Turn that Monday Frown Upside Down: A New York-a-Versary

If you can make it here, you really can make it anywhere. But why would you bother to go anywhere else? -Village Voice on NYC

Friday was a big day for me. HUGE. EPIC. RIDICULOUSLY IMPORTANT (I’m not melodramatic AT ALL) Two years ago on May 7, I finally took the plunge and moved from Chicago to NYC. After interning in NYC at a magazine at the age of 19, I had always wanted to come back. Six years, 3 jobs and a breakup later, I finally made it happen! It was a long time coming, and I couldn’t have been more excited. To say I entered the city all “bright eyed and bushy tailed” is certainly an understatement. Here’s a little exchange that occurred the day after I moved to the city. I think it demonstrates the whole enthusiastic thing:

Ah young innocence. Isn’t it grand? For the record, even though I lived in that West Village apartment for just under a year, I never saw Paul Rudd, SJP or Hugh Jackman, who all apparently lived within a couple of blocks of my apt. I DID see Lance Bass at a whole-in-the-wall bar and P Diddy at my gym one time….That’s the extent of my NYC celebrity interaction.

The 9th grade Jamie is shaking in her boots right now ;-)

But alas, I digress. While my older brother (who according to yesterday’s comments section has multiple blogger fans) was a bit mystified with the idea of a New York-a-Versary, I insisted upon acknowledging this very special achievement. You see, there were several times throughout the past year when I considered throwing in the towel and heading back to Omaha. I’ve always planned on going back to my hometown some day and nothing made me yearn for a bit of a slower pace much more than the shock of a busy city that really never sleeps (except at 7 am on Saturdays which is ironically when I choose to be awake).

My pretty street while the city's still sleeping

Between the unreasonably high cost-of-living (a bag of lettuce costs 4-5 dollars here- WHAT A CRIME!), the outlandish demands of a job at one of the world’s largest global PR firms and the frustration of never being able to get from Point A to Point B in less than 30 minutes and without delay, I was just plain TIRED. I came to NYC to live out my Andie Anderson (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) fantasy, but I felt like I was forever stuck being Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) in Devil Wears Prada right when she starts at Runway magazine and everyone teases her. And PS – There was no Matthew mcConaughey in site :-(. Even though I had a solid support system, a cool apartment and per the exchange above, a “hip” Hamptons share, it just didn’t feel right…

But, then I made the decision to find a new job within 6 months. And suddenly the city got a little brighter! I found a job that was the perfect fit – I never realized how much work dictated my happiness until I got a job that was right for me :-)

Having FUN at my new job...it is possible, people!

Then, I got myself back into Sometimes Healthy shape AND set the goal to run another marathon. I didn’t tell anyone but finishing the marathon to me, represented that the “transformation was complete” (again, not melodramatic).

I DID IT!

My training runs helped me remember again why I love New York so much. Every run through Central Park or by the East River, I reminded myself how lucky I was to live in the greatest city in the world.

Beautiful city and it's all mine

I’m so glad I stuck it out. I’m sure I’ll be headed back to Omaha one of these days (provided I can drag a lucky to-be-determined man with me). But for now, I’m pretty damn happy living in the concrete jungle known as NYC. So, a reason to turn my Monday Frown Upside Down? Two  WHOLE Years in the Big Apple!

We HEART NYC

2 Years and None the Wiser?

I suppose I have learned a couple of interesting things along the way, so I might as well share ;-)

1. In NYC, nothing will go as planned….

Sometimes you'll end up hanging with a bunch of santas on a random corner in the West Village...

But sometimes, the end result is way better than the original plan. As every single NYC woman’s role model, Carrie Bradshaw, once said, “That’s another reason I love New York. Just like that, it can go from bad to cute.” (Note: the person in this picture is none other than Lindsay from Run Lindsay Run – she is not only beautiful, but a ridiculously awesome runner)

2. In NYC, good friends and family are as vital as oxygen and water

They watch over you...

And make you laugh...

And give you BIG hugs!

I never would have made it here without such a strong support system.

  • Thanks to my BFF Michelle for being there for EVERY SINGLE imaginary problem (such as 7 am texts complaining about how my jeans don’t fit) and helping me to laugh about it. I can confidently say, I would have moved 18 months ago without you in my life.
  • My brother, unfortunately, was transferred to DC soon after I moved here. Luckily, that beautiful fiance of his lives here, so I get to see him very often. He never fails to show me that my “problems” are actually pretty comical – he helps me to laugh at myself :-)
  • And his fiance works right around the corner, so I always have someone to go to with my fake emergencies.

3. In NYC, your rent will likely cost more than most of your friends’ mortgages.

I love my apt, but....

