Some people are all about New Year’s and while I’m definitely among that crowd, I always find that my real resolutions sink in around my birthday—my own personal fresh start. And just like with New Year’s, I like to sit and really think about what’s happened in the past year and wonder how the time flew by so quickly—because, quite frankly, it doesn’t feel real. I guess this is what growing up is like though so I better get used to it. Anyways, after the initial shock that, yes, another year has indeed flown by; I like to look ahead with a sort of mental vision board dedicated to becoming my best self.
My 23rd year didn’t start on the best foot—and I don’t just mean figuratively because ringing in my new year along the streets of AdMo with Saya, Jaleece and Aleichia led to the desecration of my one and only pair of Stuart Weitzman’s. Cringe worthy, I know. But in all seriousness, when the clock struck midnight and then many minutes thereafter without a ‘Happy Birthday’ call from the one person I wanted it from at the time, it was easy for my freshly 23-year-old brain to feel like the world was crashing in. And, you see, love has a way of doing that to people. It creates this illusion that life can’t go on without the other person—that nothing matters as much without them by your side. And while I’m the biggest romantic of them all and believe that there’s certainly love out there that’s like that, I think more often than not in a girl’s life she merely thinks it’s that love before realizing it’s just a stepping stone leading to Mr. (or Miss because let’s be real, love has no gender) Right. That being said, you best believe I’ve been pretty guilty of this due to always having a way with being a bit of a, um, how do you say—d r a m a q u e e n (admitting is the first step, right?). So, breaking up a day before my birthday (aka just about one of the most important days of the year (unapologetic DQ, remember?)) and 3 days before making the move of a lifetime, yeah, I was pretty bummed to say the least. Of course I eventually realized it wasn’t the end of the world, it was simply the beginning of something outside the lines of my immediate imagination—something so much better.
Moving to New York City has been my dream since I was ten years old. While most of my friends changed their mind about what they wanted to be when they grew up—I always knew. So as soon as I got my job offer, although I knew it was about to be the biggest change I’d ever experienced, I was eager and SO in.
Initially when I moved to the city I was stuck in a haze after what happened just before moving. So hazy, in fact, that I had to force myself to be happy because I was numb to the fact that I was living my dream. It’s that whole notion that forcing a smile genuinely decreases stress and it eventually no longer needs to be faked (give it a try if you haven’t). With that method in mind I took on life here in the city as best I could—which inevitably meant 1-2 or 4 mistakes along the way. But hey, who’s counting? No regrets, right?
No, but really—I definitely had a few hiccups along the way while trying to fill my time with meaningless endeavors to help turn my fake smile into something real and heartfelt. Come May 2015, I was re-evaluating my life choices and wanted to re-center. And so began my month-long hiatus from alcohol and inclusion in daily Ashtanga yoga practice, as well as the beginning stages of training for a half marathon. And just like that, I changed my life.
That being said, here’s to 23 (some of my favorite memories in chronological order):
- Heartbreak and mistakes that led to finding equilibrium
- Officially began my career in the magazine industry
- Pushing myself outside of my comfort zone with solo adventures to the Union Square Farmer’s Market and Central Park—and around the city as a whole
- One of the best summers of my life
- Running the Urban Mudder
- Missing my family and back home because it created a sense of appreciation where I once took things for granted
- The Frying Pan and 230 Fifth
- Being part of the Trifecta
- Meeting friends through friends (Emmie you’re amazing for setting Danielle and I up)
- Oh, Mr. Matt ❤
- Restaurant Week
- Friends and family visiting because I love watching their reactions to the city
- Virginia Beach
- A hilarious beach biking accident where I still don’t know how we didn’t get 1) injured or 2) a drunk in public
- Rebelution on the beach
- Letting Matt get me out of my comfort zone by introducing me to raves and loving every second of it
- Letting Matt get me out of my comfort zone in general—but please stop trying to get me to eat fishy things
- The first and only time Matt and I ever trained together for our half because he pushed and encouraged me every step of the way
- Running my first half marathon and everything that entailed
- Overcoming obstacles of all kinds—career-oriented, self-oriented, surroundings-oriented—you name it
- Falling in l o v e
- Christmas in the city because when you put two of my favorite things in the entire world together, you best believe it’s magical
- Getting my first major magazine assignments
- The moment I first saw my name in print for the world’s leading men’s magazine
- Falling back in love with the city
& Cheers to 24:
A bigger, brighter version of 23 with endless possibilities and lots more unapologetic dream chasing achieved through good intentions, good people, good times, new adventures, an eye towards focusing more on what’s happening than what I expect to happen and a whole lot of love for everything that is my life.