Mike and I had been dating for almost a year when I started hearing rumblings about restructuring in my company. I remember being out to dinner at an Italian restaurant when I told him the rumors.
Mike: Well, you’ve been with the company in one shape or form for three years. You shouldn’t have a problem getting another job.
Me: Yes. Well, if I don’t get laid off, I’m going to get transferred.
Mike: …well…we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
About a month later I was transferred…to New York City. I was so torn. I’d applied for dozens of jobs in NYC upon graduation. Living there would be a dream come true. But, I loved the way my life was. I had two awesome roommates, a fantastic apartment with an ocean view, and a boyfriend I loved. I didn’t know what to do. I talked to my family, I talked to my roommates Jackie! and Bella, and I talked to Mike. Everyone told me to go to New York. So I went.
I moved there the weekend after Thanksgiving in 2003. I got a tiny apartment on the upper east side that fit me perfectly. But man…it was small.
I had to climb over the bed to get into the bathroom. The building was a six story walk up, and I lived on the fifth floor. The building was so old that it was literally an historical landmark. Which meant that the pipes were also really freaking old…which meant I spent a lot of time in the bathroom at the Barnes & Noble eight blocks away. Heh.
Anyway. I knew I would love life in New York City, and I did. I made tons of friends, had amazing adventures (some good, some bad), and learned how to be independent. I lived on my own, and while I had plenty of friends to call in time of need, I also had to take care of myself. Jackie! wasn’t there to kill spiders for me (I used to wake her at 3am to kill them. Seriously.), Bella wasn’t there to make me eat dinner, and my mom was much too far away to do my laundry. Living alone was one of the best things I ever did for myself.
Of course, there were things that were not great about New York. The first was that I made pennies. I lived on my credit cards. Do I regret that? Not anymore. It took me two and a half years to pay off my debt (and uh…it was a lot. A VERY HIGH NUMBER.) but I wouldn’t give up any of the experiences that put me in the red (or the clothes and shoes, HELLO it was New York, a girl has to look GOOD).
The second thing was my job. I loved it at first. I was working for a record label, and I was out at concerts all the time. It was fun looking for new talent, spending company money, and being out until 3 am most nights a week – for work. But it got tiring. The label had its hands tied by the parent company, so we couldn’t take risks on new acts, which was frustrating for me. Because of that, my job started to change shape into something that, quite frankly, I never would have uprooted my California life for.
The third, and biggest strike against NYC wasn’t what was in the city, but what wasn’t. Mike was still in California. He had a job, and a condo, and a life in LA, and even though I desperately wanted him to move to New York, I didn’t want him to move just for me. We did everything we could to make it work. We would talk on the phone multiple times a day. We would Instant Message throughout the day. The best part was Mike’s job was very flexible. He was able to come visit me every other month for a couple weeks at a time. The other months usually found me traveling back to California for work or other obligations. We were lucky that we could see each other every month. And, I honestly think having a relationship that relied almost exclusively on verbal communication was great for us. We talked – really talked – a lot. That’s not to say having a long distance relationship was easy. It was INCREDIBLY hard.
When I’d been in the city for a year, I went to my bosses and asked for a raise. I told them that I was almost maxed out on my credit cards, and if I didn’t get more money, I was going to have to quit. I’d been going on interviews, so I figured I would either a) get more money and stay in my job; b) get a new job that paid more money; or c) have no job and move back to California. After dicking me around for two weeks, my bosses basically told me that they loved me but had no more money to give. But since they’d been total jerks by making me wait for two weeks, I’d already decided it was time to move back. I gave notice, packed up my stuff, sold the rest, and made another cross-country move.
Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I’d stayed – my own personal “sliding door.” I wonder what career path I would have gone down, if I would have stayed in my tiny apartment, etc. This is all purely out of curiosity. I am MORE than happy with the way things turned out. If I’d stayed in New York, who knows if I would have this now?
No, definitely not wishful thinking – I have everything I could have wished for.