With my three week mark set to the date I am starting to well, freak out. There are 8 million people living in the island of Manhattan to have the chance to meet, countless neighborhoods to venture through, every imaginable food to taste, a scale of A to D-list celebrities to stalk, and everything else imaginable in this teeny tiny island of about 13.4 miles in length. I floated through the past few months with stars in my eyes in a dream-like state as I went through my day-to-day routine of work, exploration, and enjoying the insane nightlife the city brings. Now that I see the finish line approaching at a rapid pace, I must truly take a deep breath and evaluate the experiences I must have before it gets to be too late. Now, before I become too dramatic as if it is literally my last three weeks of life in this world and I will never experience this city again…I need to remind myself that this can be a prelude to the start of my next big chapter, so it’s okay if some experiences go on the back-burner for a future date (one that would be potentially in the near future, like as of my college graduation in May.) With all of these anxious thoughts being said, I have mentally compiled a last minute “To do list” for my last three weeks in the empire state. Here it goes…
Try out a new restaurant each day on my work break, bonus points if it is a famous New York trademark. (My company comps my lunch everyday and I have not taken advantage of this in the slightest. We have Chipotle in Kansas City, why am I spending my hour staring at the same burrito I can get in practically any state?)
Enjoy “me time” of a run, walk, or even just laying out in the sun each week at a different, beautiful place. (This one was inspired by my early morning run on the Brooklyn Bridge, quite possibly the most beautiful and inspiring morning run to date.)
Take pictures, and lots of them! (I sometimes take for granted the little things I see each day. Some are reoccurring, others one of a kind. I need to suck up my fear of coming off as a tourist and just take the damn picture. I mean, in my own way I kind of am a tourist and I know I will regret leaving without the pictures to match my memories.)
Witness a major film taping, particularly for Gossip Girl. (I have been fortunate to witness several amazing photo shoots since I have worked in the industry and even styled for the Gossip Girl stylist, but still haven’t seen a major production in action. I must make this happen, like this week!)
I walked home from work in SoHo with a large Madewell shopping tote cradled in the nook of my arm as the sunset glimmered through passerby’s sunglasses and a slight mist fell on the streets. Today my boss took the group of six interns to lunch at Balthazar, a high-society restaurant where magazine editors, fashion royalty, and Upper East Side socialites come to enjoy a quaint lunch in a restaurant fit to a scene from a Parisian film, or even a Sex and the City episode. We sat at a circular table surrounded by lively chatter and the occasional curious stares from tourists peering into the windows. We pretended to be as important as the others in our presence, such as the New York Magazine editors and Huffington Post writers in arms reach as we shared our summer experiences, future dreams, and most outrageous stories of life in the city. My boss shared her story- a journey of exploration, dating rockstars, personal achievements, life disappointments, and finally making a name for herself through her career in the fashion industry. I sat wide-eyed, soaking in each tidbit of information and advice she shared, amazed at each experience she easily laughed at in memory.
I’m scared to say I don’t know what I want to do with my life yet. I have fallen down the rabbit hole in a real-life adventure of life in NYC, and I absolutely love it. I have fallen in love with the endless opportunities that the city presents, all so effortlessly and up for the taking. I have been thrown into wild nights of club hopping, being chauffeured in stretch limos through Time Square to step onto a bright red carpet past the lines of anxious people waiting to get in- in most cases past people more accomplished than me. I have danced in the V.I.P sections of darkly lit lounges where alcohol is plentiful, athletes hover above the dancing heads on their way to their table, and extravagance and indulgence is key. Last weekend I stood on the rooftop of a private V.I.P bar in Uptown Manhatten surrounded by the bright lights of the buildings around me. I twirled in circles looking up at the sky, in awe of the breathtaking city I was standing on top of.
In conclusion of it all, I have learned many things. I have learned how to navigate the confusion of the MTA subway system, how to keep up with the work demands of the fashion industry, and the places most beautiful to sit alone when you just need to clear your head. I have crammed every word of advice, snapshot image of scenery, laughter from the stories exchanged, and smile from unfamiliar face into my head the past eight weeks. I’m not sure yet what path will be the best for me, but I have a vast expanse of memories, inspiration, faith, and hope gained to last any adventure I encounter next.
I fell in love with the band ‘The Smiths’ when I was fourteen years old. I slapped a black and white poster of the band warming up backstage before a 1983 concert across my bedroom wall. I bought every record I could find at my record store haven ‘Recycled Sounds’ and had a middle school friend make me a mixtape that I then covered with silly stickers and sharpie hearts. I met a boy who loved Morrissey more than I did. He wore cut up band tees and we would sit in his room for hours and hours, only moving to change the record, soaking in each word.
I grew older and wiser. I played them as I learned about death and love. I played them for the first person I gave my heart to in my beat-up car, sunroof open to the sky. I played them on repeat after I lost the most beautiful girl in my life. I took The Smiths with me on an adventure with my best friend in Florida. We were seventeen and wore sundresses as we frolicked through the sandy beaches. Her older brother played them as we put on makeup and danced in our bare feet in the kitchen. I knew every word, I lived every word.
People change and so does the weather, the year, and the adventures. But the words never have and they never will. I am instantly everywhere I have been and everywhere I want to be once I hit play. I will remember each moment eternally within each three minute song I have grown to know more than anything else. This is just my love story.
“When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it—always”—Gandhi