On February 27 I flew to Chicago for a 2 day work trip. On my return flight, I gazed out the plane window at the most magical city in the world and said— “wow, this is home.” My skin tingled as goosebumps rose on my arms. It was a euphoric feeling arriving back to the place that makes you feel whole. This past year has been an unforgettable journey of love, learning, growth and a newfound appreciation for running.
“Moving to New York City was one of the most rewarding decisions I have every made,” I wrote last year in my 1 year reflection. I finished up my 2nd year having moved from Miami to the big apple — how has things changed or evolved? Last year I wrote about my 3 primary reasons for moving to New York City in 2018 —1) Growth, 2) Relationship and 3) Book. Below is my honest assessment and reflection over the past year.
My affinity for leaving Miami to live in New York City was not the weather, not the food, but the opportunity for personal and professional growth. When I arrived, I joined BEESY, a behavioral science agency, conducting research on how customers make choices and how we can impact them.
While I enjoyed what I do, I constantly thought how I can do better. The benefit of living in New York City is it changed the barometer for success. The standards and metrics for “making it” became stretched by the expectations in New York City. For example, Ken Griffin, a hedge fund manager, who has an appetite for owning the most expensive properties where ever he walks, shows the sheer difference of New York City compared to Miami…
- New York City (220 Central Park) — $238 Million
- Miami Beach (Faena House) — $60 Million
The thoughts of success rose into focus as my mind questioned itself. Is this salary good? What is my value? How do I stack up against my peers? How could I do better? What could I do differently to grow faster? Thoughts like these rolled through my mind every day as I rode the subway.
As I finished my second year with the company, it was easy to slice through my past and recall incidents where I have grown — a 35% salary increase, built an all-star roster of clients, help turned an unknown company into a recognized competitor, and became a leading authority on the premiumization. But was that good?
Compared to What?
Looking at my past told me how far I have come. However, living in New York City, the economic engine of the world, afforded tapping into the power of social comparisons to level set where one sat on the growth hierarchy. How did I stack up against others? Not that high! If I was easily satisfied with my position then New York City wouldn’t be the place for me. Knowing I barely scratched the surface of growth keeps me on my toes, waking up at 5am and striving for more.
In November 2019 Lindsay and I nestled into 700 sf space twenty four floors high right next door to the New York Stock Exchange providing absolute ease and accessibility to each other’s best and worst habits. My 5am alarm every morning, her collection of clothes and skincare, my OCD for simplicity, her eclectic tastes for TV shows, and my obsession for silence–a true test of compromise.
While it was alluring to live and share experiences with the one I loved, for me, it was also important to live through the lows. It’s like rubbing twigs together to start a fire. There is definitely going to be friction but waiting turns the sparks to fire. Being exposed to each others strengths and weaknesses tested our grit for compromise, compassion and teamwork. Living together made me realize there was no better teammate and partner then Lindsay Simon.
No matter how much I prepared or planned some things just felt right. The logic of love often gets trumped by our intuition and feeling. There were no written rules, no timelines, no agendas or processes that provide the answers. Nor was I an expert on marriage but what I did know was this feeling I got…
Every morning I received furnace like warmth from my love by my side. My daily runs up the west side highway had my mind automatically and instantly visualize our future together bringing a smile to my face. After work, the sound of her voice the moment I opened the door brought excitement like a kid on Christmas. I walked into the kitchen looked into her beautiful eyes, and the world stops, as we hug each other like it was still our first date. It’s precious, and priceless. However, some say you don’t realize how special someone is until you don’t have them. Taking several work trips made me realize that. The frozen hotel bed, and not having her feet crossed over mine made me want to get home.
My grandparents set a high bar for marriage being happily married for over 75 years. Every scenario of being together with Lindsay made me feel excited and overwhelmed with joy. She makes me laugh every day. She drops dance moves in the middle of the grocery store or busy street. She flexes between silly to highly serious in a split second. She turned dullness into excitement. Her energy is contagious. She is caring to a fault. So caring she has yet to yell at the dogs. Whereas all I did was yell at the dogs. She was perfectly beautiful. What impressed me most about her was her grit. Her strength and resilience attracted me. Her past, like mine, has had obstacles and she crushed every one. Together we clicked.
Although it’s easy to ponder about all the positive things, as naturally our minds should. However, even the worst arguments, and disagreements reassured me Lindsay was the right one. We have a way with each other that works like the force of magnets pulling each other together. Lindsay was the women I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
By far the biggest highlight of this year and my life was proposing to Lindsay Simon. I am beyond excited for our wedding and our amazing future together.
I came to New York City with a goal to publish a book with one of the top 5 publishing houses. I spent part of the year honing my writing skills working with three writing coaches:
- Jess Henriquez provided structure to my thinking about the business of writing. She showed me an accelerated path to getting published.
- Sarah Perry challenged me to dig deeper. “Dig and dig until you get at the deepest psychological truth you can.”
- Susan Shapiro’s ruthless feedback prepared to meet the ruthless demand in the writing world.
I have put together several pieces that were submitted and turned down…
- Memoir Book Proposal — Working on 2nd Draft
- NYT Modern Love Essay — DENIED
- NYT Rites of Passage — DENIED
- The Atlantic — Health — DENIED
- Modern Love Essay Attempt 2 — Writing
I also attended the Annual Writers Digest Conference and pitched my book proposal to 10 literary agents and 7 gave me business card with interest in my Memoir Proposal.
What’s next? I lost some momentum with my personal essay writing. My professional writing on marketing, business and behavioral science have taken priority. However, this will change in 2020. I will get traction with one of my essays getting published in a premium outlet. Also, I will get to a final draft for my Memoir Proposal — Hungry for Change.
Before coming to New York City I never had intentions of running. In early April 2019, I signed up for my first marathon — 26.2 miles stretched along the 5 boroughs of New York City. I joined the Henwood Hound’s Running Team led by coach and former Olympian John Henwood and set a goal to run under 3 hours (a time less than 0.02% of all runners achieve in a marathon).
I never was a ‘runner’ but always a big fan of personal experimentation and challenging my limits. This was the most intense training of my life but the 5 month journey was most rewarding…and unforgettable…
Finish Time: 2:54 (6:41 min/mile)!
Running brings out the best in me, it fuels my day, challenges me both physically and mentally and produces a mediative state which rivals yoga. Running pushes me individually but also challenges me to be a better team player. I look forward to becoming a better runner a this year.
2:45 in the New York City Marathon in November 2020.
New York City feels so good, the crowded subways, ear piercing sirens, and overpriced avocados are worth calling new york city home. Being newly engaged, having new meaning and shared purpose, focused on learning and growth in front of me there is no better time to be in the best city in the world — New York City.