Catching up with a dear friend hundreds of miles away while I painted my nails and did my hair up hipster-style, I smiled thinking of her pretty face and of the sweet memories we shared in college. As we’re spending half our time carelessly bitching and the other half vocalizing our big dreams for the year ahead, she pauses and says, “Everything always works out for you Linds. It always has. Somehow you just make it all work. How do you do it?”
She’s not the first one to say these words to me — it’s actually something I get asked quite often. Some people spend their whole lives searching for what they want to do and where they want to do it, and I happen to be part of the rare group who has always just kind of known. There are dozens of things I’m completely unsure about (and therefore analyzed to death on this blog), but there are two truths that have never teetered for me: I’m a writer who loves New York.
When I’m speaking to youngsters who just graduated and are trying to land their first job, I always talk about the importance of networking, hard-work and being absolutely dedicated to each and every little detail, even the ones that seem insignificant (like writing hand-written thank you’s and such). When I’m speaking to my friends and family who are dearer to me than any career or location could ever be, I credit my success to luck. I often comment on how I just landed at the right time on the right foot and the universe laid it all out for me. I took the opportunities I was given and I kept plugging along even when I felt like nothing else could go wrong. And because I followed my heart, my heart followed me right to where I belonged.
But if I’m honest with myself and with the thoughts I have when no one else is around to hear, what I really credit my happiness and my work to is belief. Regardless of how much of an unstoppable force I was in terms of doing all the recommended strategies to enrich my resume or how many pennies I picked up that signify blessings from the heavens themselves — the thing that kept me going was the fact that I didn’t believe in anything but making it. Even when the world seemed impossible, I believed anything was possible if I kept believing. I apologize for channeling Cinderella here, but my dream was a wish that my heart made, and it was there that I laid my beliefs — if I trusted all would come true because I had it in me, then it would.
And it did.
Love, though somehow seems different — yet scarily similar. Like a career or a zip code, you can work really, really diligently (and strategically) to meet someone who you could be with. There are hundreds of bars, plenty of shared-interest activities, speed dating activities, common friends who know single folk, chance encounters on trains, planes and automobiles, flirty glances across messy platforms and funny conversations with dudes who will never be more than a blinking box on Gchat. And if you seek out all those measures to meet a man, you’ll meet one. If you’re lucky, that is.
That luck will transfer throughout your relationship, too. You’ll believe that because it’s so damn difficult to meet someone of substance, when you meet someone who could be a special something, you keep counting those blessed, magical stars that you met him. He may even tell you how thankful you should be for him and for your love, because only a privileged few get to find the romance they seek on the streets they stroll.
But then as quickly as it all started, no matter how much time, effort or energy you put into the relationship that seemed so inclined with the unquestionable ways of the world, it all crumbles at your feet. You may resent that you wasted your heart on something that never worked out anyway, you may even feel like that same heart won’t feel that thing again. You may start to wonder if the universe has decided you’re not meant to find the infamous One, that instead, you’re just meant to have the career you wanted in the city you chose to live in. And if you try hard enough, if you accept what you think the illusive fates are trying to tell you, somehow you will be just fine, alone. Just fine without having to try again (and again and again) for a love that never seems to be available.
After all, New Yorkers tend to adopt the bitterness rhyme — but me? I’d rather sing a song of hope and move to the beat of forgiveness. It’s easier to give up on love than to believe in it. It’s simpler to shut yourself off from crowds of blank faces that may or may not become faces we love. Especially when the looks you once grew accustomed to, became the same smiles and eyes you’ll only see a handful of times the rest of your life — if even at all. It’s tough to accept that some people are just bad people. Or that they aren’t awful souls, just not the soul that was made to mate with yours. Even more troubling to swallow is that some people are just kinda lost, and if you could, you would find them — but it’s not your responsibility to.
The beauty, though, of an open heart is that you know it can expand to take someone in. And if that someone is wrong, if you believe it can adapt to a new pulse, it’ll let you love again. But you have to keep reminding yourself that anything is possible, even in love, even when you don’t technically want happily-ever-after right now (but someday!), even if you don’t know how you’ll be as unconditional and liberated again, even if hard work and fate don’t always play on your side — it’s your belief that makes you attractive. It’s what makes me have a beautiful energy, it’s what makes me exude positivity and shine when everything (or everyone) is dark.
It was my belief that I was a writer that made me one. It was my belief that New York was home that made it so. It was my belief that dreams come true that I was able to make them my reality. It was my belief that I’m irreplaceable that makes me unforgettable. It was my belief that most people are actually good to their souls that’s made me surrounded by incredible company.
And so today, on 11:11:11 on the day that we’re all supposed to make a wish, I believe this little wish for me: that I will never stop working hard at believing that I’m actually one of the blessed, lucky ones who finds the love I was meant to share my beautiful dreams with in this remarkable city that I adore.