8 years ago today my 2 red suitcases & I showed up in New York City to call it home for the first time.
18 Things I Didn't Know When I First Met New York:
1. I'd still be here. I thought I'd stay 3 years.
3. Through Liz, to Mer, to Laura, to Ron, I would meet Kristen. I would win her in a break-up & she would become one of my soulmates in life & the best friend I have ever been blessed to be given.
4. How cozy small spaces would feel. I have lived in rooms the width of my bed, sans closet, temporary wall. And I loved them. I loved tucking in, how close I was to the subway, my magnificent view of Manhattan, the great common space for hosting. Also, how hard it would be to find a home. And how finding one could feel like the greatest treasure possible.
5. That I desire so few "things". Existing in tiny spaces, moving, traveling for months at a time for work ... I see most things & just wonder where I'd put them, store them.
6. Relationship transition -- the thing that happens when you no longer live in the same neighborhood, pursue the same career, are away together doing a show -- would remain a sad consequence of an ever evolving life, but one that always means there's space for new people, & lots more friends to invite to huge parties.
7. How little money I can actually survive on. I got asked for style advice shopping affordable stores, prefered hosting in to going out, & was just as happy eating pizza as filet mignon. It was not alway easy. There were tears. But it was possible.
8. I would move to Brooklyn because of Kristen, Sarah, Chanel & a bar called Alchemy. 6 impossible things would happen before breakfast to make it clear that Dean Street was meant to be my home.
9. I'll sometimes still get on the wrong subway if my head is someplace else. And while I upgraded from a map in my Dayrunner to the map on my iPhone, I still need it all the time to figure out where the nearest subway is in a neighborhood I don't often frequent.
10. By 2012 I wouldn't have a Masters Degree & a baby. And I wouldn't want either. Maybe ever. At least not anytime soon.
11. I would never have been to the Empire State Building, Staten Island, the Bronx Zoo or dozens of tourist places many people see in their first 48 hour visit.
12. I would dream about summers in a tiny no-stoplight town on Lake Champlain. Instead of crawling out of my skin at the quiet, it would reset the rhythm of my soul, & I'd come to crave the calm respite from the city a few times a year.
13. Every neighborhood I lived in would become a small town where I knew my dry cleaner, grocery clerk & doorman by name from Muhamed the pizza guy who was a vetrinarian in Egypt working here to save up money for his family to the guys at Bricktown Bagel who all called me "sunshine" & knew my order.
14. I'd become an entrepreneur. And feel utterly complete.
15. Evolve from wearing Abercrombie & Fitch with bedazzled flip flops, to become a personal stylist.
16. I'd be grateful that certain things I wanted oh so badly, heartbreakingly, never happened. And instead, things like Brooklyn & Dean Street Society, I'd never dared to dream of, were put into my path & exceeded my wildest dreams.
17. I'd put on a one-woman-show cabaret. I'd be scared to death. And it'd give me the confidence to start my own business 2 days later.
18. Somedays NYC would still take my breath away. A snow covered lamppost, sundrenched brownstone stoop, tiny cafe can make my heart feel so full it could burst. I am absolutely at home.
New York, I love you more today that I did when we first met. You've change my life, my soul, my vision. I'm a better person for having known you. I can't wait to see what else the future holds.
with grace & gumption, Hilary