Belonging In The Big City

By: Megan Grassell, IATG ContributorSeptember 21, 2016


Hello, hello girls!  Megan here again.

Ok, so this month I wanted to talk a bit about my move to New York City.  Some of you may know that I’m actually from Wyoming.  And although for the last six or so years my family lived in Jackson Hole, for the first 14 years of my life I lived in a town called Pinedale, Wyoming.  Population: 1,400. It’s a beautiful town at the base of the Wind River Mountain Range,and those mountains are my most favorite place in the world, something I consider a piece of me.

In this very small mountain town, I was part of a community that knew me, because in a town that size, everyone knows everyone. To grow up like that was incredible. I remember being about 8-years-old and riding bikes with my friend, Hattie, and brother, Will, up to Fremont Lake.  We spent the entire day there, running and jumping off of the wooden docks into the water that was rarely warmer than 75º/80º, while the Dixie Chicks’ played on a loop. We fished for lake trout and ate the turkey-swiss sandwiches my mom made for us. We smiled, waved, and talked to every person that walked by. In Pinedale, not only did we have our parents taking care of us, but we had an entire town watching out for us. For all the times we tripped climbing through the rocks, cut the heels of our hands falling off of our bikes, or nicked our shins on the metal ladder climbing out of the water, there was someone there to offer a bandaid and a big hug.

When we were even younger, perhaps 5 or 6 years old, my mom would drop my brother and I off at White Pine Ski Area at 9 o’clock in the morning, wave goodbye, and then pick us up when they closed at 4pm. She never worried. My mom and dad knew the lifties. They knew the owners, and they also knew the other skiers would keep an eye out for us.

Not once did we ever have to call home during the day, whether we were at White Pine, Fremont, or somewhere in between.

Growing up in a town that size, it was easy to belong... you simply did.

You had a place, a purpose, and the love and support from everyone around you. In a small town like Pinedale, the people who live there are kind, they are generous, and they are optimistic. There is open space, fresh mountain air, clear skies, and the stars are so bright you have to see a night sky in Wyoming to believe that beauty and clarity like that exists.

That’s where I am from, and I love it with all of my heart. It helped shape me to be who I am today.

Now, I live in Manhattan.  

I could not have hand-crafted something more opposite from Wyoming! I moved here knowing about six or seven people in total, into an apartment the size of a teacup, and without a strong understanding of how people live outside of my Wyoming world. That kindness, smiling, and cheerfulness towards the people around you does NOT translate to the streets New York! I think if I fell and nicked the edge of my shin here, someone would just push me out of their way as they rushed off… always 5 minutes late to where they need to be.

But more than that, finding a place to belong in a city like New York could not be more different from belonging to a town like Pinedale or Jackson Hole. There’s a certain excitement in the anonymity of being here, but it can be challenging.

What I’ve found to be important in finding a place to belong in NYC is having a purpose. For me, that purpose is my job, the work I do, and the way I spend my time continuing to build my company with my team.  And although the streets are different from those at home, I am beginning to both appreciate and love New York City.

Until next month,


Let’s Chat!

Finding a place where you belong can be tough, so try and take Megan’s lead by simply finding your purpose instead! What do you love to do? What are you passionate about in your city? When you discover these things, pursue them! You’ll find your place. We’ve got your back.


About Megan:

Megan_G.jpgIn 2014, Megan was selected as one of TIME Magazine’s 25 Most Influential Teens and included on Huffington Post’s list of 14 Most Fearless Teens. She has been featured in countless media outlets including The TODAY Show, The New York Times, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Forbes Magazine, Seventeen, and Teen Vogue among others. Megan has deferred her freshman year at Middlebury College to continue as CEO of Yellowberry.


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