Sounds borderline insane, right? You have to be a little crazy to do something like this. Here’s my story:
I was 15 when I started talking about New York, although I’d never visited. “Someday, I’ll be backstage at fashion week, writing for Vogue and living in a swanky apartment with a doorman,” I proclaimed to the universe.
I graduated high school in Seattle and moved to LA for four years of college, then ended up in San Francisco working at a software startup at age 22. Two years later, I started dating the man of my dreams (I thought) who flew me to New York for the first time in a crisp November. I quickly fell in love with the city more than I fell in love with him, and when we got back to San Francisco our relationship went south. On top of that, I was unbearably unhappy at work. I had a couple thousand dollars in savings so I impulsively broke up with him and quit my job in a two week period in January 2019. I spent most of my time alone, listened to a lot of Ariana Grande — “we’ll get through this, we’ll get past this, I’m a girl with a whole lot of baggage” — and sobbed for a while.
After a month of sulking and feeling purposeless, I got my shit together and told everyone I was moving to New York City. My family and friends were extremely supportive but weren’t sure how I was going to make it happen so quickly. I found an apartment with random roommates in Brooklyn for $1075/month, booked a one-way ticket for March 1st and packed my whole life in three suitcases. I sold or donated everything else, and now can’t remember what I got rid of. (That’s called detachment.) I took a quick vacation to Hawaii, had a going-away party in San Francisco, then flew to NYC two days later.
Two of my best friends dropped me off at SFO on March 1st in the afternoon and three checked bags met me at JFK Airport that night. I wasn’t nervous or anxious – I was confident I made the right decision. No one was home when I arrived at my new foreign apartment so I ordered Chinese food from Seamless (NY’s food delivery service of choice) and sat on the cold, hardwood floor of my new room wondering if I had a shot at surviving NYC — but I didn’t cry. Despite being completely alone in an unfamiliar place, I somehow felt home. I woke up the next morning to 6 inches of snow.
Then I started to feel really alone. I reached out to friends who used to live in New York, asking them to connect me with people who still lived here. I downloaded Bumble and Hinge and went on dates just to make friends. I messaged alumni from my university on LinkedIn, asking to meet and talk about career advice. My strategies worked and I slowly began making friends, having happy hour plans and new phone numbers to call when I needed weekend plans.
Finding a job was the most challenging part of this journey. I went to coffee shops every single day for at least 6 hours applying to jobs, writing cover letters and sending endless emails. Despite hundreds of leads and dozens of interviews, I got turned down from three huge companies for roles I was perfectly qualified for. I got discouraged and wondered if I’d made a mistake. Suddenly it was May and I was running out of money – fast. I maxed out a couple credit cards just trying to survive and eat dinner and maintain a minimal social life. Naturally, I panicked. I called family and friends asking if I should pack up and move back to San Francisco, but I was met with a resounding “no.” Give it one more month, my friend Katie told me – so I did.
I accelerated my job search. I networked harder and put in longer hours submitting applications. I pressed on. I called my best friend almost every day, updating him on every application and email and interview. By some miracle in the middle of May, I was in final interview stages with five massive, well-known companies. Offers started pouring in and I accepted a full-time marketing role at my dream company, arguably the biggest entertainment enterprise in the world. How lucky I am to land a job at my dream company at 24 years old.
It’s been almost a year since moving and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve been working this job for 8 months and can’t imagine being anywhere else. I’m crying happy tears while typing this, just grateful to be here. Even with no friends, little money and no job, this was the best decision I ever made. Don’t get me wrong – I still only have five friends, I’m still paying off credit cards and student loans, and my life is everything but glamorous – but it doesn’t matter because this is home.
You think my story is the exception? I actually think it’s the rule. The rule that says you can be successful at anything you want to be successful at. The rule that says you can accomplish your dreams. The rule that says hard work equals success.
If your dream feels too big, too scary, too expensive or unattainable, I dare you to jump. Leap off the edge. Take a calculated risk and do everything you can to land softly on two feet. We could all die tomorrow and our dreams would die with us. Life’s too short to be comfortable. I dare you to live outside your comfort zone and learn to get comfortable there.