By: Rachael Ann Mare, Guest BloggerDecember 1, 2015
Image via quotesgram.com
At the age of 12, I announced to my mother that I was going to move to New York City someday. I meant it. That idea hung out in the back of my mind, threading with my sense of self, becoming a part of me. At 26 in Minneapolis, I found myself stymied and uninspired, at a job where I loved the people but not my work. That old dream of NYC nudged me. I’m still here, it said. You haven’t looked at me in a while.
I flew to the city, hoping for a revelation. Would I fall in love at first sight? Or despise it, killing the dream (and the fear of it) forever? Neither happened. Some things I liked. Other things I didn’t. But the dream wouldn’t leave me be. After returning from my trip, I made the decision. I didn’t know anyone in New York. I didn’t have a job there. I made the decision anyway. I started saving money. I researched. I found a company that drops off a giant container for your stuff and stores it cheap. I trolled Craigslist until I found a reasonably priced ($900) sublet in Williamsburg that would let me bring my cat but had no cats on site already. (The Stinks hates other cats; she likes to be the queen).
Eight months later, friends helped me pack my stuff. There were no excuses anymore. This was it. At the airport, the beautiful man I was dating stood waiting for me to make my way through the security line, as strong as ever. I cradled the crying cat close and tried not to cry myself. When I arrived, my sublet featured dirty dishes piling up in the sink, cigarette ash blanketing the desk, bugs crawling out of the shower drain, and cockroaches climbing out of the closet—at eye level. Plus, my carefully chosen cat-free renters had acquired two kittens. Stinker hid under the bed for the entire month.
The apartment search seemed hopeless. I looked at a place in Park Slope that had a metal wardrobe in the hallway for a closet and a half-size fridge for a kitchen for $1075 per month, a place in Red Hook over a bar that was open until 2 a.m. during the week and required a schlep over the BQE to get to the laundromat, and a place in Fort Greene where I was warned by an old man about “being careful in the park” in broad daylight. How would I ever find what I needed? I kept looking, trying different neighborhoods, and then there it was, in Queens—a giant studio with hardwood floors and laundry in the building in a safe neighborhood. In my price range. I had to hand over most of my savings; because I didn’t have a job, the landlord wanted 3 months’ rent upfront. Add in the security deposit and the brokers’ fee, and I wouldn’t have a cushion for job hunting; I would have to start temping immediately. But that was the worst part.
Once I had a place of my own, here in the city, I felt more at home. I had a secure base from which to explore and challenge myself and discover everything else I needed.
I’ve now lived in NYC for nearly 10 years. It’s a tough town, but I’m so glad I chased that dream. I wouldn’t change it for anything. The hardest part is the fear of the unknown. Don’t let it stop you.
What kind of adventure calls to you? What have you been dreaming about doing and what can you do to make that dream a reality? Tell us about it below!
About Rachael Ann
Rachael Ann Mare is a writer who helps motivate creators. She champions embracing your weirdness, being earnest, and bringing back heroes. Her work has appeared in Scholastic Parent & Child and AppleSeeds magazine. For weekly inspiration, sign up for her e-mail newsletter at her blog, SpunkyMisfitGirl.com