So today, 2 years ago exactly, on Aug 28th – I arrived in NYC absolutely petrified but excited. I had spent two Summers during college interning here and I always knew I just had to come back for a longer, more permanent stay. Three months at a time was just never enough. The funny thing about New York is that you usually either love it or you hate it. There’s rarely an in between. And me? Well I fell head over heels in love. I got addicted to New York City and I just couldn’t shake it. I really don’t know what exactly it was and people ask me over and over again why I love it so much here, but there really are so many reasons rolled into one. The people, the opportunities, the feeling when you walk outside your door, the constant buzz and the possibility of making absolutely ANYTHING happen. I talked a lot about the different jobs and internships I’ve done in my Why I Quit My Job post and the idea of working your way up in a city where competition is fierce. New York is definitley not and never will be the ‘easy option’. But if you’re willing to work your butt off and really get stuck in, New York is the place for you.
I’ll honestly never forget how scared I was. I knew all along I was going to do the Graduate Visa. After college, I took a year out to save up and work on Retro Flame and then as soon as I was ready, I made the leap. I spent weeks getting everything ready and packing my life into suitcases (6 to be exact, haha…yes, I’m that person) but it was only the week before I left when it all hit me. People always ask me on snapchat (retroflame1) and email if it’s hard to pack up and leave everything behind? And the answer is yes, it is something which really tests you. But a quote I always look to in life is, anything worth having doesn’t comes easy. I’ll never forget the night before I left, Tommy called back to my house to say goodbye. We were actually broken up at the time (for almost 6 months at that stage) but were still good friends. Probably the main reason we had actually broken up was because we knew my move was on the horizon but even after the 6 months apart, it was still like saying goodbye to my best friend. He honestly couldn’t have been more supportive of my move. Saying goodbye to him really set me off and I honestly was wondering more than ever if I was doing the right thing. But it’s the stuff that terrifies you that is usually the most worthwhile. I genuinely must have asked myself a million & one times during my last week at home if I was definitely doing the right thing and I honestly just didn’t know what the right answer to my question but I knew I had to trust my gut.
The thing about life is that it just doesn’t wait for you. If you don’t take a chance while you have it (the option to do the grad visa, in my case) there’s a very big chance you’ll look back and always wonder what would have happened if you did. I just never wanted that regret. I would have rather come to New York, failed and admitted to everyone that maybe it wasn’t the right move instead of always wondering ‘what if’. It’s the what if’s that are the killer.
But thankfully, 2 years on…I’m still here and honestly, I wouldn’t change one single thing that has happened. I came to New York in search of my dream job in Fashion and a huge determination to grow and develop Retro Flame. I know it sounds weird, but I just knew with hard work I could do it. When you’re passionate about something, there isn’t one single thing that can get in your way. Of course, there has been SO many ups and downs and countless days where I’ve just wanted to pack up and head home. But overall, I just couldn’t be more grateful of the journey so far.
As I’m sitting here today writing this, I now work for myself here in the US. When I arrived two years ago, I genuinely didn’t even know this was possible. Visas are an absolute pain in the behind and your time here is just never guaranteed. I feel like I’m just constantly fighting a visa battle (anyone who has been through it too will understand) just to be able to work here, but thankfully after quite a struggle, I secured a visa to allow me to work on Retro Flame full-time. Crazy what a difference a few years can make!!
You’ll know from my recent post ‘One of Those Days‘ that lately, I have been struggling a little to balance everything. There’s no doubt about it, New York makes you feel overwhelmed 24/7. Sometimes a good overwhelmed but then sometimes a bad one. I’m pretty sure the pace of life here is not good for my health, haha, but you just kind of roll with it. It’s one of these places that you just have to take the good with the bad and the good always ends up winning out. This place will drive you crazy, but it’s just all part of the experience.
Looking back, there are a few things I’m especially thankful for and no.1 is the friends. I genuinely do not know what I would do without the girls. I think we somehow all just keep each other sane, haha! I dread the day one or some of them start leaving – I actually can’t even think about it. And the second thing I couldn’t be more grateful for is the opportunity and work that has come my way. Honestly, stuff I used to dream about doing. Just this week, VOGUE tweeted out a picture of me. It was just a mere tweet tagging me, but it’s the small stuff like that really make me stop and appreciate how far things have come. Saying that though, I still have SO SO much to do and so much more to achieve but I just don’t think there’s any better place in the world for me to try to do it.
Being very honest, I don’t know exactly how long more I’ll be here. It’s the question everyone asks, but I just don’t have a definite answer. My current visa is valid until 2019, so I’ll 99% be here until then at least. And then I guess I’ll see if I still love the place as much as ever. Right now, there’s nowhere, for me, that compares. I definitely will return back to Ireland in the long-term (I really do love Ireland) but in the meantime, I have a feeling New York will be stuck with me. As long as I stay greedy for life and try my best to get as much out of every single day, New York is where I need to be.
Here’s to the next chapter – which hopefully we can experience together too! Thank you all so much for being part of the journey.