I had been a mess of anxiety leading up to the trip. This was all about work, and packing the day before sent me into a spiral. I’d purchased one great blazer, the most expensive piece of clothing I owned, and it was going with me, but the rest was just part of my everyday rotation. None of it felt good enough for New York. None of it was chic enough or special enough. It wasn’t Forever 21 by any means, but in my mind, where I was going, it might as well have been.
I somehow managed to pack a decent amount of clothes. Outfits were perfectly planned. Everything was folded neatly and tucked away in the suitcase, ready to be pulled out in an entirely different timezone. I didn’t think I would sleep. I laid in bed and thought about what this trip COULD be like. The voice in my head continued to go on and on about how I’m not worthy of the city I was going to. I had no idea what to expect so my anxiety ran wild.
After about maybe four hours of sleep, I woke up to my Lady Gaga alarm tone. It was the beginning of the song “Applause,” and I stared at my ceiling for a minute while it played, and it hit me.
I’m going to New York City today.
I actually felt the anxiety melt away from my body. I got up, showered, finished packing, called an uber, locked my front door, and didn’t look back.
Once the plane took off, I shuffled through my cheesy playlist of New York related songs (I’m fully convinced that if you don’t listen to Empire State of Mind at least once on a NYC trip, you didn’t do it right) and was glued to the window. As the descent into LaGuardia began, I basically had my forehead pressed to the window, waiting patiently for a glimpse of Manhattan to come into view.
When it finally did, I got chills. I could make out the Statue of Liberty. There’s something about seeing insanely famous landmarks in person that just gives you chills. And I was in an airplane. I couldn’t help but think about what Lady Liberty stood for, and who our country was currently being led by.
We landed. My boss was in first class, and she waited for me to finally get out of coach, and we were off power-walking to the baggage claim while discussing the game plan for the day. She’d warned me: as soon as we got off the plane, it was show time. And she had been right. We had a lot of boxes to check for the day and a short amount of time to do it. I found my silver luggage bag and helped her with her Louis Vuitton bags. We loaded ourselves into a cab and headed to The Palace.
I’d had my head in the clouds since Manhattan had come into view, but let me tell you, that cab ride woke me up. Traffic lanes mean nothing in NYC. If there are two marked lanes, but three cars can fit across, then three cars are going to fit. It was terrifying and exhilarating. I could have stuck my arm out the window and touched the vehicle next to me. I’m convinced none of these people passed a legitimate drivers test, but it was so classic New York that I couldn’t even be upset. It was the perfect welcome to the city.
The Palace is stunning. I was a diehard Gossip Girl fan as a teenager so stepping into that iconic courtyard was a very cool feeling, and of course it’s right across the street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Midtown is just… awesome. I don’t know how else to describe it.
The four days that followed were a complete whirlwind that you couldn’t pay me to forget. I have never worked so hard, and then turned around and gone out for dinner or drinks or just to explore a city that never sleeps. I wasn’t ever tired. I’m a girl that enjoys her solid eight hours of sleep during the normal week, but somehow I managed to not only exist on four hours of sleep, but I thrived. I was on my A game at work, made sure to see one of my best college friends who recently moved to NYC, dressed fabulous (with that B game wardrobe of mine) for dinner or drinks and networked my ass off. The day I had the most free time, I walked over nine miles, and then got cleaned up, threw on high heels and went to dinner downtown. I met people so high up in my company that if they ever remembered my name, it would change my life.
It was like something out of a movie.
‘Oh we’re meeting X from Z company for drinks tonight’
And we did, and we’d order a bottle of wine and someone would swipe a corporate card because it was technically business and we’d sit and discuss said business. It was the sort of thing that I always thought would be kind of boring but it wasn’t. It wasn’t at all. I was engaged and even when I was just listening, I was doing my best to absorb every bit of information about this industry that I could, because it was only going to help me in the future. I felt, and still currently feel, like I am standing on the beginning steps of a very promising career climb.
New York was a dream, start to finish. My mom made the comment that the photo of me (see below) on the steps of the Met is her new favorite photo because I look so truly happy. I know that smile. I know how it feels on my face. That’s the genuine one. The one where I’m so overwhelmed with happiness that it might actually physically pour out of me. I felt like that the entire trip. It was an absolute dream.
It was an exhausting dream that left me dozing off against the window on the flight from LaGuardia back to STL, but it was a dream nonetheless. I’m grateful that I was able to go and be a part of it, and I’m truly grateful for where I am right now. I love my job. I wake up every morning and I’m excited to go to work. Everyone told me that I should enjoy college while it lasts because the real world sucks, and I’d just like to say, No, it doesn’t. It’s so much better.
Cannot wait to go back to NYC in a couple months. I’m completely head over heels in love with that city. The biggest question we kept asking each other was if we would ever live there, and I finally decided my answer. I wouldn’t just move there to move there. I wouldn’t live there with four roommates and no closet space and no AC and $1500 rent. But for the right promotion… a true career changing position?