It ‘aint cheap to live in the greatest city in the world – that is for sure. And don’t think I’m not jealous of my friends back in Omaha with 3 bedroom houses and a golf course as their backyard ;-)

4. In NYC, people who live downtown will act as if “uptown” is as far away as Australia. And Brooklyn might as well be Antarctica. New Jersey apparently is in another universe (but there is continued debate as to whether Hoboken is part of the planet that is Manhattan)

I carry that Uptown bag with PRIDE

Last year, I decided to move from my trendy, yet college-like West Village apartment to the more family-oriented Upper East Side so that I could live alone in a decent place and (hopefully) afford my rent.  It was one of the best decisions I’ve made since living in NYC. As Tina Fey said in an interview with Vogue, ““I think part of picking where you live in New York is accepting who you are. Really looking at yourself and going, ‘Yeah, I’m not cool enough for the West Village.’ ” I agree with Tina: I’m just not “cool” enough for the West Village, and even though I apparently live as far as Australia, I manage to get there to play whenever I want ;-)

5. In NYC, sometimes running shoes are a girl’s greatest escape.

Watching the city wake up is a treat...

When I run in Central Park, I feel like I’m still in NYC but I’m alone in my little bubble. Morning runs helped me to learn to love the city again. Watching the sun rise over the city gets me EVERY time!

6. In NYC, being from a town perceived as “hickish” makes you cooler.

NYC has my heart but Nebraska has my soul!

Well, that’s my opinion at least. Anyone from here doesn’t believe there’s a world outside Manhattan and pretty much everyone from the east coast is the same way (I don’t blame you all- there is a lot more going on over here ;-)). So when I drop the ‘ol Nebraska reference, it makes for some good conversation.

7. In NYC, you’re never more than 2 blocks away from the following essentials: manicure place, fro yo joint, cupcake shop, food truck, grocery store, 24 hour deli.

Happiness in a cup is never more than a block away!

There’s plenty more, but those are the items that make me happiest. I’m a simple girl, what can I say? If I’m sick and I want ice cream, I can go to the grocery store directly below. If I’m craving lots of flavors and toppings, I can just walk a few blocks to 16 handles. And if it’s 4 in the morning and I need my fix, I can hit up the 24 hour deli’s freezer section. If that’s not bliss, I don’t know what is.

8. In NYC, you’ll bump into people all the time. Don’t worry, it’s not your fault.

This is what my morning looks like - I'm a feisty little one pushing people out of the way!

When I first moved here, I felt bad about bumping into people. Next, as I got more comfortable, I got annoyed when people bumped into me. “Who are these mindless idiots?” I thought to myself. I finally realized that everyone here is a rush and bumping into people is just a part of everyday life. But I still blame it on the other person… ;-)

9. In NYC, you can just “do you” because frankly, nobody cares what you do!

You're just swimming in a giant ball pit known as Manhattan

Thank you Ronnie from Jersey Shore, for that eloquent quote. But what I really mean is that it’s pretty easy to be yourself here, because everyone else is too busy or important to care. I don’t really feel the need to put myself into a box, because no one would notice. Why work so hard to be something you’re not when the world you’re living in thinks your “amaaaazing just the way you are” (Thank you Bruno Mars).

10. Move to NYC if you’re a go-getter – stay if you’re a dreamer.

Smile Big, DREAM BIGGER!

Type A isn’t the exception here, it’s the rule. For a person who gets overwhelmed an average of 7 times a day, this realization was a bit intimidating for me. There are a million people here who want exactly what I want and probably dream exactly what I dream. But at the end of the day, that doesn’t mean I can’t keep shooting for the moon. Because, as Michelle and I always say, “Shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you’ll end up on the Upper East Side in a decent-sized studio apartment with a killer view.” (Lucy Danziger, watch out. I’m coming after your job. Just kidding – but you are my hero!)

Question:

What’s your favorite thing about where you live?

Are you a dreamer? How do you keep the dream alive?

13 Thoughts on “Turn that Monday Frown Upside Down: A New York-a-Versary

  1. What a wonderful way to celebrate your two year anniversary! :)

    I love this post! especially because I am a little nervous that we might move to the BIG CITY if my husband gets a job there (he just finished grad school). We live in Chicago but it’s definitely not the same!

    I can so understand how running in Central Park allows you to escape the city. We live right next to Lake Michigan and the lake front path so I escape at least once a day to walk or run :)

    Congratulations on your new job and sticking it through such a rollercoaster ride :)

  2. Yay for NYC! Happy anniversary :) Glad to hear work is a major source of happiness, probably because you work with the best people evverrrrr ;)

    And yes, amen to 16 Handles! Let’s go to the UWS soon now that it’s open. Even though that is also Antartica/Australia to most NYC’ers.

  3. Michelle on 10 May, 2011 at 9:41 am said:

    Sister, I can’t believe it has been 2 years! I cant imagine my life in the city without you! We will keep shooting for the moon (and probably missing-gddddd) but the million places that we have ended up have been a great adventure and many more to come. heart.

  4. I LOVE this post, such a great description for this crazy city! :)

  5. Love the do you point! That’s exactly why I want to move there!

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