I lived in New York City for almost 10 years. My life there was exciting, fun, chaotic, and at times irresponsible. The instability of my life there made for so many chance encounters, forming relationships with people that shaped and molded my 20's.
The majority of those 10 years I worked for a handbag designer who taught me so much about being creative and allowing passion to serve as a tool for the choices I made in life. She made me fall in love with New York City all over again, every time she mentioned a new art exhibit or the fabulous indie movie she came across at Cinema Village. She would always recommend the best books or introduce me to new music. She supported everything I was pursuing and gave me the confidence to go for it. Working for her was one of the best experiences of my life.
I also spent a lot of my time working in restaurants, something that many do in New York City to stay afloat. Anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant knows how close the staff become, especially with long hours and many shifts. You work together, go out together, ride home together, and spend holidays together. Those are the relationships that have molded me and helped me grow. The friendships I made during that time felt like ones that would last forever. I took for granted the mornings filled with endless cups of coffee and long talks about love, money, and the future. My friendships in New York made me feel comforted and fulfilled. I felt like New York City had wrapped its arms around me saying, "It's ok Lauren, we got you."
Then, out of nowhere I decided to move out of the city. I left for so many reasons, but one of those reasons was to make a better life for myself. I doubted my move for a long time and clung onto everyone I knew there, hoping my relationships wouldn't fizzle out. For a long time after I moved, I wasn't able to admit that I didn't live there anymore. I kept saying, I'll be back soon. After about three years of being away, almost all of those friendships I had, the ones that I thought were for life, slowly drifted away. As with many friends, we all went our separate ways, some staying in touch and others not at all.
For most of 2016, I've been sick with undiagnosed dizziness and recently felt worse than ever. Spending almost 2 months in my apartment alone, not going out and texting rather than talking to people on the phone, I've realized the importance of friendship. Having friends around and hearing their voices on the phone does so much for my confidence and spirit. I've gone long streaks with little communication with friends and notice a difference in my overall well being. A good friend gives you confidence, emotional support, and a reason to laugh.
I've noticed that not feeling well forces you to rely on so many people for help, even if you try to avoid it. It was hard for me to let go of the life I had in New York City and all of the fun times with friends there. It seemed at the time we were all in the same boat, riding the wave together. As I've gotten older, I still look for those types of relationships. The ones where you feel like you're in it as a team. Although the outside may look different, I've learned we are all dealing with the same things in different ways.
In the past few days, I've craved good conversations with friends as I maneuver my way through the new life I have made for myself, especially on days when I don't feel well. New experiences can lead to lifelong friendships that fit together perfectly. The way it's supposed to be. I'll always have the memories of working for an amazing designer who taught me so much about life and the times with friends that can still make me laugh. That will never change.
There are a few people that I have reached out to for support and for the first time feel that same sense of warmth I did during my time in the city. Those arms are wrapped around me again, this time holding on longer than before.