A Year In Review: An Open Letter To New York City
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A Year In Review: An Open Letter To New York City

New York will challenge you, but that's exactly what it's supposed to do.

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A Year In Review: An Open Letter To New York City
via Camryn Conroy

New York, New York. Where to begin? Even after a year of living here, sometimes I'm still at a loss for words when walking down 5th Ave. and seeing the Empire State Building, or closing my curtains every night to see the Freedom Tower punctuating the Manhattan skyline in all of it's powerful, resilient, might. This past year, my biggest dream became my reality and I am SO thankful, blessed and HUMBLED to serve a God who allowed that to happen. And while this all sounds very glamorous thus far, this past year has not been a cake walk. But thank goodness for that because as much joy as the good moments provided, the tough ones produced a whole lot of growth, and that's why I came up here, right? To grow, to be challenged.

Someone was asking me about the city the other day and how the I faired with the adjustment, coming from the Midwest. I said that New York will challenge you, but that's exactly what it's supposed to do. In the spirit of total honesty, everything I thought I knew to be true about myself was either bolstered or stripped away when I moved here. Having lived in the same place my entire life, at the same school with the same friends and the same surroundings, there were times over the past year where I was brought to question if who I was, was in fact, intrinsically me, or if I was just the temporary product of my temporary surroundings. The answer is both. Moving to a drastically different place, knowing nobody, and hardly having a clue how to get around (if you know me, that's not much of a shocker. I am incredibly directionally challenged), and being tossed into a sea of people with entirely different values, showed me exactly who I am and exactly who I am not. As thrilling as moving to New York was, my first few months up here felt like the floor was falling out from underneath me. But through this feeling, I was able to realize that the core of who I am- my beliefs, my faith, the way I love people, my simultaneously tender yet tenacious nature- was not the temporary product of temporary circumstances. Now, did my childhood and surroundings of the first eighteen years of my life contribute to these things? Of course. They are probably responsible for forming who I am as a person, but it is not because of my surroundings that I remain who I am. Everything about my childhood in Oklahoma and the people there who love me so incredibly well, poured these truths about me into my life and because of my home, because of my people there, I learned how to stand on my own two feet, even without the surroundings I had always known.

On the other hand, New York City humbled me more than I could imagine, and if we're being honest, more than I liked. But definitely as much as was necessary. The first thing New York did for me, as embarrassing as it is to admit this, was knock me off the pedestal on which I had unknowingly placed myself. It taught me that there will always be someone better than you, smarter than you, more equipped, more put together, etc, etc. But after knocking me down, this city taught me how to build myself back up honestly, realistically, and most importantly, ridiculously confidently, not in spite of my shortcomings, but because of them. It taught me to be unapologetically myself, flaws and all (and there are many), and still learn how to press on while celebrating in the victories and gleaning knowledge from the losses. It taught me how to triumph over my valleys instead of letting my valleys triumph over me.

I cannot put into words how thankful I am to New York City for all it is, all it continues to be, and all it has taught and will teach me about myself. There are days where living in this city feels like climbing uphill but the days where you feel like you've reached the top, if only for a moment, are so, so worth it. And then, inevitably, something comes along that takes you back down to the base of the mountain only to start climbing again. But knowing the view and the feeling that comes with being at the top is enough motivation to begin the truly fleeting uphill climb once more.

I could not think of a place other than Manhattan that I would rather call my home away from home, my everyday life, my adventure, my city. New York, thank you for the friends you've brought me, the adventures on which you've taken me, the excitement, the mundane, the perfect days, the anything but perfect days and everything in between.

I love you a whole lot and I'll see you in the fall,

Camryn

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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