Thoughtful Thursday: My Beginning. Your Middle.

IMG_2259If you follow the blog The College Prepster, you must have heard the big news…Carly left New York City. Why is it that all my favorite bloggers are leaving this city within months after I call it home?! (*cough* Mackenzie, Jess, & Hallie *cough*)

Two weeks ago, to announce the move, Carly wrote a post reflecting on her experience in Manhattan over the last few years. This post was unlike her usual ones, and I was immediately taken with it. I loved that she delved into the different aspects of her life over the past three years in New York City. I found myself nodding my head in agreement as I read about her experiences and felt a sense of relief that she was where I am now only a few years ago. A quote also popped into my mind, “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” by Jon Acuff. Sometimes I get caught up in the comparison game and forget that many of the people I admire or wish I was more like, were exactly where I am now only a few years ago. Carly delved into different aspects of her life over the last three years, friendships, stress, self care, happiness, business, money, and love. I thought it was an interesting way to breakdown her experiences, and it made me reflect on my own so far in the Big Apple.

Friends

I have always classified myself as a fiercely independent person, but I think living on your own (albeit I have been in my studio apartment only two weeks!) in a city where you only know a handful of people changes you in a way like nothing else can. As they say, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” I have definitely had a more difficult time making friends since I moved to New York. However, one of my closest friends in the world is moving to New York, and my friends living all over the country constantly want to come visit. When it comes to new friendships, I am trying to remember to say yes to every opportunity! I also have a couple of exciting things in the future which will bring new people and experiences into my life.

Stress

It is clear that Carly had an overwhelming amount of stress balancing her blog and a full time job when she first moved to New York. I haven’t experienced that level of stress yet, as this blog is still just a fun creative hobby I do on the side. That being said, I am learning how to manage the stress from my job and the pressure I put on myself. It is an ongoing process that I have not mastered by any means. However, because of physical therapy (from an injury a few months ago) I have learned how to truly relax my muscles and how to reduce physical stress. It is amazing how simple differences in posture and an understanding of your body can eliminate unnecessary stress in your life. Stress comes in all forms, and I am constantly learning new ways manage mine.

Self

This last year has been filled to the brim with changes, and I have responded to these changes in a variety of ways. When I received my first job offer, I was excited but deep down I knew it wasn’t the right fit for me, and I called both of my parents. My dad reassured me that it was the right decision not to take the job and the second I hung up I cried on our front steps, terrified nothing better would come along. I think this period in my life is the one time that I can be completely selfish and focus on my goals. While that sounds…well… selfish, this is the first time in my life that I am free of major responsibility. I want to make sure I take every opportunity and not be afraid of what I want. After all, this is MY life, and only I have the power to make it everything I hope for and nothing like I expected.

Money

I definitely know the importance of money and have focused on it immensely since moving to New York. Like Carly, financial independence and growth is something I personally value. I have always been a saver, even when I was little. These days, I find myself saving not only my money, but my vacation days at work “just in case” (which I may need to stop doing so I can plan more fun trips!). When I moved to this city in February, I knew that I wanted to continue saving (just as I had while living at home and commuting to my job). As a result, I have saved quite a good bit of money, which allowed me to move into my new studio apartment with less financial worry. Although my new apartment is definitely more expensive, having my own space is worth the extra money in rent each month. That being said, it was an incredibly empowering moment telling my parents how much I have saved since I moved here and that I didn’t need them to foot the bill in any way shape or form. I love the fact that I pay for almost all of my expenses (I am still on the family cell phone plan and health care plan). It feels incredibly empowering to support myself.

That being said, it was refreshing to hear that it is okay to start out in this city eating eggs on toast or pasta for dinner most nights like Carly did. Although I have saved a solid amount since moving here, it is very expensive to live in New York so I am constantly trying to find ways to save a few bucks. A cab is definitely a luxury in my life and I have come to rely on the subway more than I ever thought I would. I am working on my cooking skills, because it truly saves money and has become a strangely relaxing way to unwind from the work day. Although, I wish I could indulge in weekly boxes of macaroons and bundles of sunflowers, right now I cannot justify spending that money. Luckily, I am always finding new creative ways to save, without sacrificing on experiences.

