from an empire state of mind to an empire state of reality

Today marks one year of calling New York home. 

When we packed up our car and drove across the US, I thought I knew what I was driving toward. I thought I knew exactly what my life here was going to look like. But in both good and difficult ways, it's been so different than what I imagined. 

More than ever before, I feel like being a writer and a creator is possible. I feel like I can truly pursue my dreams. I feel like I might actually have a shot at designing the life I want. More than ever before, I feel inspired to design it. But today I want to talk about a few of the lessons New York has been teaching me. 

1. the people make the place.

Above all, I've learned that a city is a city is a city. I believe you can fit in one city better than another, and you can live a different, happier life there, but it truly doesn't matter where you live. The only thing you need to create a beautiful life is beautiful people to share it with. What the city has to offer is so much less important than I thought it was. Tulsa is a small place where I never wanted to be, but when I found my community I was genuinely happy to be there. New York is a big place with endless possibility, but it doesn't matter. I didn't start to feel good here until I began prioritizing finding friends. We're a year in and I'm only just now finding community, but I can already feel the difference it has on my outlook. The people make the place. Every time.

2. you can be who you are.

For all of my adult life, I've unknowingly held the belief that I can't succeed at the things I love. Some of it is lack of confidence in myself and my abilities, and some of it is limiting beliefs I've held about my work and myself. But moving to New York has challenged me to recognize and question these beliefs. I don't know where they came from, but I've allowed them far too much decision making power. I've learned that no one is better or more talented than me. I've learned that I deserve to be here too. There's plenty of space for all of us.

Wherever you want to be, whatever you want to do, there's space for you there.

3. it takes self-discipline, heart, intentionality, grit, courage, and perseverance to live here.

I came to New York with a pretty healthy mindset. I knew it would take a lot of sacrifice in order to make it here. And still I have been shocked at how exhausting it can be. New York is not an easy place to live. It is not romantic, though there are plenty of movie sets around to trick you into thinking it is. It's often difficult and tiring and it makes you wonder if it's actually worth the trouble. But the reality is that nothing good comes easy, and I think New York might be magical precisely because you have to work so hard to be here. There is a magic here; a hope and a promise of possibility.

I don't know if I'll live here forever, in fact I doubt I will, but for now I'm grateful for where I am and what I'm learning in the process.