As soon as I said I was moving to New York, my friends and family seemed to breathe a giant sigh of relief. Right, she’s finally settling down. Maybe it’s across the country, but it’s in the country. Good, it’s time for you to get a real job.
At first, I was a little affronted: this could just be another live-in-a-new-city experience! I could hop off to South America or New Zealand or the Middle East at any time. I wasn’t making any promises to stay in a city that I’ve only visited once, before I even entered high school.
But then I realized that in my heart, I agreed with them. I’ve complained about my fixed life envy. I’ve yearned for a closet in which to unpack my suitcase, a cafe in which the barista knows my name and order, a paycheck magically appearing in my bank account every two weeks. And in college (perhaps after a few glasses of wine and a Sex and the City marathon), I swore to myself that one day, I’d live and work in New York City.
So many bloggers and freelancers strike out on their own as a sort of backlash against feeling trapped in their cubicles, held by their mortgages, resenting a life that they feel they had no choice in creating. They’re motivated by that fire, a fire of not ever wanting to step foot back in an office. However, I’ve had incredible work experiences: ones in which I felt valued, and where I laughed with and learned from my supervisors (almost) every day.
I’ve enjoyed the freedom to set my own hours and my own deadlines for the past eight months, but I’ve also realized I don’t have the drive, the experience, the connections to be a successful freelancer or web entrepreneur. Is it possible to be a full-time travel blogger, to earn an income remotely? Absolutely. But honestly–I just want to travel, to write, to take photos. And I want to do it because I enjoy it, not because I’m desperate for it to pay the bills.
I know that this is my life. These are my decisions. I’m responsible for my own happiness, wherever that may be. I’ve quit a secure, well-paying job before–twice–for the thrill of the unknown, the risk of a new places and new experiences far from home. If I start feeling trapped, I don’t have any qualms about having the courage to do it again.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about working in New York, if I wasn’t scared of being overwhelmed, overworked, overscheduled. It’s the city that defines ambition, and my priority is balance. I still have to find a job (with a company I’m passionate about and a salary that will pay the rent) and an apartment (with the right fit of roommates, neighborhood, size and a rent that I can afford) in an ultra-competitive job and ultra-expensive housing market.
But I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for a new work challenge, the thrill of meeting deadlines and making coworker friends and having a reason to buy new pencil skirts. The hunt for an exposed brick wall, the possibility of growing a window herb garden and splurging on a great set of kitchen knives. And the chance to do it all in one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities.