The risk of wanting to make it

August 3, 2012 in Career,Life,Philosophy

It’s Thursday night in Philadelphia, and I can’t sleep. I move to New York tomorrow. I’m a bundle of nerves, wound tightly to the point of bursting: into tears, into a fit of anxiety.

I moved to Nice, to Melbourne without knowing a soul. I traveled through Southeast Asia without a return ticket. Countries with different languages, different cultures. Cities that were multiple time zones away, cities without a direct flight home. Places that were so far away that I stopped being afraid of never coming back, places that were so foreign that I didn’t think to worry about fitting in.

By all accounts, New York should be easier. I know people in New York: my college roommate, an ex-boyfriend, friends from Silicon Valley, Melbourne, Chiang Mai. The cars drive on the right side of the road. Everyone speaks English (with a similar accent!). I know the public holidays. I can order a nonfat vanilla latte at Starbucks, and it will taste EXACTLY like the one I drank at the airport in Sacramento three weeks ago.

New York is a mere six-hour flight from home, only two time zones away. When it is morning in New York, it is morning in California. It’s not today or tomorrow or tomorrow minus five hours.

I’m not even an expat in New York.

This was supposed to be a late-night-inspiration post about not being afraid to take a risk, about saving your money and booking your ticket and then putting your faith in the universe that everything will work out. About not being afraid to go somewhere new, about treating life as a one-time-only adventure.

In my head, I know my worst-case scenario isn’t that bad: if I don’t like New York, I go somewhere else. If I fail, I go somewhere else. If I can’t make it in New York–because for every one who makes it in New York, who can make it anywhere, there are those distant shadows who fade into the departures terminal–I can go somewhere else and try.

But in my heart, I’m terrified. I actually don’t know if I can make it. It’s the type of fear that, rationally, I know I can twist and turn into a fire, the type that will motivate me. But right now: it’s the kind that’s making me catch my breath and wish I could go back eight months to that yoga class and backward bend into a carefree life in Ubud.

In Nice, in Melbourne, in Asia: I was OK with being a carefree traveler, with spending my days at the beach wondering idly about the millions around the world stuck in an office.  But there’s something different about New York, a little detail that is dousing my optimism with anxiety. Like every other 20-something who moves to the big city with dreams of a big closet and a big paycheck and a big love: I want to make it in New York.

  • I hope this is as encouraging as I intend it to be…

    You’re not the only one. Hundreds upon hundreds of people move to New York every year with that same itching desire and driving passion. This is not to say, of course, that everyone “makes it”, and especially not right away, but lots of people do. Most, I like to think. There will be countless obstacles along the way, some you’ll be ready for and some totally unforeseen, and the most important thing to hold onto will be that “I want to make it in New York” mentality. New York may be a temperamental city, but she’s anything but heartless.

  • Life long New Yorker here.  Pardon me for being direct, but what are you trying to “make it” at?
    What do you have to contribute?  Do you have career goals?  Is there something you want to excel at and NYC is the top place to do do it in?  Or are you just another wandering transplant moving in for a Brooklyn Staycation?

  • GlabrousFardel
  • I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now and I just have to say you will make it. From your adventures and your really inspiring tales, you seem like a courageous and strong woman and I can’t wait to read more about your NYC adventures. It’s so inspiring and wonderful. Good luck!!

  • My dear sweet friend, if anyone can make it in New York, it’s you. I know this in my heart of hearts. New York requires a brave soul, and you are one of the bravest souls I know. 

  • budgetjan

    I know how you feel.  Travelling is easy – not fitting with a place – move on – no worries.  Moving someone to stay is different.  Your expectations and others.  I know you will be fine.  I think yours is a normal reaction – it shows you are a thinking sensible woman!  Just do it!  You will be telling your grandkids about the time “I shifted to New York and I was scared, but it all worked out fine!”

  • If you have specific goals you’re looking to achieve, then I have no doubt you’ll make it. The hardest part in life is knowing exactly where you want to get to.

  • I know how you feel. Perhaps this is why I haven’t moved there quite yet. 

  • eriksmithdotcom

    You’ll make it- I have no doubt about that at all. 

