When I was finishing my last year of university, I planned on moving to Miami Beach. I dreamed of warm, sunny days with sand in my toes and the sea as my backyard… until I fell in love with a male model who convinced me that I would be much happier moving with him to NYC. People told me no man was good looking enough to give up the beach for the cold, loud rat-infested streets of New York, but I jumped at the chance to move somewhere exciting with the man who I was convinced at the time would be fathering our future children. I planned on staying for just a year, and here I am, still a resident of the greatest city in the world 11 years later. If you’ve ever thought “what if…”, here’s my reasoning for why every big dreamer shouldn’t think twice about spending some time living in NYC:
It can change your plans into better plans
I spent pretty much my entire 20’s in NYC, and I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else during that time in my life. Your 20’s are when you really grow into yourself – formative years where you discover who you are and who you want to be and what really matters. New York is the mecca of the creatives, of the ambitious, and of generally really interesting people. It’s the place where you go when you believe that you can accomplish big things – and this city will either love you and help you to accomplish those things, or if you’re not up to it’s speed it will chew you up and spit you back to where you came from. I came here thinking I would get an entry level marketing job right out of school, but after making big money bartending in NY nightlife, I settled comfortably into working a few nights a week and modeling during the day.
That’s the thing about New York – it can change your plans around, and oftentimes for the better – you just need to be willing to go with whatever it throws your way. I got into fit modeling, and after 10 years of learning the industry was able to start my own agency. I went from potentially climbing the corporate ladder and living in an office from 9-5 most of my youth to having a very flexible schedule with the ability to travel around the world AND save money because I was ambitious enough for her. Thank you for changing my plans New York.
You’re surrounded by people who keep you hungry
People who live here are hustlers (you need to be to pay the $2,500 rent for your 400 sq ft. apartment), and they’ve fought hard to be a part of this special place. On a daily basis you will meet people who are doing amazing things, and you’ll acquire a group of friends (if you’re lucky) who push you to work hard and continually grow. My girlfriends who are entrepreneurs have been a huge influence in showing me that it’s possible to start your own venture, and with every invite I get to an event or group dinner, I’m introduced to more fascinating people who have the potential to get me involved in a new charity, open doors to my business, or be my future husband.
…BUT you may also find yourself 30 and single.
You can absolutely be ambitious, motivated and successful and also have an incredible relationship while living in NYC. The reason that this isn’t necessarily the norm is because people come to this city to RISE. They come to this city to DOMINATE. They come to this city to make something of themselves… not necessarily make babies with someone else. So while you’re in our 20’s making your goals a reality – starting businesses, buying apartments and generally killing it at life, don’t be surprised if your thirties show up out of nowhere and your family in Pennsylvania has you on prayer chains at their church with the hopes that you’ll finally meet a nice man (yes, this is my reality). The nice thing about this scenario is that your 30’s are also when you are the most self-assured. Being single isn’t scary because you finally grasp the concept of not taking things personally, and most importantly you don’t need anyone else to validate you. People settle down only when they’re good and ready, because no matter what your marital status is – life is so full in New York City.
…But you’ll realize you wouldn’t have done it any other way.
I’m not worried that I’m going to die alone with ten cats (maybe just 3 or 4), and I never think that maybe life could have been better if I chose to live somewhere else. I am proud of the person who New York has shaped me to be. She has taught me to be independent, to be patient, to be open minded and nonjudgmental. She has shown me how incredibly grateful I should be every day to be able to live here among other big dreamers. She keeps me excited for what the future holds for me, because when you live in New York City, you can rest assured that just about anything is possible.