When I was 13 years old, my best friend Brittany and I used to constantly daydream about living in New York City when we grew up. We used to have these elaborate plans to work in film and fashion and live in this beautiful apartment overlooking all the lights of the city. I so so SO vividly remember listening to The Fray’s self titled album on repeat alone in my bedroom in suburban Pennsylvania, idealizing my future self and my cool, successful, big city life.
It’s funny because here I am, over 10 years later, still idealizing this future, successful, happy version of myself. I know I sound like a broken record, but I would have never expected my life at age 24 to be the way it is.
Don’t get me wrong, part of that is a great thing. I went to a college I loved more than I ever could have imagined, and I met friends that showed me sense of love and support that I had never experienced before. I spent a year in DC and I loved (almost) every single minute of it. I traveled to some amazing places, met some amazing people, and I’ve made memories I never thought possible.
But I think as a kid dreaming about my future, I never accounted for the struggles I was bound to face. My young, naive self always assumed that the older I got, the happier I would become. I spent so much of my childhood being bullied and feeling like an outcast, that I assumed that with age came confidence and the ability to withstand any negativity thrown my way.
For a while that was pretty true. High school and college were a collection of almost entirely happy memories for me. I felt more popular, more confident, more mature, more independent, and overall more happy. But post-grad hit me like a brick wall. My family fell apart, my career didn’t come easy, my confidence plummeted, and my mental heath suffered.
It’s been so easy for me to pity myself, especially recently, because I feel like I’ve had a lot more emotional low points over the past few months. But I want to take a step back and realize how much I have to be proud of. Yes, I have a long way to go, but I’m making my little middle school self’s dream reality and that is pretty cool!!
I wish I felt more excited about it. I’ve been having an extra difficult time feeling upbeat about anything recently and not only is that obviously sad, but it’s so so frustrating. Knowing that something that used to make you happy doesn’t anymore is such a confusing feeling.
I think this move is going to be a step in the right direction, though. I took a big risk leaving DC for a job in NYC. The past 6 months of commuting has all been leading up to this moment. I wonder what my 13 year old self would think of me now.