Brooklyn Diaries. Part I.

“Channeling my inner Carrie Bradshaw tonight, as I sit cross legged on my oversized queen mattress, much too big for my tiny NYC apartment. Then again, the real Bradshaw would never find herself living in Brooklyn, but the exposed brick is something special and my private patio is a luxury not many Manhattan dwellers are likely to encounter. I did spend the better part of my evening on the Upper East Side, sipping a glass of white wine from a window table at Sant Ambroeus, overlooking Madison Ave - killing time before my first Junior League meeting. Carrie or perhaps Serena Vanderwoodsen, but feeling like anyone but myself lately. I knew moving to a new city would bring it’s challenges, but in many ways it has been the easiest of transitions. My move went seamlessly (in large part to my incredible parents and family), I’ve settled into my apartment, my neighborhood, and new office. I can easily navigate the subway and was even approached by a tourist who assumed I was local + successfully pointed them in the right direction. New York City and I are on all accounts, a perfect match. Still I’m feeling the side effects of being completely uprooted from a place that I called home for so long. I had built a network of people around me who understood me, who loved me and accepted me, even at my worst. All of a sudden I feel like I have to constantly be the best version of myself, and am terrified of being wrongly perceived or understood. I didn’t anticipate at thirty years of age I would still find myself in moments of such insecurity. And as I try to find my footing and often fail, instead of giving myself grace, I have put this incredible amount of pressure on myself to be better.”

That was a post I started a month into my move to NYC, but wouldn’t ever publish, well at least until now.

I’ve thought about this post for the last five months, trying to put into words all of the feelings and moments I’ve experienced since moving to NYC. The truth is, every time I felt as though I had some sort of blog worthy breakthrough, something would happen and any confidence I had built up was shaken, and I was right back to where I started. One step forward, two steps back. I had gotten to a point where I felt like if I couldn’t produce some wisdom bearing, insightful post than it wasn’t worth sharing. But when I think back ten years (!!) to my original intentions behind creating a blog (RIP Seasons of Faith) it had nothing to do with the product and everything to do with the process. And if I have learned anything from my move to NYC, it is that adjusting to life in this city is a process.

So here are a few things that I’ve been learning over the past few months. Take it, leave it, or don’t read it. I just know that if I don’t write something down, I’ll look back (regardless of how long I happen to live in NYC), trying to remember what those first few months were like - and being able to see all of the growth since then.

I was lucky to come into the city having close friends and family nearby. In those first few weeks, I owe much of my sanity to my cousin. There were many nights spent on her couch, eating her homemade cooking and drinking wine together. Sometimes I would talk for hours about my new job, friends, or a promising date I’d been on. A lot of times I’d sit in tears, overwhelmed by all of the change, while she assured me it would get easier. I made friends quickly, in large part to one of my best friends and one of Minnesota’s very own - but finding depth in those friendships takes time. I found myself saying yes to everything, afraid that if I missed anything, I might miss the opportunity to create the life I so desperately wanted - a life I felt I had left behind in Minneapolis. I was anxious often, and sleep deprived always. And just felt so unlike myself.

Over time I have realized first, to give myself grace. For some reason, I had convinced myself that because I am an adult there was little room for mistakes. That by thirty years old, I should know better than to make poor decisions. But I had to create new routines, rediscover my priorities, and honestly a lot of that is learned through trial and error. And slowly I began to build some margin into my life. I started to see and do things that made me feel like me again, and said no to the things that didn’t. I focused on the things (and more importantly, the people) that brought meaning to my life and left me feeling encouraged and uplifted. And that wasn’t limited to my circle of friends in NYC. I realized the importance of continuing to invest in the friendships I left behind, because the person I am today is due in large part to the impact they have had on me before. I’m learning to invest in the people who care about me. Seems obvious, but so often I find myself seeking the approval or attention of people who are much less interested in getting to know me. There are incredible people who want to spend time with me, who genuinely care about me. And damn, those are the people I want to be doing life with!

Moving forward into this next year and continuing to settle into my life here in the city, I definitely see room for growth. I want to infuse life into the people and circumstances around me. I want to stand for that which is pure and not cave into that which is not. I want to choose the good, enjoy the beautiful, and pursue the noble. And while I might not have all of the answers (I’m not even sure the few I do have are right), I am leaning into those feelings of uncertainty, knowing that at least for the moment, I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.

xx, S

Stephanie Zillmer