Fearless

Well it finally happened. I started to wonder if I had made a mistake moving away from everyone I knew and loved, and the feeling of loneliness sunk in hard during Memorial Day weekend. It wasn’t just a bored loneliness either. No, it was that empty, sinking feeling that washes over you like a crashing wave while the undertow pulls at your feet. It hit me when I woke up on Saturday morning. I had no job to go to. My roommates were gone for a week. I had no errands to run. No meetings to attend. No fires to put out. No people to take care of. I had only the morning news, a cup of coffee, and absolutely no one and nothing in need of me or my attention.

I wasn’t even sure what I was feeling that day, so I didn’t know how to stop it, and it only grew until Monday morning. It was Memorial Day and I wanted to head into the city to check out Battery Park’s Memorial Day remembrance ceremony and the end of Fleet Week. After that I wandered into FiDi (the financial district – wall st, federal hall, etc) and walked into a chaotic crowd of people surrounding The Charging Bull. As I walked around the crowd I seemingly locked eyes with The Fearless Girl and holy Hell can she give a cold dead stare. Get it? Because she’s a statue? Ok, moving along with it then.

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As fast as the feeling had hit me on Saturday, my loneliness escaped me in that instant. I realized that over the years I had been basing my worth on how needed I was. Is it wrong to want to feel needed? No way, but I don’t want to consider my worth based on anything or anyone other than myself. Standing there, taking a selfie with a statue, it hit me: maybe that’s what this is all about for me – removing what everyone else needs from me, then figuring out and truly giving myself what I need. Living an authentic life built entirely around what makes me happy. Doing things that give me purpose and meaning.

So I embraced it and I’m living that truth – it’s not emptiness or loneliness, it’s fearless.

It’s the first kiss.
It’s flawless,
really something.
It’s fearless.
And I don’t know how it gets better than this.

 

A Place in this World

Have you ever made one of those really big choices in life – like the ones that literally change the course and direction of everything from that decision forward? They’re the kinds of decisions people discuss with friends and family over and over for weeks, possibly months, until a consensus on a decision is built. Have you ever stopped to reflect how differently things may have gone if you had made different decisions? It’s kind of scary to think about really – one or two different decisions and maybe you don’t have children, or that promotion you got, or that house you got when you almost didn’t make an offer on in time, or that house you got and it turned out to be a total disaster?  Decisions are hard, and most of the time we need those words of encouragement or hard truth from our friends, families, and trusted advisors so that we can feel comfortable that we are making wise decisions.

Every once in a while, though, we find it necessary to make one of those monumental decisions all on our own. 52 days ago I did exactly that when I accepted an offer for a job in New York after a nearly 3 month interview process. I know what you’re thinking – how could I just immediately decide to leave behind everything I know and love in an instant, and without talking to anyone about it? I suppose there are two important things to note here as background information that actually reject the premise of that question entirely. First, I’ve been dreaming about getting that phone call offering me the job for over ten years, so technically I’ve had as long to make the decision that my answer would be yes if the conditions were right. Second, I never made the decision to leave anything, but rather my decision was about the going. It was about all of the exciting and challenging things ahead. It was about the ability to build something remarkable, both at my new job and in the new life I would build for myself. That decision – the decision to go – represented exactly the thing that, despite a largely successful life, I had been failing to do. I had finally made a conscious decision to live a life that makes me wholly happy and live it on precisely my terms. So yes, that made my decision unquestionably easy to make and own entirely.

So here I am, working on Madison Avenue, living my life as loudly or quietly as I choose to that day, and honestly its just the most empowering feeling to be this invested in myself and my needs. Even though I’m still living in Jersey, it finally feels like I’ve found a place in this world.