Happiness

This past year has tested in me in so many ways that I never in a million years would have expected. It has pushed me to the breaking point a few times, but I think at the end of the day I can say without a doubt in my mind that I am happy. I am happy that I graduated ready for the next adventure. I am happy that I worked hard at finding the right career fit for me. I am happy that I moved out of my parents home only a few months after landing my job. I am happy that I am afraid sometimes, it proves that this life is still exciting and new, exactly what I was looking for when I left Bucknell. I am so excited for what is to come, and I am continuing to focus on happiness above all else. I have learned that some friendships are not meant to last a lifetime, and that it is okay to move on. I have learned again and again that it is okay to be sad sometimes, life is not always rainbows and butterflies. But it is in those low moments that we learn who we are and what makes us truly happy. This is my life, and I have the right to edit it frequently and ruthlessly, afterall it is my masterpiece. I have no one else to report to, but myself. That again may sound selfish, but I think that happiness is worth it to make changes accordingly.

Business

I am just at the start of my career, (almost exactly one year into my first “real world” job to be exact!). It has been quite an experience and I have learned about an industry I never in a million years thought I would end up in! I have a manager and mentor who has shown me how to be a strong, poised, and respected woman in a corporation. I have learned how to let my work speak for itself and to never let my age or inexperience keep me from voicing an opinion when the opportunity presents itself. I love working at The Estee Lauder Companies and I am so excited to see what the future brings!

Love

Okay, so this category is definitely not my strong suit. I have never been very good at dating and relationships. When it comes to my friends and their relationship problems I give great advice, but somehow never seem to take my own. I choose the boys that I see a spark of good in, but who ultimately end up hurting me. This is a pattern I have started to pick up on, (hindsight is 20 20), but it is one that I need to break. I don’t have any regrets, but I know that I need to let my walls down a little bit. I am a very guarded person for reasons I probably cannot even fully justify. Being afraid of love is not any way to live, and I am trying to be more open to the opportunity of falling in love. Like Carly, I think I continually put love at the bottom of the list. Dating is fine but hasn’t really been a priority since moving here. Recent moments the last few weeks have reminded me to pay attention and be open to the possibility of love. Similar to new friendships, I am trying to remember to be open to every and all experiences no matter how outside my comfort zone. That being said, unlike many millennials and Facebook friends of mine, I am not ready for marriage and kids any time soon. But I don’t want to look back eight years from now when I am thirty and kick myself for not going out with that handsome stranger or random encounter on the subway. Regret is the most painful feeling and I don’t want to ever allow myself to miss out on something that has the potential to change my life.

Reading Carly’s manifesto about moving out of New York truly allowed me to reflect on my own experiences here and what is to come. Sometimes I get so caught up in trying to live the “perfect” NYC life or the one that my friends and family think I live. I have found myself comparing my life to that of my favorite bloggers and friends from school. This is a trap. I repeat, this is a trap that is tricky to snap out of. Instagram is not real life. I am guilty of this, and I have written on this topic in the past. Carly’s post showed me that at one point in time the blogger I admire most faced the same experiences, problems, and emotions that I am now.

I need to continually remind myself that I am at the beginning of my journey. I feel like I am a part of that “next crop of starry-eyed kid-adults moving into tiny apartments scattered around trendy and up and coming neighborhoods”. Even though I moved here in February, I am finally starting to feel like my feet are back on the ground and I am less overwhelmed or nervous about this city. It seems backwards I know, but its true.

New York City is exciting and terrifying at first, but I am letting the fears subside and giving into the adventure more and more every day. I find myself feeling increasingly comfortable with the life I am creating here. I finally have my own space (more on this in future posts I promise), one that is all mine. I seem to have a handle on my amazing job and am excited about the changes to come. I have goals (for this blog and more!) that I am actively working towards. And I am trying to remind myself to say yes to every opportunity, no matter how tired or sore I am from the day. I want to always push myself outside my comfort zone because that it where the real adventures happen. This is my clean slate, and I always try to keep in mind to fill it to the brim with amazing experiences. From walking through Central Park for the first time and discovering Sheep Meadow (its unbelievably breathtaking that first time!) to sobbing on the subway and all the way home to my apartment, this next chapter has had a variety of moments to say the least. I know that this life is filled with ups and downs, but that I can handle whatever is thrown my way. Instead of getting caught up in the comparison game, I want to just focus on living my life to the fullest. I am already starting to see promising changes in my life, even in the last few weeks. I have so much to look forward to and so many exciting opportunities ahead.

This is only my beginning.

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