Certain moments in your life often feel like they’re reminiscent of the past. It was only five years ago that I was finishing up college, living in my adorable studio apartment in Corvallis, Oregon, looking ahead to the future. I was interning at magazine part time, trying to finish my degree with some sanity and also making time to party my face off. I was already making plans to move to New York City after graduation. I was full of anxiety and even developed a bad case of acid reflux from the stress of it all. Plans fell apart and problems arose, but I just kept on planning.
The Big City Move: I blindly forged ahead, packing up my life and driving back to California with my parents the day after graduation in June. One month later I arrived in NYC with just two suitcases, crashing on my friend’s couch with no clue what I was going to do. It couldn’t be a bigger cliche considering the good fortune I had in the city. I had a generous friend take me in, I found a job at a cool and crazy start-up in a fancy building, I found amazing roommates in a great Brooklyn apartment… I know, I’m rolling my eyes too.
Then the start-up went under. I lived the unemployed and confused life while traveling my problems away. Something got away from me in that time, but I can only believe it helped and didn’t hurt me in the end. After three years living the NYC/Brooklyn life, I moved upstate.
Albany, the Capital Region: Not long after I found myself in this city, fate took care of me again when I launched into a whole new phase of my life. A new friend swooped in, leading me to a new neighborhood and a whole world of great people. I was treading water in a steady job, creating a life and identity of my own in Albany. Then I made the choice to stick around longer for a shinier, career-improving job. Of course, there were sacrifices to be made. Commuting an hour each way to work is exhausting, and yet not a unique or unjust experience. My social life suffered but the right people stuck around.
Yet here I am, once again powering through anxiety, decisions and change. Life is funny that way. July 15 is the day in 2008 I showed up my friend Steph’s doorstep in NYC, ready to take some big chances. Today I officially have the keys to my new apartment in Troy. Top floor, spacious, quiet and clean. I’ve committed to another year upstate, and I’m diving right in. I’m joining dance and fitness classes, and I’m getting back into volunteering. If I’ve learned anything from my nomadic times, community and friendship are the most important aspects to a place feeling like home.
Next steps are scary and every choice is a gamble. I’ve already faced many upheavals along the way, wondering about my choices, often feeling alone, and even wanting to give up or start over. But I’ve always managed to get through it. I’m not the same naive 21 year old who jumped coasts with a few suitcases and boxes. It feels good to be actively making a choice instead of passively moving with momentum. I have a plan for the future, and I’m looking forward to making the most of my extended time in upstate NY.