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.