What’s Next After Making It In NYC?

What’s Next After Making It In NYC?

For the past twelve years I’ve been working towards one massive life goal— move to New York City, finish school, get a good job, and get my own apartment in Manhattan. Last September I finally achieved the last thing on that checklist. And ever since, I’ve been asking myself, “now what?”

Over those twelve years, planning and working towards something was all that I’ve known. Now that I don’t have that, I’ll admit I feel a bit lost. Kind of like I’m just moving through life everyday on autopilot, sinking into this monotonous routine that most people would call stability. I call it boredom.

I’m ready for a big change. But I also know how long it can take to get on your feet after making such a life-changing switch. Now that I’m finally stable, in New York of all places, do I really want to abandon all that I’ve worked so long and so hard for and start over, just because of my restless curiosity? It’s a question I ask myself every single day.

When I first thought about leaving New York, I couldn’t help but feel like a failure. I didn’t want to feel like I was leaving because I couldn’t make it here. It took a couple of years and finally getting my own place before I realized that it wasn’t that at all. The problem was that I had made it here, and I was ready to challenge myself to move on to what’s next. Sadly, what’s next in New York usually means moving up the corporate ladder to higher-paying, more stressful jobs, with more of a lavish social life and a bigger apartment in a better part of town. But that path doesn’t interest me, because mo money, mo problems, amiright?

This realization left me wondering—what do I want now? Unlike most chicks who might have thought that by 29 they’d be married with kids, I always thought that I’d be a pretty well-established writer by now. Well, I’m not. So this leaves me questioning yet another aspect of my current situation. Things like, while I enjoy it, why am I spending so much time and brainpower in advertising, writing for brands that already have millions of dollars and don’t really help to make the world a better place? Wouldn’t that time be better spent writing for myself? Or at least writing for organizations that actually help people and improve their lives? Something I can be proud of? Does that mean I should change careers, or just clients?

I guess I’m just not the person I was when I first moved here eight years ago. Hell, I think I’ve changed more in the past year of my life than I have in the previous 27 years combined. I no longer want to become an award-winning creative director working 60 hours a week coming up with campaigns. I want to be outdoors more. I want to help others, not just myself. I no longer want all of my social activities to revolve around drinking. I no longer want to waste the cost of a round-trip flight to Asia on one month’s rent.

So for the past eight months I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what it is I want out of my life now that I’ve proven to myself that I can make it here. This has left me with all sorts of questions and uncertainties. But I don’t want to plan for the next twelve years, or even the next two years. I just want to take one leap and see where that leads me, one day at a time. I’ve been exploring a few different possibilities, hoping that something would come up and lead me in a certain direction. But it hasn’t, so I’m left to pull the trigger.

All I know is I’m in a world of trouble when I receive my lease renewal papers in the mail (any day  now).

Has anybody else felt this way, like you’re not living up to your full potential? What did you do? It’s not that I’m afraid to make a change, it’s just that I really can’t decide on what I need to change and what I want to tackle next. Maybe it is something as simple as getting involved with different organizations here in New York, or maybe it’s more drastic like a complete change of scenery, or taking an extended break from city life to live out of a backpack and see where I end up.

Stay tuned as I figure this shit out.


  1. Caitlin Surakitbanharn June 1, 2014

    i definitely felt this. i had a good job in new york, a good social circle, my own apartment in soho, i was doing well and living the life i always thought i wanted… fancy new york in louboutin heels and yoga classes at equinox and shopping at whole foods and all of the great food/drinks/brunches a girl could ask for. but under it all i felt unsatisfied and bored and unchallenged. i had the same thought though…if i leave, will i be defeated? will i have left because New York beat me? but no. when i did decide to leave (for grad school), i kind of felt like….i actually beat New York. i didn’t stay in the rat race for the sake of it, i got out because my calling was elsewhere. it was the best decision i ever made! i feel challenged and fulfilled in my PhD studies, and i really love it. New York taught me a lot but….the world is enormously amazing and New York is just a speck on the windshield :-)

  2. Just Visiting June 2, 2014

    Thanks for the input Caitlin. I guess being an ambitious, goal-oriented “doer” isn’t always easy. I only wish my next step was as clear as pursuing a PhD. I can say though that one of my plans excites me waaay more than the other ideas, but it’s just a matter of figuring out how I can make it work. And if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s problem solving. So I have faith that it’ll all work out eventually! I still have a ton of the world to see and stories to tell, and well, I’m not getting any younger.

  3. Ivan October 29, 2014

    Hi kim, i’ve found you in couchsurfing. I’ve sent you a message. I need a couch help! ;)

    • Just Visiting October 31, 2014

      Hi Ivan, unfortunately I’ve left New York and am currently crashing on the floor at my parents’ house until I leave for an extended backpacking trip in December. I don’t know of anyone offering up a couch or even a room in New York either :( Sorry! But I’m sure you’ll be able to find something!

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