom downstairs. All of us, growing, thriving, enjoying.
This is the scene I see. This is what I choose to see. This is what I’m creating. This is me. This is truth.
And the truth is the path I follow … it is the way.
I encourage you to honor your truth by asking yourself this question: What do you want to see in your life scene? The answer will liberate you (and probably scare you a bit, too). Welcome to the journey of a lifetime, fellow traveler. Enjoy the ride.