New Firsts, New York, New Year
2015 was good to me.
I started the year wrapping up my brief backpacking trip through Southeast Asia, barely survived another provision busy season, took a spontaneous trip to England/Denmark/Sweden, traveled with my parents to the illustrious Banff National Park, reunited with close friends in Seattle, grew professionally and personally with my work, read a new favorite book that I still reflect on often, attended a vegan festival in Portland, got a promotion, said goodbye to my team who I’m lucky to consider my friends, celebrated my dad’s retirement, moved to New York City, hiked on the coast of Italy, and laughed more than I cried.
And I learned a lot.
- I learned that big changes can actually be anticlimactic.
I had been a leaning vegan for a couple of years, with an excuse for every time I cheated. In 2015, I embraced it; with the help of the Dallas vegan community, countless visits to Spiral Diner, and my faithful Vitamix, it was so easy. I’ve only recently stopped admonishing myself for not transitioning sooner. Born and raised in Texas, and I don’t even miss rich and creamy queso!
I went from a fledgling staff, to a curious staff, to an optimistic senior with my promotion. I had so many great opportunities at work; I faltered at most, I steadfastly declined some, and I surprised myself with a few. And the best part about this promotion is that I’m still in my formative years. I can learn from my mistakes, accept new challenges, and become more confident in this role.
But the move to New York was the biggest change of 2015 and my whole life. But this change just felt so … natural. I know I live here now, but I imagined some big, overly emotional outburst of the realization, or even some gradual awareness of my new home. However, I quickly fell into a routine without feeling emotionally bereft, submerging into a daily urban trance.
- I learned (er, reinforced) that only a few bad days can cascade into endless self-doubt.
I’m not impulsive. I convert nearly everything to a pro-con list and I’m a walking archetype of The Checklist Manifesto. I’m indecisive, I hesitate, and I avoid making choices that affect other people.
But I learned (more than ever this year) that a couple of crummy days can change my once resolute perspective. An unpleasant day at work can cause me to reevaluate my career and recalibrate my compass, or a sick man on the subway can make me question my move to NYC, or an uninviting conversation can send me into soul-crushing distress.
And the only way to overcome this is to be more patient. All I need is time.
- I learned that it’s a routine challenge to balance inspiration and intimidation.
Since moving here, I’ve met some incredible, yet completely normal, people. I’ve met people who have traveled more than me, promoted faster than me, relayed better stories, read more classic literature, who have already skimmed that blog post I’m raving out, who can outrun/outlift me, who are infinitely more passionate than me, and who can eat and drink more than me.
I’m mediocre at all those things, but in nearly every encounter in the City, I’m never the most interesting person holding the conversation. Ever.
There are people who are backpacking through South America while I’m fading in an office, people who are networking with the best while I sleep in, people who are perfecting their inversions while I sit here and type this.
And I’ve learned that I have to incessantly protest against feeling melancholy or adding to my rolodex of shortcomings. Because really, I’m just a girl in my late twenties, living in an unbelievable city, who’s comfortable with not being the best, but who’s trying to be better.
Cheers, 2015. Here’s to learning more.