Two years ago, I arrived from Kansas City to LaGuardia Airport. The clock hit midnight and I took the M60 bus into Manhattan to catch some rest. The hustle began about six hours later with phone calls and arranging interviews for work. In the back of my mind I had some doubts, but the busyness allowed me to not worry. After all, I knew I wanted to start my post undergrad life here. The people who were around me in the summer of 2010 could attest to this. My spare time consisted of me researching leads on apartments, jobs, neighborhoods, good bagel places and the like. With all this research and anticipation, I could only dream of how my life would shape outside of school and my hometown, in which I had spent 23 years of my life as a resident.
And what a wonderful two years I’ve had here thus far, filled with discovery, struggle and success. Although I’m surrounded by the pretty side of the city, I have also seen the ugly side. From the sights of the Brooklyn Promenade, brownstones, nice people and Christmas in New York to fare hikes, meter maids ticketing even UPS vehicles, mean people and excessive horn honkers, I’ve seen a lot. However, I have figured out a lot about myself as a person that I couldn’t have otherwise. In fact, I remember the first Sunday of my adventure hanging out around the Morningside neighborhood of Manhattan. As I walked around the park, I could only wonder where I’d be in three months, let alone two years. With God on my side I knew I’d be in good hands, though the first few months tested me in a great way.
What seemed forever to pick up good and honest work in fact helped me hone in on my skills at being patient. When I exhausted my possibilities following up leads on jobs for the day, I’d practice my music at night. When I finally received temp work, I found that the time spent on my guitar dwindled down. Yes I still practiced, but not at the level that I liked. As more office jobs followed, I ended up landing a paid internship at Carl Fischer, a reputable and well-respected music publishing company. This almost turned into a full-time position, but at the last minute it went to someone from the outside. Though I may have been upset and angry when I didn’t get hired, in retrospect I’m happy it didn’t work out because of what I’m doing today.
Currently, I’m playing music at a level in which my confidence is high. I’m constantly seeing what I need to do to improve. Also, I now look at each situation (gig, lesson) for what it is—perhaps the reason I’m more confident is because I have realistic expectations as I age. Yes, some gigs do “suck” unfortunately, but when you’re paid it’s not so bad. My perception of people’s actions are clearer to me now as well. As far as my day-to-day, I’ve become the master scheduler of sorts with rehearsals, lessons and gigs. Now that’s patience in action in the adult world.
I found the main reason that I’m calm is because I am positive and healthy, even in a city that can be really stressful at times. Since moving, I’ve dropped 22 pounds of weight by running and walking each day. Also, I avoid hanging out with people who complain and I don’t get caught up in thinking about tomorrow. Thus by setting boundaries, I’m able to enjoy life in the city. Though I experience “I hate New York” moments from time to time, I’m fortunate that I have ways to escape some of the ugliness that comes with it.
Looking forward for more to come.