It’s strange to think that a year ago this week, I was moving to New York City.
Oh, did we not talk about that? Yeah- I forgot- I kept that pretty secret.
Mostly because I didn’t know if it would be a permanent move or not… And I didn’t want to make a big fuss if it wasn’t going to work out.
I had been offered by a corporation the opportunity to come out and work with them for a few months (with the potential for it to turn into a longer trip), as they transitioned another worker out of the territory. I would learn her role and serve as quality assurance to ensure their biggest accounts did not feel any growing pains while they found a replacement. I almost didn’t even consider the job because I was worried how it would stall my progress in Nashville. It wasn’t until I had a conversation with a good friend that I finally made a decision )Elly always knew the right thing to do). She asked me what my gut reaction was.
I told her the truth. “It sounds really exciting. But I feel like I made a commitment to make Nashville my home. What will this mean for that?”
She laughed at me. “Hilary, you can put a pin in ANYTHING for two months. Just take the job.”
And with that, I packed two very large suitcases, informed my roommate in Nashville I would be gone for awhile, and flew to New York. I remember looking at the city scape as we descended into the city. I wondered whether the city would spit me up and chew me out, or if I would learn to shine in it like Times Square.
The company had decided to put me and the rep they were transitioning out of the territory together in an apartment in the West Village. She and I had met briefly before, but suddenly, two strangers we were going to be living in a 400 square-foot apartment together for 60 days. She was a pixie of a woman and met my Uber on our quiet street between Bleecker and Bedford (they both sounded like Muppets to me).
My first round of bonding with Jodie came when she let me into the building and we began the six-story ascent to our apartment (there are no stairs in most buildings under seven stories). She took the larger suitcase, and even though it she could have fit inside it, nimbly carried it upward. I followed her less gracefully, wheezing by the time I got to the third floor (because where else in the world does anyone take the stairs?)
I remember that night sitting on my bed, pondering how the mattress barely fit in the room. I looked at the sheet we had to hang over the window because there were no drapes. Jodie had stuffed other sheets into the cracks in the window to keep the cold out and thrown away the drug paraphernalia left by the last tenant. I remember being so deeply afraid of what was to come and whether I would regret this decision.
Not only would living with Jodie become incredibly rewarding, she and I would become close (spending everyday in 400 square feet will do that). Her last night in town, we drank wine on the roof and cried. She moved to Australia to meet her fiancé and I stayed in the City to train her replacement.
My New York stay would stretch from two months to four, and I remember feeling so let down when the company decided they would not keep me on longer. But I owe them.
It was through this experience that I learned when in doubt, just make the move.
As I sit here now and think back to all the fear that consumed me on making the decision to go, I can only laugh at my cowardice. The memories that replaced those moments of paranoia and fear are some of my favorite of the past year. The things that seemed like hinderances at the time (like the daily trek up and down six flights of stairs and our neighbors Zoe and Chloe routinely burning food once a day), have since become some of my favorite stories to tell.
Elly came to visit me last December after I’d moved into the East Village. We laughed our way around town and rejoiced in our now shared love of the Big Apple.
Living in New York was many things. But most of all, it was empowering. And while I had been so afraid of losing momentum in Nashville, it clarified a lot for me on how to better allocate my time and energies. It reminded me of what I want.
Now, a year later, I prepare to take a trip to Thailand for Jodie’s wedding. And as I sit here, fretting over what to pack and how long to take off for, I can’t help but feel comforted knowing the details don’t really matter.
It’s making the decision and opening yourself up to the Universe that’s important. Sometimes life is about stepping blindly into the unknown, with faith that something or someone will light your way.
And if you’re lucky, you’ll have a guide like Elly and meet someone like Jodie… And they will soon take you on another great adventure.