I’ve imagined this moment for over 360 days. The day I get to reflect back on a year of being the “newbie” in every social situation, at every work function, in every aspect of my life. It’s amazing what can change in a year. The day I get to answer the questions this blog begged to ask: Could I find a life more liberated? Was it possible to sever the city? Did I make the right choice in leaving behind the people and places I knew?
Hell yes I could. Hell yes it was. Hell yes I did.
Sure, I miss the shit out of my friends and family. I feel lonely some days and wish I could grab a drink with anyone, literally anyone that has known me for more than a few months. For the first 6 months I felt like every day was an introduction. “I’m Jenny, I’m a Jersey girl, moved here from NYC in March, I’m a copywriter, I love dogs.” It was a similar version of this spiel every. single. day. Until it wasn’t.
After a while I was watching The Walking Dead on Sunday nights with my friend Joseph, attending yoga with girlfriends and finding the best pizza joints with Jordan. I was invited to happy hours and introduced as “my friend” rather than “my co-worker.” Even getting a friend request on Facebook made me feel like I was finally forming an Austin family. And I met Geoff.
God bless, Tinder. Early on, I decided Tinder would be a good option to date as well as form some semblance of a social life since I didn’t know anyone. I made my friendship intentions clear and met up with guys to play tennis, drink craft beer, eat at trendy food trucks and explore Austin without feeling like an outsider—I mean, everyone feels like an outsider when dating, right? Until I met Geoff.
31-year-old Geoff is pure Texan. Military vet, gun collector, hunter, deer heads on the wall kinda guy. He asked me if I knew my Texas history on our first date. He also wore running sneakers with light-wash jeans. I wasn’t in the NYC dating scene anymore. I know what you’re thinking (I thought it, too), but what got me were his grey-blue eyes and pool-deep dimples. Every time he smiled I forgot about his terrible fashion sense.
After three weeks of dating he took me to his mom’s ranch to meet his family and some wild animals that apparently only exist on random Texas ranches – Oryx. Look them up. Zebra looking things that eat corn meal and hump like bunnies. Anyways, Geoff didn’t just teach me about ranching. I’ll skip the cheesy stuff, but he taught me a lot about communication and listening and… well, cheesy stuff. After some ups and downs, we seemed to find our rhythm and I’m happier in the relationship I’m in than I’ve ever been before. We’ve been together for 8 months (I don’t count November, November was bad).
My career has taken a major step. I wasn’t looking for a new gig. I was happily copywriting at Bulldog, loved my co-workers, was finally starting to feel stable, and I didn’t even need Google Maps to get to work anymore. That’s when I met Raechel and she had an opportunity available to manage a copy team at another company. I wasn’t sure about the job, but I interviewed and was offered a position in late September.
Not only did I end up with a great job as an Associate Copy Director, but I also made a new friend that loved to drink wine, go out to dinner and bullshit about boys and dating just as much as I did. Dreams do come true!
I loved my new role and just as I started settling in and feeling less “introduction-y” I was given the chance to manage another department’s copy team. Currently, I manage 9 incredibly talented copywriters and a supportive, motivational creative director manages me. I work alongside people who care about their work and it inspires me to work harder, learn more and WANT to go to work in the morning.
I cook more healthy meals. I enjoy year-round outdoor activities like a recent hike on Valentine’s Day, trail runs and I joined a women’s competitive tennis league. Just general warmer temps keep me active and happy. I’ve lost 9 pounds and 3.8% body fat (that I know of) since 2014. My friends ask me to go kayaking instead of all you can drink brunch. My friends also ask me to go to all you can drink brunch, but having options is nice. I earn more money and pay fewer taxes. I am appreciated at work instead of beaten down and insulted. My boyfriend supports me, his ambitions are infectious and he makes me want to be a better, stronger person.
I used to wonder if I would ever go back and now I curse myself for not leaving sooner. I outstayed my welcome and drove myself crazy trying to make something work that didn’t. Someone once said to me, some people can’t hack NYC and I took it insanely personally. It felt like a low blow and I wondered if that was the case. Had NYC chewed me up and spit me out?
Maybe. But screw NYC, and fuck anyone who’s so quick to judge. By that thinking, anytime anyone moved it was because they were forced out. I needed room to grow and that is what I got. I’ve learned more about myself in the last year than years combined “hacking it” in a city full of opportunities that either didn’t present themselves or I didn’t take. Either way, did I make the right choice in leaving behind the people and places I knew? I didn’t leave them behind.
The people that mattered a year ago, still matter. I work to keep friendships strong long distance.
I can’t take a bus to Maryland to see my sister anymore, but when I do see her, it’s all the more exciting and she’s a FaceTime, gchat and text away. Same with the rest of the world, go technology! St. Elmo’s Fire may never have a group trip again, but I took those memories with me.
And I am happy that my friends are settling into coupledom, getting married to people that love them, and it’s only a plane ride away to celebrate that.
And a plus for them is a vacation home in Austin whenever anyone wants to escape the northeast.
I have taken my experience from NYC into every aspect of my Austin life. I didn’t leave anythingbehind except the negativity that used to plague me. That’s what I’ve learned over all else. It takes work, risk and trusting your gut to be happy, you can move mountains when you’re happy. I am so happy sometimes it doesn’t seem real. If this bubble bursts, I’m just glad that I have on record that once upon a time, I not only believed in the idea that “not all those who wander are lost”, but actually got to live it.