keep your eyes open

I haven’t blogged consistently since my semester abroad in Ecuador, and several friends have suggested I blog about my newest adventure, so here I am! I went back over my South American blog to get back in the writing mindset and to reminisce on all the great times we had there. While I love looking back on those memories, one thing I have realized about myself lately is that I tend to dwell in the past. Sometimes, I am scared of what’s ahead because I’m convinced it can’t be nearly as good as what I’m leaving behind. But as C.S. Lewis said, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

My life has been quite a literal whirlwind in the past month. Almost one month ago to the day, I had no clue what the next week, month, year had in store for me. I was too sad about graduating to want to hang around Chapel Hill any longer and was bored with the same old, same old in Raleigh. Needless to say, I was ready for a change. The next day, I was offered a freelance position as a digital developer at a production agency called Tag Worldwide in their New York office in SoHo. Yesterday, one month later, I finished my second week of work at Tag, went for dinner and drinks in midtown Manhattan with a friend, and came home to my cozy apartment in Brooklyn. Talk about a change.

The past three months have been… interesting. It seems that everyone neglects to tell you that graduating from college is yes, a milestone achievement and something to be proud of, but it also kind of sucks. All of a sudden, the routine you’ve had for 17 years of school/summer/school/summer is gone. Unless you’re one of the lucky ones who lands a job right after graduation, life before you is one, long plateau. “So what are you doing now?” Most. Commonly. Asked Question. “Oh, you know, just looking for jobs” gets pretty old. Job application after job application after job application. I literally applied to at least 80 or so jobs. Throw in the depression of graduating, and you’ve got one emotional summer.

It wasn’t all bad. I had a wonderful week-and-a-half road trip up the coast of California with two of my best friends. I took a trip out to Arizona and had some long-overdue quality time with my mom’s side of the family. But what made it somewhat miserable for me was my problem of dwelling in the past. Yes, I was ready for a change, but I was also terrified to let go of the past four years, particularly my freakin’ awesome senior year. I knew in my head that God had great things ahead of me, but my heart had a hard time believing it. I was restless, but couldn’t let go.

“If you never leave home, never let go, you’ll never make it to the great unknown till you keep your eyes open.” These words kept me inspired the last couple months of school and throughout the summer [they’re from the song “Keep Your Eyes Open” by my all-time favorite band, Needtobreathe – check them out!]. So, when I was offered a job in New York City, I realized, this is it. This is the “great unknown.” Within a couple days, I had accepted the job and paid my first month’s rent for a room in a 3-bedroom in Bushwick. Within a couple weeks, I had moved out of my Chapel Hill apartment, said my goodbyes, and driven myself and all my belongings up to the concrete jungle of NYC.

And so far, I’m loving it. Don’t get me wrong, living in New York is not easy. Starting over with a limited amount of friends in your area is not easy. Adjusting to life in a big city when you’ve spent your last four years in a small college town is not easy. But it’s challenging. It’s fun. It’s an adventure. I say that even as a reminder to myself. Tonight, on the L train back to Brooklyn, I realized that throughout my various Latin American adventures and experiences even here in the U.S., I’ve lost a little bit of my “surprise” at life. Let me explain: Culture shock is something I haven’t experienced in a while, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. I adapt fairly quickly to new conditions, to a point where I become almost too comfortable, and the new conditions lose their “new-ness.” On that train back tonight, “Keep Your Eyes Open” came on my iPod. I realized that not only do I need to keep my eyes open in order to let go of the past, but I also need to keep them open to see the world around me, to witness the adventure that I am living right now. The fact that I was even riding the L train tonight when a month ago I was completely aimless is unbelievable! I have many goals for this next phase of my life, but keeping my eyes open is top among them. Keeping my eyes open to this world of New York City that God has placed me in and to the adventures of the present.

I understand that this post was somewhat of a smorgasbord of my life over the past few months, but I do intend to be consistent with this blog, promise! And perhaps it will be a smorgasbord of my life in New York – the experiences I have, my reactions to them, things I learn about the city, things I learn about myself, things I learn about design and programming, photos I love, videos I find on YouTube. I’m sure there will be a redesign at some point, and you can certainly count on plenty more Needtobreathe references!

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