I've lived in New York for eight years. It's not quite Sex and the City like I imagined, but Netflix worthy.
As I marinate on my journey to 30, I think about the courage I had at age 22. To move to a new city, by myself, with no job. People thought I was crazy. And maybe I was a little. More than that, though, I was fearless. On May 2, 2011, I pulled up in a yellow taxi with my two suitcases to 60 W 129th St. It's worth noting that this was a five-bedroom, one bathroom apt I was moving into with strangers that I'd found on Craigslist. (I did have a friend go and check the place out beforehand. I'm not THAT crazy ). First, a bit of background on what lead me to that corner of Lenox Ave-
As a kid and basically through college, I was always SMART. That was my thing. Some people are athletic, and others prefer the drama club or even the Dungeons and Dragons of your generation. I wasn't either. Just all-around smart. 90th percentile on standardized tests. In 3rd grade, I'd do reports on different countries and animals just for shits and giggles. I was usually the smartest person in the room up until high school.
This "luxury" afforded me the chance to be myself and kinda float between pre-adolescent demographics. I didn't have to be an athlete or a mean girl, and I was a bit above standard geek status. I graduated. College went by, and in 2009-2010, it was my senior year. As I approached real life, I was a terrible procrastinator, and I'll admit, kind of an academic snob. I applied to a few top tier school days before the application deadline. With my super ok LSAT scores and 3.8 GPA, I wasn't worried at all.
Except, I should have been worried. I wasn't accepted to any law school except one I applied to for nostalgic & beach reasons (UMiami *sigh* I was very close to being a Hurricane for undergrad, but life had other plans). After going to an HBCU for my Bachelor's degree and often being asked whether I went to school in "the Hamptons" every time it came up, I was DETERMINED to go to a law school with no fucking questions asked. Columbia Law? Duh. NYU? USC? Definitely not on Long Island. And, they did not accept me into their law programs.
Faced with my first real academic shortcomings, I decided to take a year off. Refocus, practice, and be proactive about my law school endeavors. I retook the LSAT for the 3rd time in the first quarter of 2011. I had a very clear talk with the universe the night before my test. I was at a crossroads and wasn't completely sold on law school. I told the powers that be if I get at least a 160 tomorrow on the exam, I'll go to law school (because meanwhile, all the schools who rejected me the year before at the height of the recession in 2010 were pressed for ya girl…specifically Columbia), and if I DON'T get a 160 or higher, I won't go. Simple. I'd take getting a lower score as my sign to skip law school, move to NY or Chicago instead and figure it out. About six weeks later, I get my LSAT scores back.
I got a 159.
I felt like my path was illuminated at that point. It honestly never occurred to me to go to law school because I almost got a 160. To me, my 159 was a sure sign law school wasn't for me. The debt involved already gave me pause. My 159 just confirmed it. Out of over 100 questions, 1 or 2 had probably decided my fate. It turns out it was really 'D' and not 'C' for number 47 that I hurried to fill in as time was called. If I were supposed to go to law school, then I would have gotten the 160 I very clearly told the universe I needed.
Once I made my up mind to make a move to NYC, most people I shared the news with told me how brave I was to move to a city where I had no family and two friends.
Eight years, three apartments and one borough later, somehow I'm still here. My relationship with New York has had waaaay too many peaks and valleys, but I wouldn't be who I am without the journey. It was intimidating and scary af to move to the city with no job (I found something consistent about a month after I arrived) and little to no plan for the future. But! I knew what I wasn't going to do. I was not about to stay in Detroit one minute longer than I already had. I was "smart" remember? I knew logically and statistically, someone in NYC would hire me eventually.
And maybe you're not book smart. (Shit's overrated anyway.) Perhaps you can talk your way into or out of ANYTHING, you're an artist, a chef, even if you flip houses. Whatever your thing is, let that lead the way, and the rest will fall into place. Think of everything positive that can result from taking a chance and swag surfing away from fear. Is "playing it safe" worth losing all the possibilities?
Currently, I'm at the same sort of crossroads I was at over eight years ago. I'm sharing this to force myself back into that headspace where anything was possible. Before fear and anxiety and life helped me to think of 97, 324 things that could go wrong. I'm going to channel the girl who literally got her whole life from Craigslist without fear or care in the world.
I'm going to remember how she made a plan, took action, and manifested the goals she set for herself. If she could do it once, she can do it again!
We got this, sis!