Today we have a post from Stephanie Florence, 40:20 Vision’s contributing / Millennial editor, on the transition phase that comes around this age.
New York City is often called a melting pot, a place filled with transplants who left behind their comfort zones to take on all that the concrete jungle has to offer. I’ve been fortunate to meet several wonderful transplants during my two years in New York. One of the most binding parts of the friendships I’ve made here is that most of my closest friends have been fellow Midwesterners. Individuals who grew up with similar values to me – who believe in strong family ties and who can handle whatever winter throws at us. People who firmly believe in the concept of home, but also recognize it will be still be there once we’re done with this chapter.
While New York is an ideal city for 20-somethings – we can be a bit selfish, focusing on our career goals and living without the life obligations that typically come into play a few years down the line. The topics of marriage and “settling down” and the ensuring pressures aren’t necessarily top of mind, but they’re still on our minds. I’ve talked with these friends about how long we’ll live in NYC and if we could actually see ourselves raising a family in this city. Most agree it seems close to impossible to do the latter. After growing up in houses with yards where our parents set down roots, a family life in NY doesn’t feel like it can compare.
But even before we reach that important life chapter, I’ve witnessed with these friends how far their drive will take them. In the last 10 months three of them have peaced out of the Big Apple to take on new life challenges. I know they made the decisions with heavy hearts because of all that New York has come to mean to them. For one it was time to move closer to home after years of living multiple states away. For another, she needed a little more stability in her day-to-day. And for the third, he had an opportunity that was simply too good to pass up.
To these friends (and to the other transplants who will one day need to make the same difficult decision): You already know this, but who doesn’t need a reminder every now and again? New York will always be here for you – both physically and mentally. For as long as I’m here you will have a place to visit as a home away from home. But during the times you can’t jet across the country, New York will still be present in your stories, photos and everyday conversations.
I have found that the act of taking a risk like moving to NYC (or another unknown location) has a lasting effect on your life outlook. It challenges you to see the world with a fresh set of eyes. Insane rent? Picture the view from the rooftop. $10 beer? Think of the conversations we had over it. Enormous grocery bill? Appreciate the food (and thoughts of Mom’s cooking) all the more. Ridiculous living situations? They build character.
You stand up for yourself just a little more. You fight for what you want because if you don’t, no one else will. Simply put, you find your place amidst the chaos. All the pieces of your New York life set you on a path in becoming the person you always hoped you would be – in this city, and beyond. And that, my friend, will stay with you always.
Thank you for the brunches, the laughs, the dance-offs and the nights that turned into mornings. Thank you for affirming my belief that I can take big leaps (like moving to a city where I knew one person) because people like you are just around the corner – ready to take your own big leaps and be in each other’s corners from day one.
Stephanie Florence is a 20-something who can talk to a brick wall and dance to a kazoo. She contributes to the 40:20 Vision as the Millennial editor and on every day that ends in “y” you can find Stephanie meeting people, telling exceedingly long stories and taking the approach of a student…always. Find her dancing around New York City in her personalized Chuck Taylors, complete with her Twitter handle: @StephanieFlo.