Towards the end of college, one of my roommates very passionately tried to convince me and our other roommate that we should all move to NYC and live like "Sex & the City". While I loved watching the show, I was never one of those people who dreamed of living in the city. And even though I was determined to get out of the Midwest the minute I walked across that graduation stage, I wasn't really sure where I wanted to go.
Now, I'm sitting here, chuckling at myself. It's been 5 years since we moved to New York City. Those 5 years have gone by in, as they say, a New York minute. We're about to move into our 5th (and definitely best) NY apartment after winning the ever elusive real estate lottery and handing over enough documents to clone us both at least 10 times. And I can't help but laugh. Laugh at the thought that it never even crossed my mind to live here, laugh at the thought that we'd never be in the city more than 2 or 3 years, max, laugh at the way life works out, laugh at how this city has changed me in ways I never thought possible, and laugh at myself because, ultimately, God always knows best, despite what we think is a good plan.
It's been a bit of a battle for me to adjust to life here. In fact, many times I screamed and cursed this city, saying I couldn't wait to leave. This city is hard, it's expensive, it's fast and it's gritty. Yet New York pulls you in in a way that is almost impossible to escape. While I'm probably more stressed than I would be living somewhere else, I've also learned more than I ever thought possible, found a strength from within that I didn't know existed, learned to stand up for myself even in the most awkward situations, and got caught up in the infectious "dreamers and believers" mentality allowing me to become brave enough to pursue things that I only ever thought would be dreams. "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere" has never meant more to me than it does now.
Nowadays, you'll never catch me in Times Square, if someone asks if living here is like STC, the only response they're getting is a hard eye roll, and deep dish crust is reserved just for Chi town visits. Summer evenings are best spent drinking rosé on a rooftop, bagels truly are better here,and there's more to the city than just Midtown Manhattan.
New York certainly isn't forever. I dream about far away lands and simple beachside cottages way too often to spend every breath in the concrete jungle. But I do know, wherever I go, I'll always carry a small piece of the city, and all that it's taught me and offered me, with me.
In honor of 5 years in New York, I thought I'd share my top 5 New York memories. If you live here, or have visited, I'd love to here some of your NYC faves, and if you've never been, I'd love to know what you'd most like to see/do when you do make it to the city. Let me know in the comments below.
The Brooklyn Backyard Project
Taking a Helicopter Ride Around the City
Eating with Curtis Stone in a Cranberry Bog in the Middle of Rockefeller Center
Honorable Mention (because I don't have a picture for it)- SJP tweeting birthday wishes to me after I saw her in the West Village on the way to my birthday dinner. Yeah, I died....