I’ve decided something. Finally. After months of pondering, weeks of calculating, and countless seconds agonizing, I’ve finally decided something big. But let’s take it back to the beginning, shall we?
I moved to New York when I was 18. It seems alternately a lifetime ago and just yesterday that my parents drove 15hrs to drop me at a rat, ‘roach, and bedbug infested student housing complex so I could blissfully pursue my dream of being a professional actor. Fast-forward through a condensed schooling period followed by jobs in my field and out, with terrible people and backstabbing companies and some of the best people I’ve ever met who remain solid friends to this day. I cried, bled, swore, fought, reveled, kissed, partied, celebrated, and basked in my art. When things were good, they were great. When they were bad – absolute travesty. My life was one of constant extremes, which I relished.
Around mid 2013, I was no longer satisfied with my career path because try as I might, I couldn’t get where I wanted to be or achieve what I wanted to achieve. I did everything “right” and it wasn’t working. Utter frustration along with extreme mood swings I didn’t understand and thoughts that scared me got me seeking help, and I wound up in therapy. “Why do you pay someone to listen to you? That’s what friends are for.” Yeah, I was that person. But when my thoughts turned suicidal, I knew I couldn’t battle myself alone anymore.
Later that year, life started looking up as I ended up working for a year and a half at that paragon of awesome, Queen of the Night. Those were good days, full of new friends and exploration, acquiring new skills and passions, and really flexing myself as a young adult in NYC; full of freedom, vivacity, and verve.September 2014 is the month I note as the beginning of my Change. My discontent began to grow, due to work and personal upheavals. I took a beautiful 10 day vacation to Ireland and thought that would ease my itch. But when the New Year came and went, I was growing steadily more unhappy. In an effort to grab some control of my life, I bought a 1 way ticket to Thailand.
Umm…yeah, what? Hah! Oh, Julia. If you thought that was putting you at the helm of the Control Panel of Life, you had no idea, did you? I really didn’t. My four month solo trip around Southeast Asia changed, challenged, pushed, and grew me like a wild tropical plant. I burst into bloom and realized a small but hugely significant part of how truly wonderful I can be simply as me. I vowed to keep those lessons with me when I returned to NYC.
Three weeks after my return, I was back to my old self – only, I didn’t fit into my old shell. I desperately tried to fit back into said shell, cramping myself and tolerating my misery because This Is What I Wanted!! It’s The Dream to live in NYC, the Best and Most Important City in the World! How could I be unhappy and deeply dissatisfied?! But I realized that was my Pride talking, and I began listening for what my Soul had to say.
While I was listening, the Universe decided I needed to hurry up my process. Roommates and close friends up and quit NYC, I got a job that ended up being incredibly stressful and I was let go four months later, I was denied unemployment, I was swimming in medical debt, I lost out on a terrific wildlife refuge internship, and most traumatic of all was the death of my beloved Strider.
New York is too loud and overpowering – what I once thrived on now smothered me. So I went home to think and breathe and try to begin healing. My sister-in-law gave me a great book, “You are a Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life” by Jen Sincero. (Check it out; you’ll be glad you did) This quote ran parallel to my recently swirling thoughts:
“You don’t have to wait until you hit rock bottom to start crawling out of your hole. All you have to do is make the decision. And you can make it right now…Most answers reveal themselves through doing, not thinking.”
– Jen Sincero
So you know what I did? I stopped thinking and did. Instead of waiting for things to get even worse or truly hit Rock Bottom before taking action, I took my life in my own hands and applied for a Working Holiday Visa for New Zealand. And I got it! I stopped thinking, stopped agonizing, and kept putting myself out there until one of my excellent choices finally blasted the door wide open.
I never thought I’d say this, but I’m leaving New York City. I realize now it’s not in failure or defeat, but because I no longer serve it and it no longer serves me. I’ve had a ball of a time and some pretty crazy adventures here, but my story is moving on now – across the world to a beautiful set of islands full of sheep, Hobbit Holes, wine, and endless opportunity.
I leave New York more brilliant, strong, and refined than I ever could have hoped or imagined. And I’m sure the future holds more of the same awesome stardust.
Wow, Julia — this is big news. You told your New York story beautifully and I look forward to hearing about the next chapter. If you ever think you’d like to do creative, fun, amazing things with old people who have dementia, let me know as I have kiwi contacts. In the meantime, blessings for the journey. Your write beautifully and I always enjoy reading your work.
Thank you so much, Susan 🙂
Wow, Julia! I love your writing. I remember that 18 year old who left this town for adventures beyond. I wish you well on this next leg of the journey. Love to you.
Thanks, Deb! Can’t wait for all the wonderful new adventures and people and experiences that await!
Wow. Your struggles with NYC are exactly what I’ve been going through, and the quote you included here is what I’ve been trying to put into words to explain my own recent decision. Yesterday I quit my job, and in two months I’m moving to a city where I don’t know a soul — I’ve been calling it my “jump off a cliff” decision. Speaking as one who knows the feeling of not knowing quite how to leave the city you are “supposed” to love, I am so happy for you.
No matter how alone we think we are, turns out there are countless others going through pretty much the exact same thing! Congratulations on your Plunge!! I deeply hope you find peace and clarity and joy.
YES! Jen Sincero is a god-send haha. She’s hilarious as well! Good luck on your new adventures.
Hope you are well after the ground shake. If I had known about cigars and you I would have brought you one. I am an aficionado. Next time.