Thursday, December 31, 2009

So long, 2009 (No seriously, it was soooo looong.)

Ah, 2009. You heartbreaker you.

As I sit in my Charlotte apartment with sun blazing through my windows, I think of the New York apartment in which I began this year: a dark, first floor walk up with a gorgeous view of a brick wall. Based on the amount of light coming through the windows, I couldn’t ever tell whether it was day or night without checking a clock. Nonetheless, I joyfully trudged through snow and sleet to get to my magazine internship, where my work involved grueling days of discussing Real Housewives of Orange County with the creative director on beauty shoots, picking up cupcakes to go meet Zac Efron, or scooping books, makeup, and clothes galore off of the freebie table. (I think I may have made some copies at one time or another as well.)

I imagined a life in which I teetered on stilettos as the beauty editor at a women’s magazine, yelled at underlings, and became the close confidante of the editor in chief. Maybe I could have even done some Today Show appearances showcasing new beauty trends. (What can I say? The camera loves my face. Plus, I have a knack for discussing current events. Like the latest episode of Real Housewives.)

While I didn’t get offered a position at said magazine, I did get offered an art assistant position at some teenybopper (imagine Tiger Beat) magazine. They wanted to pay me $10/hr and were located about thirty minutes outside of the city in New Jersey. During the interview, they flat out told me that “this isn’t a job for someone who is trying to support themselves.”

NEWSFLASH: if I didn’t have to support myself, I wouldn't get a job. I would be perfectly fine living a life of leisure like they do on Real Housewives. Did I mention this job was in New Jersey? Decision made.

Somehow, during all of this, I had begun to think that New York wasn’t for me. (Shocker.) The horrible weather, shoebox apartments, and job offers from New Jersey had started to wear me down. I was tired of ambulance sirens, heat emanating off of the concrete, and people. People are everywhere in New York. They are pushed up next to you in the subway, brushing past you in stores, and cutting in front of you on the sidewalk. They talk loudly on their cell phones, sing along to their ipods, or sometimes just carry on conversations with themselves.

I realized I wanted more out of life than a fancy job title and a closet full of designer clothes. (Not that I had either of those, but obviously that’s where I was headed.) New Yorkers live to work, but I wanted to work to live. I wanted a job and a life that had a sense of purpose, whatever that entailed.

So I made the leap of faith to head back below the Mason-Dixon line to Charlotte, a city I had spent the past four summers living and working in. I sublet my apartment, bought a car, and headed south. Three weeks later, I had a job as a kindergarten Montessori teacher. Three weeks. A few days later, my lovely friend Elise and I found a gorgeous two bedroom apartment (pool views! washer and dryer included!) for which a I pay about a third of what I did in NYC.

These days, instead of getting calls from creative directors, I get kids coming up to me on the playground yelling “Miss Ensley, I just farted and a little bit of poop came out in my pants!” Hmmm.

I also get storytime, naptime, and little hands that magically find their way into mine while walking down the hallway.

Ah, 2009. You taught me to be more open minded and to never say never. Within twelve months, you had given me everything I thought I had always wanted-internships, a big city, a new boyfriend-but I realized that just because it seems perfect doesn’t mean it’s a good fit. It took me finding out what I don’t want to be (a waitress, an angry New Yorker) in order to find out what it was I really wanted, which is everything I have now.

Happy 2010. Carpe diem.

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