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  • Writer's pictureJordan Valdez

Here we go.

Living in New York City is something else, let me tell ya. Ever since I can remember I knew I wanted to live here one day. I’d move to the big apple, the concrete jungle; find a studio apartment in the East Village, or perhaps an industrial loft in Brooklyn. After years of people asking, “Oh so you want to live in a two by two shoe box apartment with your bathtub in the kitchen that costs 7 million dollars a month in rent?” I realized I really didn’t care. I just wanted to be here. So you could say landing a Brownstone walk up in a stroller neighborhood in Brooklyn is a dream come true. I need years and years of therapy to recover from the mental trauma that ensued during my apartment search, but it’s fine; we’re fine. It’s cute as hell, we’ve got plants and it’s quickly become the coziest home. Somehow, it’s been one whole year. I feel like I’ve taken the biggest leap of my life and started to recover, step by step, walking, trying to start running again towards my dreams.

In case you all needed another reminder, we’re living in a global pandemic. Shout out to all of us—yes I’m guilty too—who cheersed and chanted for round two of the Roaring ‘20s. We did it. So I got about seven solid months of New York life, most of it winter, before the world shut down. In those months, I worked my way from a big pile of savings to desperately jumping subway turnstiles back to ordering two drinks AND an appetizer with my dinner when eating out—living large, I know. You’ve heard it a hundred times but this city is a grind and you need a strong backbone and at least four shots of espresso a day to make it here. I’m definitely nowhere near “making it” but I hold my own. I feel like I’m slowly starting to figure it out little by little but then every day I’m hit with some new twist on living and I’m back to the beginning of the song.

Since I’ve been here I feel like my brain is on overload with thoughts, goals, ideas and struggles. What do I first? What should I go see or where should I go eat? What’s my favorite thing about New York? Why does it suck so much to get anywhere? How do I become successful here? How do I make new friends and build a network of people I can trust? How do I make more money? Will I be strong enough to play the long game here? Am I cool enough? Am I different enough? Am I talented enough? Will I be able to break through the fashion industry and be a successful photographer? How long will it take? How many jobs will I have to apply for before I get my “big break”? Will I have time for myself? Am I making healthy choices? Am I growing and learning still? Am I being adventurous enough while I still can be? Do I have time to date? Will I find love? Is my person in this city too? Spoiler alert—I can’t answer any of these confidently yet.

There’s just a lot. And I know that everyone feels this constant stream of mental garbage in one way or another. But I’m willing to put all my money on black that New York City amplifies this tremendously. And it’s exhausting. But it’s also thrilling and exciting and incredible. Every day that I walk out my front door I feel blessed and empowered to have a front door here to walk out of. It truly is a city radiating energy, creativity and passion. Even amidst a partially closed and fully-masked society, it’s a magical place. In order to partake in this balancing act and maintain some of my sanity while existing as a New Yorker, I’m going to attempt to decode the thoughts in my overactive brain to somewhat legible editorials, mostly for myself, but also for whoever is interested in following along with my journey of life, love and the pursuit of artistic fulfillment in the city that never sleeps; but I wish it would sometimes.

I can’t promise that it will be groundbreaking or life-changing, but I can guarantee full exposure of my delicate emotional state, highly relatable content and a constant presence of iced coffee. Like I mentioned at the start, I’m struggling and you might be too. So let’s all live in struggle city together and do our best to make an adventure out of it.

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