I remember the first time I said, “I have to go to New York on business.” I uttered it as casually as if I were ordering a taco, but the truth was my 26-year-old self was kvelling, swooning, singing on the inside. Going to New York on business was a right of passage, much like wearing makeup for the first time…only more huge. If a tube of my mother’s Beauty For All Seasons jet black long lash at 13 meant I wasn’t a kid anymore, than surely business in New York meant I was all grown up…which also may have meant this fake-it-til-you-make-it-don’t-let-them-see-you-sweat-or-cry-company of mine might actually be taking off. If you’d told me then that a decade down the road I’d be living in New York, I would have left my body. A career with enough inertia to pull you from Chicago’s third coast to the Big Apple’s east coast had to have meant I was an unabashed success, right? Maybe it did or does, but I wouldn’t know. I was and still am the girl who’s too busy hustling after her dreams every day to consider that. Head down. Heart strong. Focused. That’s me. But, when I look up and catch a glimpse of what I’m doing in the rear view mirror, product design, brand launches, show development, pitch meetings, editor parties, location scouting, photo shoots, casting, filming…and the people I do it with, Erin, Kyle, James, Tina, Veronica, Nate, and so many others, the word that floats to mind isn’t so much success, as it is gratitude. I am grateful, blessed, humbled to be one of the lucky that not only chases a dream, but catches it…and then another and then another and then another…I could tell you that the dream-catcher behind this keyboard is less fake-it-til-you-make-it these days and more I-know-exactly-what-I’m-doing, but that would be a lie. Truth is, no one has any idea what they’re doing…no one…not a soul…not a single idea…really. We’re all making it up as we go along. And, while I try not to give unsolicited advice (an effort I fail at everyday), I can impart this pearl to you, great joy follows great risk. In some ways joy really is just relief on steroids flooding over you when everything falls into place, everyone makes it home safe, he’s born with all ten fingers and toes, she says I love you back…because the alternative, that it would all fall apart, those are the scare-the-daylights-out-of-you thoughts that parade through your head giving joy a place to land in the first place. So, in keeping with my belief that true happiness can’t be found at the bottom of a plastic baby pool when you know the sea is right next door, I suited up, ran for the cliff and cannon-balled into the ocean and moved to the west coast. And, yes, I’m somewhat terrified…but I know joy is floating in those open waters, swimming between the sharks I see and the ones I don’t. So I’m going to do what every person who dreams big does, I’m going to be braver than reason and rationale tell me I ought to be. I’m going to suspend disbelief. I’m going to rely on my moxie. And, even after I’ve lost my floaties, I’m going to keep swimming because that’s the New Yorker in me. I may have traded the east coast for the west coast with this move but anyone who’s lived in NY knows New York’s not a city you live in, so much as a city that lives in you. You can move away, wash off the grit that churns through its grid of streets, but never the glory. The glory of saying I’m a New Yorker stays with you always like a badge you never take off…not even when you suit up and swim in the open waters of your new home, Los. Angeles.
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