Above is a picture of the fortune I got the night before I interviewed for my job at the Flower Company. That night Austin and I went to the Chinese restaurant in Morningside Heights that gives its patrons free wine. I went over my interview spiel for Austin; I’d never applied for a grown-up person job before so I was terrified, but then I got that fortune and I knew I was going to get the job.
I don’t take fortune cookie wisdom lightly – I keep fortunes that I think mean something in my wallet so that I’m reminded of where I am in my life. In a way, they feel like titles to each chapter of my life.
I realized about six months ago that my current job was a dead end. If I were to stay at the Flower Company, I would forever remain the smiley, happy, patient, customer service representative who was secretly dying on the inside. I absolutely hated my life for those six months because there’s nothing fun about trying to explain how to use a website to an 80-year-old woman if you know that’s it’s not a stepping stone to some greater job. Customer Service has a high burnout rate, but I’m actually surprised it doesn’t have a high suicide rate, because oh my fucking god it can be so awful.
So I found a new job. One that I’m really excited about. This was my first time job searching for reals, and I couldn’t believe how confusing and overwhelming the process of interviewing, considering and deciding on offers is. But, I did it! I promised myself on New Year’s that I would no longer be a customer service person by the summer and I actually accomplished the goal. It’s a great feeling.
Ok, so not all fortunes are worth keeping… I got this one last Thanksgiving, right around the time I was deciding to leave my job.
I say all this stuff as a preface to talking about what my first year and a half in New York was like… I ran away from Georgia, and all my problems with my two best friends in hopes of finding stability. I wanted a quiet, simple life up here. That’s not why people move to New York. People move here to be The Best, or to find adventures, or at least to enjoy their 20s.
My first year and a half here was like getting bitch slapped over and over again with an AM New York. It was so hard, and I doubted myself and every decision I’ve ever made constantly. I had my heart broken twice during that time; first by my boyfriend and second by my job. Living in New York makes you wish you were thinner, hotter, richer, more successful and every other thing you hope you’ll be but are ok with not being when you live basically anywhere else. I didn’t look at the NYC skyline and think “I made it,” I looked at it and thought about all the ways I failed.
The other day I took a cab from Kennedy to my apartment after visiting my family in Mexico and quitting my shitty customer service job. I felt so excited to see the skyline and know that I live here. I’m entering this new chapter of my life, and all I feel is lucky. It might be terrifying, disappointing, or awful… but I’ve realized in the past few months a benefit to life in New York: There’s always a new chapter to start, always a new beginning if you choose to grab it.