  • You’ll be fine. No, no – you’ll kick some ass. 

  • Christine! From reading your blog these past few months, I only think of you as a fearlessly independent world traveler who’s done so much and so young! As a fellow 20-something about to leave the comfortably anonymous bubble of being an expat in Asia to return to the grind…I understand your hesitation. Maybe it’s not necessarily “New York” you want to tackle; maybe it’s the notion of becoming as successful on home soil as you’ve been as a world traveler. I also have a fear of failure (or maybe that my “fixed life” won’t be as satisfying as my traveling life) when I return to the US. It’s scary to still be so young but want to be settled, successful, financially comfortable and HAPPY–the way we feel when we’re traveling. I think you’re approaching NY with a good attitude–keep an open mind, you’ll do well wherever you go!

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  • I
    envy you because of your courage. I don’t know what your plans or goals are,
    but I hope you achieve them. Good luck! J

  • camorose

    I’m already realizing that this is very much a love-hate kind of city–can’t decide whether I’m going to totally love or hate it yet, but looking forward to seeing what happens :)

  • camorose

    Originally, I wanted to move to NYC to pursue my dream of working in magazines–however, I’ve realized that I’m more suited (and more likely to succeed) in going back to my career in PR and marketing. NYC is definitely the place for it, so I’m looking forward to a drastic change of pace from the Silicon Valley and seeing what I can manage in the office.

  • camorose

    Thank you so much for your words of support. Definitely looking forward to this next adventure :)

  • camorose

    Thank you lady–too kind x

  • camorose

    Haha one of my dreams has always been to do enough crazy stuff now so that I have endless stories to tell my kids and grandkids–think I’ll manage that just fine, even if NYC is a massive failure :)

  • camorose

    So far: get a job. Get an apartment. Be able to afford it. We’ll see how it goes from there :)

  • camorose

    I’ll let you know if it’s as bad as it seems :)

  • camorose

    Thank you :)

  • camorose

    Too kind, lady :)

  • camorose

    Yes yes yes–so agree with all of your points. Want to move to NYC next and be roomies?! Haha can’t wait to see what you get up to next!

  • camorose

    Thank you! We’ll see what happens :)

  • budgetjan

     Yes, I agree, and it is good to have failure stories to tell as well as successes, so that future little travellers, realize it is O.K. to fail.  If Granny tried and failed it is O.K. for me too!

  • Jessica C.

    Best of luck to you!! I plan to move to NYC this winter/spring and am so nervous!  I’m sure you’ll do great and would love to hear any tips you have during your transition! :)

  • BrielKrystek

    I don’t know you besides what I read on your blog but you seem to me to be someone who will thrive in NY. Good luck in finding an apartment and a job! What area are you looking to live in?

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  • There is no “make it” this is one adventure on your way to many. I’m sure you’ll do well but even if you don’t on your own definition, it will just lead to something bigger and better.

  • camorose

    I’m thinking East Village? Really just want to be close to work so that I don’t have a massive commute. We’ll see how everything works out!

  • camorose

    Really good point, Ayngelina–thanks for the insight :)

  • camorose

    I’m sure there will be plenty of posts coming up on the subject, don’t worry :)

  • Jess

    Raw, honest writing Christine! I LOVE it! And I’m confident everything will fall into place just as its meant to for you in New York! Miss you xoxo

  • thecollegeroomate#boom

    rooms!!!!! you came here (in itself, huge), got a job, found a place to live, networked and created a circle of friends, and you have tons more meetings planned that could turn into magnificent opportunities!

    new york may not want you to know it yet (she’s great at inciting doubt) but YOU ALREADY HAVE MADE IT. and it’s only the beginning.

  • mehinyourfeh-s

    meh

  • camorose

    Thanks lady! Crossing my fingers :) xoxo

  • camorose

    Rooms, you da best I ever had! I’m going to make an inspiration wall (a la the Loveboat bathroom) and this is SO going up to remind me of all the awesome people I have in my life who believe in me. We are going to kick ass in NYC this fall!!!

  • ” wandering transplant moving to Brooklyn for a staycation”…wow thats umm special. Sort of like a new mutant form of Manhattan snobbery.

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