After five years of contemplating, debating, analyzing, worrying and more, I finally moved into Manhattan this past Thursday. Sort of funny that I run a website called “Manhattan Digest”, yet didn’t live here for the almost four years that this publication has been active. This past week, that one song with the line “Well I guess this is growing up”, has been echoing in my head, as this has been a big step into finding my independence and being on my own for the first time in a while. Many of us call this “adulting”, but for me it is so much more.
The decision to move to Manhattan, more specifically East Harlem, has been one on my mind for quite some time but in recent months has spiked in interest for many reasons. I moved back home back in February of 2009 after five tough years away at college in Providence, Rhode Island. Those first two years back were an absolute nightmare for me and many other recent graduates at the time, who were dealing with the result of the dreaded economic downfall. I knew people who went to Ivy League universities, people who graduated at the top of the class and so on who couldn’t get a job. It was tough on all of us, tough enough where desperation became prevalent as I had to go back to working at my high school and college job as a cashier at a local supermarket. It was awful, no doubt about that.
At that time, I wanted to move to Manhattan in some capacity, but with little to no financial resources, it became abundantly clear for me that it wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. I am someone who happens to be a go-getter in life, and wanted to get out of my situation sooner than later as tons of people from my high school were moving out of Long Island and into Manhattan and beyond. The struggle of feeling like you are stuck on lap one with everyone passing you made it that much harder, as social media lately tends to act as the new “biological clock” for all of us, with friends posting their advancements in life, albeit a job, engagement, marriage, kids and so on and so forth. You want to be part of the Joneses per se, but for me it was more wanting to create my own Joneses so I can feel like I accomplished something.
I said five years in the beginning of this article as my career and the economy really didn’t start to take a turn for the better until 2011. I started working my first full time job, but only for a matter of time, as it didn’t really work out due to unforeseen reasons. Back to square one for me. Then did a temp job which was supposed to turn into full time, which didn’t. Square one again. Finally, I immersed myself into the world of sales, something that I never saw myself doing, and did what I think any person should do at least once in their life: work for a startup.
It wasn’t that great of an experience, but it onboarded me into one of my two careers that I have had over the course of five years. It has given me much success in that world, working at now three different sales platforms. Not only that, but I have had a wonderful experience working as journalist not only for this fantastic site, but for many others as well. I detailed that in a different piece here. All of these things were building me into the hopes of moving to Manhattan, however there was something definitely keeping me back.
I watched the movie “Failure to Launch” the other day, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Mcconaughey. It’s essentially about a man in his mid-30’s who never moved out of his house, who in turn has his parents set him up with a woman whose job is to get him out of their place and to be independent and on his own. The movie finds that a personal reason keeps Matthew’s character in his home, and not just sheer laziness, which I can relate to in my own sense as the loss of my mother about twelve years ago has taken a huge toll on me that comes in waves. Sometimes I see it coming, sometimes I don’t.
There has always been an aspect in the back of my head, that moving to Manhattan would essentially mean leaving my Long Island life behind me, and that includes the memory of my mother, who I had an amazing relationship with for eighteen years of my life. I also have a super awesome sister and two nephews, who I lived with for a couple of years, that I developed a great bond with, and a father who drives me nuts but at the end of the day loves me unconditionally. When you lose the most vital part of your life like your mother, it triggers a thought process that you will lose several others, especially family members that are very close to you.
Whereas that hasn’t been the main factor in keeping me on Long Island, it added this fear of being on my own again and the thought of failing and having to resort to moving back in with my father or family. It evokes a sentiment that was similar after being on my own for five years in Providence for school, which provided a much needed escape from my daily reality of losing my mother. I had a good friend of mine who moved into the Bronx years ago from Greenlawn on Long Island, only to have to move back a year later due to loss of employment outside of her control and lack of financial resources. I don’t want that to be me, and I don’t plan on it being me either.
So what changed? What finally got those demons out of me and got me into the city? It really is a simple answer. I have come to the conclusion that my mother is always with me and watching over me. It isn’t a religious thing for me, as I have my battles with faith, but something that is unwavering is my notion of spirituality, which keeps her with me. Not only that, but the never ending struggles with the LIRR, wasting hours upon hours of my life every day in my 20’s, missing out on events from birthdays to celebrations all due to not wanting to commute, and so many other things led me to finally moving into Manhattan.
I was lucky enough to find an affordable and wonderful place due to a friend’s posting on Facebook. After seeing it, I didn’t waste one second and texted him shortly after saying “I’ll take it!” I wasn’t going to let fear overtake my decision, and I wanted to make it very quickly so that I couldn’t take it back. In life, you have to not put your toe into the pool, but jump into the deep end and make a big splash. In doing so, you will find yourself making decisions that may not always be right in the long term, but you can appreciate that you at least took it and ultimately held responsibility for it. And that, my friends, is what adulting is all about.