Sometimes I force the flow of my life by making moves and decisions based on my own desires rather than what my instincts are telling me. I try and design the life I want regardless of that voice in my head and that tug on my heart that says this isn’t right, there’s something better. I’m too focused on what I want that I disregard what it is that I actually need. Then, when things start to fall apart, I beat myself up for not having faith and for being blinded by my selfish wants. This reflexive act is where I noticed a fault, and this is what I noticed was crippling me for far too long. More often than not, your instincts are spot on, and you should probably listen. But sometimes you can be a little reckless, go through some shitty situations that could have been avoided, and still come out with something beautiful.
In May 2014, I made a very quick and rash decision to leave New York and move to Los Angeles almost immediately after I graduated. I’m talking one day after. I remember this moment so vividly. When I was packing all my belongings and all the memories I had created for four years, I had a feeling this move was premature and I should exhaust all my opportunities and options before leaving New York. I felt this so strongly, but I just ignored it because all I could think was I need to go back to Los Angeles for a reason I was too embarrassed to admit to myself. The year following was the most difficult year of my life. I started to correlate the troubling events that were happening with the fact that I didn’t go with my gut and spend a few more years in New York. I would constantly think about my life in the city and convinced myself that it was the only place I could fully succeed. I let these thoughts haunt me for two years, but those days are finally over. This past week, I visited New York again and I was hit with extreme clarity and realization, something I was not expecting at all.
New York City is a magical place. I’ve always felt that way, and I know it will always have a place in my heart. The years in New York were some of the most trying years of my life, but they were also the most inspiring and memorable. Being in the city broke me, challenged me, tore me down, but it also made me stronger, more independent, and shaped me into a person I was proud of. As a little five foot two girl, I felt so small, but I knew my potential was big. I knew what I wanted and went after it with full force. It’s what made me fall in love with New York City and I felt a yearning to be back there because I didn’t want to let go of something that once was. I felt like I could be so much more and so much better if I was back there again, and it made me poor in my performance in Los Angeles. Walking around the city this time around, I realized I’m not letting go of anything. Everything I learned in that city is still with me and will always be with me. My potential is not defined by the city I’m in or how much I am able to do in one day. Whether I’m living in Los Angeles or New York, the person I want to be and what I’ve gone through does not change. The drive I have and my ability to kick ass does not change.
Yes, my instincts may have told me to stay in New York for a little longer, and there may have been something incredible that came out of that, but when i take a step back and see my life right now, the result of my decision is something I truly believe would have been equal to or far greater than the outcome of what could have been. I’ve built a beautiful life here with people I find a family in and love deeply. Had I not moved here, I would have never met these people who have completely altered my life in the best possible way. I was so affected by the location I was in, I didn’t take the time to see the people who were right in front of me who believe in me, support me, fight for me, love me and do this crazy thing called life right alongside me. I may have been more successful in a worldly sense if I had been in New York. Opportunity may have been more rampant. But because of the people I have in my life, I have become exponentially happier and richer in character. Two things I am not willing to sacrifice. Life is not meant to be done alone, and I am better because of the people I’ve surrounded myself with.
I blamed myself for the negative things that happened. I blamed my selfish wants. I blamed the “chill” of Los Angeles. But the thing is, I’m human and I’m always going to make poor decisions. I’m going to be a little reckless and do things I shouldn’t do. I’m going to take risks and a lot of times I’m going to fail. We all are. It’s how you deal with it that counts. I didn’t need to move back to New York to be the best me. I just needed to believe in myself and embrace whatever mistakes I may have made and the one’s I will make moving forward.
In life we do things. Some we wish we had never done. Some we wish we could replay a million times in our heads. But they all make us who we are. In the end, they shape every detail about us. If we were to reverse any of them we wouldn’t be the person we are. So just live. Make mistakes. Have wonderful memories. But never ever second guess who you are, where you have been, and most importantly where it is you’re going.