A year ago I made a very sudden, life-altering decision. I moved to New York.
2016 had been a year of many things for me, but most importantly, it became a year of self-discovery. As a woman in my early 30’s, I had hoped to have things figured out by now, but after losing my job and struggling to feel connected to my chosen industry— I was starting to see that I just didn’t.
In my year of unemployment I filtered through many different jobs. I went on endless interviews which resulted in zero offers. I tempted and filed paperwork like I was in my 20’s again. And I joined a group of women (and one very amazing man) in search of our desires.
I had no idea when I picked up the Desire Map that it would actually help me figure things out. You read about people and their self-help books consistently, but I honestly never thought it was for me. It’s one thing to read it, it’s another thing to close the book and actually live your life by it. And, in my opinion, I never saw anyone doing that.
But The Desire Map made me do something I’d never done before. It asked me questions I had refused to ask myself. It forced me to step back and take a look at my life and evaluate what I wanted out of it. It forced me to start paying attention to things I did daily that made me happy.
I looked at my long list of desires and started to see repetition and connection. I loved when I got to be creative, more specifically, when I was given the opportunity to write. Traveling was at the top of every list. And, even more alarming, so was New York.
Seven years ago I had lived in New York for the better part of two years. It was a beautiful and epic moment in my 20’s that I still look back on with fond memories. Even though I was broke and struggling and in the worst financial place of my life. I was happy. Even years later, after bouncing from one location to another, I always thought back on my time in the concrete jungle. When my career took me to Nashville I didn’t think twice. I’d been writing about country music for over two years at that point. So why not live it?
I looked at this list while sitting in a big, beautiful apartment in Nashville, handling the disaster that was my career in the best way I knew how— when a Facebook post popped up. One of my good friends from high school was looking to sublet his apartment in Queens while he went on tour. On a whim, and partially as a joke, I responded that I would take it.
Only the second the words were typed, as much as I tried to talk myself out of it. I knew I was going to do it. I sublet my big, beautiful apartment, handed my precious fur babies over to a friend, and allowed myself four months in New York to figure out if it made any difference in my life. If I was romanticizing this once vibrant, memorable city in my mind or if my destiny really did lie somewhere among the skyscrapers.
I left behind a Nashville friend-base that was truly spectacular. People that sat with me while I cried about feeling lost, that celebrated every little accomplishment, and consistently encouraged me to step outside of myself and go after my dreams. Big or small, ridiculous or smart. They were the hard part of leaving, but they were also the people that most encouraged me to go.
My key was barely in the lock of my tiny Queens apartment when things started happening. I had hardly sent out any applications when a recruiting agency called me in for an interview. I’d been there two weeks when I got the opportunity to start writing for an online magazine that covered something other than country music. I stumbled across a huge, sunlit, affordable Brooklyn apartment while perusing Craigslist and actually GOT IT. I randomly ran into an old roommate from Los Angeles in the subway and found a new best friend to explore the city with.
That one random decision to allow myself the opportunity to follow my heart presented me with the life I didn’t even realize I wanted to live. Picking up and moving, allowing the universe to put the pieces in place, taught me the value of taking a chance. So many of us hold back from what we truly want because of excuses we’ve sold ourselves on. Some very valid and responsible, and some roadblocks we’ve setup to dissuade ourselves from stepping outside of our comfort zone.
A year later I’m in New York steadfastly (and sometimes very slowly) working on building out the rest of my desires. It is not always easy, I’m not suddenly rich or well known, but when it comes to how I feel about my life I’m in the best place I’ve ever been. And all because I stopped listening to the doubts and went after something I wanted. All the crazy things I was terrified of ended up having a solution. All of my fears felt tiny compared to the elation I experienced when I first tumbled off the subway and looked up at The Freedom Tower.
There’s a significant power in knowing what you want and allowing yourself to go after it. A year later, all I want is for everyone I know to find this same sense of empowerment. So, if you do one thing today, think about what you would do if you weren’t so afraid and start doing it. Who knows where you’ll be in a year.
Want to get in touch with your desires? I strongly suggest The Desire Map and any other book by the wonderful Danielle Laporte.