The Time for Dreaming is Over

Photo from Image created by me using Adobe Creative Suite software.

Since the moment that 9-year-old me first caught a glimpse of the breathtaking skyline while riding in the middle row of my family’s silver van, I knew I loved New York City.

In hindsight, I can admit my opinion was not based on anything positive I knew about the city — in fact, it was quite the opposite. All I knew about NYC was that my sister lived there (with more neighbors in a 2 mile radius than I could ever count to), that it was more dangerous and much dirtier than my hometown (Louisville, KY), and that it was, according to my parents at the time, “too noisy and too expensive.”

But I didn’t care.

I had an immediate instinct about the city and I held on fiercely to that notion.

Then, as time passed, that gut feeling only strengthened. 

As I got older, I realized my love for writing, and it even started to seem like I was meant to live there. I wanted to become one of the little glowing stars in the skyline I saw behind my eyelids each time I went to sleep.

The magazines and publishing houses I dreamed of working for were based out of the city, and at times it really felt like the stars had aligned to say, “Move to the cramped island already, Breanna!” 

I didn’t just want to move there, I had to.

But then I took off my rose-colored glasses, life events got in the way, and I pushed my ‘destiny’ back. I went to college in my hometown, not in the city.

When I graduated I got a job in St. Louis, MO and moved there — not to the city.

I applied for other jobs over and over again in NYC and sometimes didn’t even get so much as a courtesy rejection email. 

I could no longer see those glowing towers and smell the sweat on the asphalt when I closed my eyes. The NYC in my dreams had vanished.

Now, almost 13 years to the day since I first saw the skyscrapers twinkling in the distance, I’ve decided it’s time to stop looking at the city on the back of my eyelids and see it in person. It’s time to stop dreaming and make that picture a reality.

So in the past month, I’ve lined up an apartment to move into on August 1. I’ve been working overtime to save up money to have a safety net when I get there, and dedicated my spare time to applying for jobs and downsizing as much as I can to fit into my new, much smaller and much more expensive space.

In a way, I felt a sense of relief the moment I finally decided it was official. I realized I just needed to make the plunge and stop waiting for some sign or a job that I may or may not ever get.

Then, only a few moments later, I felt terrified. All of my fears were at the forefront of my mind, each one more stress-inducing than the last.

What if I don’t meet any new people that actually become friends? How long will my ‘safety net’ last? What if I’m not able to get a part-time job to make ends meet until I find a full-time position? What if I go there and realize it’s nothing like I thought it would be? What if I fail?

Fighting the overwhelming inclination I felt to give in to the panic attack, I focused on remembering the memory of how undauntingly convinced I was that I would live there someday. It helped remind me that it’s not going to do me any good to worry before I get there. All I can do is focus on saving as much money as I can and apply for as many jobs as possible and save the other worries for when I can actually do something about them.

The time for dreaming is over. I’ve finally woken up.

The Speechless Storyteller

It’s a weird feeling. The moment when you’re looking around and you simultaneously want to describe everything you’re seeing and feeling to everyone you know, but yet somehow can’t seem to find the right words.

It happens when you least expect it. One second you’re trudging uphill, out of breath and unable to concentrate on anything except how much your feet hurt, the next second you’re rounding a corner and your breathing stops and your feet stop moving — only it’s not because of the pain. It’s because you just came around a corner and saw something so beautiful you remember why you bothered to walk on through the pain in the first place. 

It was for this moment, though you were never sure exactly when this moment might be, that you kept going for. That you pushed yourself for. That for which you decided, “This is all worth it.”

And you’re not wrong.

These moments happen at different times and different places to different people for different reasons, but they do happen.

And once they do, after the initial shock wears off and you gain the ability to articulate some piece of what you’re thinking and feeling again, you’re left with an overwhelming feeling to share it. All of it. The pain, the parts where you thought you might quit, the second guessing, the parts where you realized you weren’t going to quit, the home stretch that seemed to last a lifetime; and the part where, after all these other things had passed, that you finally made it.

Maybe you made it to the top of the 14er. Maybe you made it to the city you’d been waiting your entire life to see. Or maybe you were walking down your street for the thousandth time and for some reason it all looked different.

Whatever it was, it changed you. And whether you traveled a mile or a hundred miles or a thousand miles to get to there doesn’t matter.

What matters is, what are you going to do now that you’re there?

Quote by Ibn Battuta. Image created by me using Adobe Illustrator.
Quote by Ibn Battuta. Image created by me using Adobe Illustrator.

What Happens When You See the Moon Shine on the Other Side of the World

I try each day to find beauty, to learn something new, or discover new ways to keep going, to keep being inspired. In doing this, I’ve realized that sharing my inspiration is just as important as going out to seek it.

So whether anyone is actually paying attention or not, I’m going to start sharing my findings with you. My goal, my hope, is to share a little daily inspiration – I hope to both inspire and be inspired, as I mention in my brief bio on the About page.

So here we go. Day 1.

Quote by Mary Anne Radmacher. Image created using Adobe Illustrator.
Quote by Mary Anne Radmacher. Image created by me using Adobe Illustrator.

It’s something I won’t ever be able to forget. The moment I was changed permanently, the moment my view of the world and the people in it shifted. Everything was the same, but somehow different. I realized that everyone and everything around me was worth seeing, worth documenting. Traveling literally takes you to another place, but what people don’t talk about is how it takes you to new places figuratively, too.

Seeing a new style of architecture, experiencing a foreign culture, communicating with people who don’t speak the same language – it’s all doing more to you than just giving you more stories to tell and beautiful photos to share. It’s connecting you to new ways of thought and living, providing you with a new perspective on life or love or even something as simple as what good coffee is to you. It allows everyone the opportunity to peer out to the world with fresh eyes, taking in more than just what you literally see in front of you.

It will change you. It will grow you. It will force you to look at yourself and the world and come to terms with what you think about both. And you will be better for it.

But it can’t happen if you don’t go.