“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” -Langston Hughes
I remember that humid day in late July. As I frantically sorted everything I owned in my micro-sized Astoria bedroom, I gathered boxes, made piles of things to sort and purge on the street, took a sip of vodka and wiped the sweat from my forehead. Moving was a daunting task. I felt disgusting – from both the summer heat and the way I was living my life. It was the summer of 2016 on 34th Street and Broadway, and despite being steps from the subway, nightlife, friends and entertainment, my existence was miserable.
2016 was an interesting year to say the least. It began on a very positive note – high hopes for my freelance fashion marketing business, potential partnerships in place, optimistic about love and beginning to live a life focused on mindfulness. Life is funny sometimes; right when you think you have it under control, it all comes crashing down.
Sometimes I wonder, “how did it all go so wrong?” With each setback or failure I began to self-destruct, only to pick myself back up again and repeat the cycle relentlessly. My career, my relationships and my values were not the same as they were when I moved to Gotham in 2014, and I realized the universe may have been telling me something all along. It took me just over two years to realize everything I thought I had wanted and wished for may not be what I wanted after all. After several failures, the final straw was finding out I had to find a new place to live and a new job within the same week. I was back to the drawing board, and my head – and heart – couldn’t take it any more. I loved the old dreams more than I was loving and caring for myself.
That July day was the last I saw of New York… until Friday.
It took me seven months to return to the city that held so many of my dreams. While I may have cursed New York when I left, I look back and realize it wasn’t New York’s fault at all. My perspective on life changed during my time in New York City, and today I hold the experiences (both good and bad) near and dear to my heart. Returning to New York was like getting a warm hug from an old friend – familiar sights and streets, the same bodega cats and subway performers, memories of old haunts and even the not-so-pleasant smells of the city made me smile.
Words could never express how grateful I am to have experienced such a full two years of ups, downs, laughter and heartbreak. Sometimes I joke that I got my Master’s Degree in NYC – it was two very expensive and educational years, indeed. Each experience taught me how to be a better person, friend and not to take life so seriously. Some other important lessons were…
Focus on hard work, not just walk on a dream.
Dreams are great – never let them go. Just watch out for yourself and be realistic.
Honor and value myself as much as those I love.
Why did I put so much energy into someone else while I was struggling?
Look inside for happiness, not outside.
People, places and things are a temporary fix – you must find happiness within yourself.
If things don’t go according to plan, it’s okay to change your mind.
I did it, and you can to.
Once you can accept the past and heal from your mistakes, you’re ready to move forward.
Just like Gabby Bernstein shared in her New Year’s Webinar, you can’t fully move on and make positive changes if you haven’t healed from the past. Facing the city and people in my life was an extremely positive way for me to end the first month of the year, so now I am feeling especially strong and ready to accept the love and success that 2017 will bring me.
My trip was closure on the life that I left last July, and I was able to say goodbye once again in a very different tone – with a joyful “see you later!” After realizing that my mistakes do not define me, I was able to accept myself and my past – and I will accept (and know I deserve) the wonderful things that come my way. Today I am ready to spread my wings and fly toward my new goals – this time, with a brand new box of tools from the city that never sleeps.