I don’t know what I want, so don’t ask me
‘Cause I’m still trying to figure it out
Don’t know what’s down this road
I’m just walking

Finally, for all my fangirls, here’s some fun shit I did this week:

  • Became “Team Bus”. I rode the train for almost four full weeks before I found out there is a well-air conditioned EXPRESS bus that goes straight from where I’m living to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. No stops, no transfers, and my own seat. Ride the train? Forget about it.
  • Discovered that you can pay people to do your laundry for you. Easily the best $12/a week I’ve ever spent.
  • Went to brunch with strangers. Turns out meetup.com isn’t a place for oddballs here like it is in Columbia. The brunch was just alright (Max Brenner’s Chocolate Bar at Union Square if you’re curious), but I met a couple of really great humans while I was there, so it goes in the win column anyway.
  • I took full advantage of the whole staying in Jersey thing today and went for a traditional Italian Sunday dinner at a place in Elizabeth, NJ called Spirito’s. Let me tell y’all something. If you are ever within an hour of this place and you enjoy Italian food, you need to fix your life and go there. The place looks like a dump, despite it’s old-world charm (is it really charm if it’s not ironic and actually IS from 70 years ago?) and the service left much to be desired, but holy. shit. the. food. I had lasagna with sausage, which I was told was going to take a bit longer, because they bake you your own lasagna to order. The pasta is all fresh handmade and you can absolutely tell, so now I’m going to be a pasta snob and insist on it. The cheese was so creamy and flavorful, but not too rich. But the gravy (call it sauce and you’re swimming with the fishes) oh, the gravy. It’s legitimately the best thing I’ve ever eaten, lasagna or otherwise. My picture won’t do it justice, but here it is anyway to keep you happy until my next post:

 

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Welcome to New York

I don’t know if it’s the energy of the city or just the excessive amounts of coffee I consume on a daily basis, but lately I’ve felt inspired to express the deluge of thoughts whirring in my head in a creative way, so here we are. Let’s start with the building blocks of who I am:

  • Early 30s
  • Work in Human Resources
  • Went to the University of South Carolina. Twice. BA in Poli Sci and MBA, Go Cocks!
  • Lived in Columbia, SC for my entire life, until I didn’t anymore
  • Worked for the same company for 10 years before moving, but those damn millennials, right?
  • INFJ – if you’re into that sort of thing, and you should be
  • #1 Swiftie; please see blog post title
  • Foodie; often a quality at odds with my desire to eat more healthily
  • Coffee amorist; see also: basic af pumpkin spice latte loving bitch
  • Social Justice warrior; fight me. PLEASE.
  • Shoe aficionado; and oh, do I love a shoe sale
  • The Hills was the best reality show of our generation. #TeamLauren.
  • Recently relocated to New York

But why New York?  I wish the answer was as simple as the question. New York has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember dreaming. It was such an incredibly odd feeling through those years to feel homesick for a place in which I had never lived. When I told people I was finally making it happen I got a lot of questions from people eager to understand how I could be so sure of something so seemingly daunting. Those questions actually helped me understand it as well, so I’ll share some of them here:

Q1 – But in Columbia you’re a big fish in a small pond, you literally know people everywhere you go. Do you really just want to be a small fish in a giant ocean?

Yes, actually. For a long time I did feel like that big fish in a relatively small pond, but the fact of the matter is I actually began to feel like a big fish in a tabletop fishbowl, just circling around in the same direction constantly, always seeing the same things in the same way to the same soundtrack stuck on repeat.

Q2 – Ok, but aren’t you afraid of moving somewhere new, starting a new job, and not knowing anyone?

Not really? I suppose this is a reasonably frightening thing to most people, but of all the emotions that I processed and/or tucked away in a box for a rainy day, fear wasn’t one of them. To me this represented an opportunity for self discovery, reinvention, adventure, and the most genuinely exciting thing I have ever done for myself.

Q3 – Isn’t everything SUPER expensive in New York?

No. Absolutely not. Apartments are expensive, but eliminate your car payment, car taxes, car insurance, and gas costs and then double your salary. Doesn’t sound so expensive now does it? What else costs more here? Some restaurants I guess, but I also found a deli on the block my office is on where I can get a great lunch for under $10, and that’s not the exception – they’re everywhere. And while I’m at it, you should also consider that most manufactured goods have their prices set by the manufacturer. In other words, a new iPhone or vacuum or InstantPot all cost the same no matter where you buy them, but the financial impact of purchasing them is much smaller here where the same job pays much more.

Q4 – Where are you going to live?

Idk…I’m still looking, but I’ve got a nice temporary home in New Jersey to ride out the summer rent wave. Know of any 1 bedrooms? Message me!

Q5 – When are you coming home?

Well, I’ll be in Columbia for Thanksgiving, but as far as I’m concerned, and until further notice, I AM home.

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“Welcome to New York. It’s a new soundtrack.

I could dance to this beat forevermore”