Life in the Big City

It has been quite a few months since my last post and to say the least, a lot has changed. In late October, I left my position in Orange County, and made the long trek from California to New York City. This was scary. Anyone who knows me, knows I like a plan. Give me a good goal to work towards, with few variables, and I am your girl. That is part of the reason I love school so much, it gives me a goal to work towards with semi-controlled variables to work with.

Yet here I was, finding myself choosing to uproot my life for a relationship, move away from friends and family, and head east with no job prospects on the horizon. That is a LOT of variables. It felt messy, scary, overwhelming, but at the same time exciting. I could feel my soul being shaken awake by the lack of predictability I now found myself in.

I chose to drive, rather than fly, from CA to NY for a multitude of reasons, but a big one was because there is nothing like a good long road-trip to contemplate and sit with your thoughts. I was able to begin processing the loss of the familiar as I crossed through big sky country, ask myself what I really wanted out of life as we entered Chicago, and get excited about the unknown future as we crossed the final bridge from New Jersey into New York City. By placing myself in a world I was completely unfamiliar with, I was having to consciously choose to trust in the guidance of the divine again, rather than taking for granted my many blessings. I was realizing how rusty I had become at this practice, and remembering how truly uncomfortable being somewhere new can be.

It had been a few years since I last found myself transplanted into a wild and unfamiliar landscape, and over those years I had (as we all do) learned to look at my time there through “rose colored lenses.” That is not to say my time in North Carolina wasn’t wonderfully life changing, but that is just it… it changed my life. Here I was again changing my life, and forgetting about the necessary “growing pains.” We forget that when we leave a place we’ve grown to love, we think of the challenges only in light in how we got through them, how we made meaning of those moments. We know how they end, and that we are who we are now because of them.  We’ve done the hard work of integrating these new experiences into our identities, and loving our new selves because of them. 

It was a humbling reminder that “being present” isn’t just a mindfulness slogan, it is a courageous way of being in the world. Life is scary when we don’t know the outcome, when we look around and can’t see the bigger picture of how these moments fit into the arch of our life stories. But by choosing to trust the divine in and around us, through choosing to see goodness in the people we meet, and choosing to hope and work for a life that brings you meaning, joy, and purpose… that is the bravest, messiest, most real thing we can do with our lives and our faith. This is showing up, being present in our own lives.

Realizing that fact has not stopped my life from being extremely difficult these past few months. There has been exhaustion, fear, insecurity, sickness, depression, and disappointments. But through choosing to trust and show up I have also experienced joy, kindness, comfort, grace, support, awe at the world, and love. Despite all the hardships that my partner and I have faced since October… Despite not having the time and distance to look back on my move here with rose colored lenses, I trust that I am learning something from being here. I don’t have any magical answers for solving the crappy moments, but I have a freshly polished respect and admiration for the courage it takes to embrace the wild and unfamiliar. There is something exciting in remembering that, amidst the mess, we have the capacity to refuse to let the crappy moments overshadow the beauty that happens in between.

So here I am, trying to be present to NYC, to what God has to show me in this new space, and in this new season. May it be full of learning, loving, forgiving, and embracing. And may whoever finds themselves in a similar season know that they are not alone, and trust that beauty and meaning making are surely happening all around them even when they can’t see it.. yet.

Published by nicolejeanne

California girl who went to seminary in the South, found herself back in California wondering how she could better the world through any means possible and where to get some good BBQ.... so naturally she ended up in NYC.

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