Today we have guest post from Stephanie Florence, 40:20 Vision’s contributing / Millennial editor, sharing thoughts on her third anniversary of living in New York City. Read her past NYC reflections here: Year 1 + Year 2.
I made it to three years living in New York City. Saying that I’ve lived here for three years feels like an exaggeration. Wasn’t it only a few weeks ago I was taking on the job hunt, video-style? As I reflect on my last year, my thoughts keep returning to one question: What if I had never moved here?
I would not have realized that my energy level directly correlates with my experiences and the people with which I share those experiences.
When I moved to New York I quickly realized I could fill every day of the week with a different activity. When a person says it happened in ‘a New York minute’ the idea is that it happened in an instant – while so much of the past three years has flown by, I’m confident I’ve taken advantage of all my minutes since making the big move. The last leg of my holiday visit home in Chicago was packed with nights out seeing as many people as possible (sans naps and with minimal pop intake). New York taught me when the right people are involved you can always find that extra energy for one more cocktail, one more dance during a night out or one more mile with your running buddy. This quote by Simone de Beauvoir rings true every day in New York.
I would not have recognized by worth professionally.
It was in New York that I felt truly valued as a professional. I asked for advice from and meetings with people of all backgrounds and levels – and I was given the time of day every single time. I realized the work will always be there. Working myself to the point of migraines and gray hairs in my 20s is not worth it – and I found a company who shares that mentality. Speaking of, that company allows me to chart my own course providing the resources along the way to do so successfully. When I hit that point of not feeling challenged by work, I could have started looking at new agencies to challenge me. Instead I spoke up, raised my hand and was offered new opportunities under the same roof.
I would never have fallen in love with my independence.
When a boy told me I wasn’t right for him, I didn’t go looking for validation from another one. Chicago me would have done just that, but New York me stuck it out. It was harder than expected, (but worth the experience) giving me the opportunity to step back from my own life to see if I’m not completely happy with it I’ll never be happy sharing it with someone else.
I would not have kicked my passion for connecting into high gear.
Leaving behind the only sense of community I’d ever known was intimidating – both for what I was getting myself into and for what I would be missing at home. I’ve attended seven weddings, been there for bachelorettes and birthdays…and showed up at unexpected times. (Who doesn’t love a good surprise?) I made time to see friends one-on-one and when I was short on time, I brought everyone together and encouraged them to hang out without me. On the New York side, I went to events alone and introduced myself to complete strangers countless times. Moving to a city where you know one person will do that to you. People have told me they are impressed by that previous fact. To me it was sink or swim – and I knew if I didn’t find people to make it through this crazy city, I would have been breaking my lease and using my Southwest points for a one-way ticket back to the Windy City as fast as possible.
I don’t know yet when my time in New York will be up, but if these realizations are any indication, I know one thing for certain. I am so grateful I will never live with the question of “What if?” I took a chance and made this unexpected move. It’s a choice that many years from now, I will still be grateful that I made. To the people considering some sort of big leap, I can offer you one piece of advice: Jump now. You won’t know exactly what’s ahead, but that’s okay – you don’t need all the answers. You simply need a goal, drive and an unwavering belief that you can make it happen. Don’t live a life with a single “What if?”
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.