Boxes of Change

Last Sunday, I picked up about 30 boxes from a co-worker who recently moved back into town. Luckily, I had a Zipcar that day, so it was a hop, skip and a jump to get the 30, or so boxes I gathered, into my apartment.

Someone asked me a few days ago how I feel about moving and boxing up all of my belongings and I simply said, “okay”. It’s true, I do feel rather okay about the moving and the boxes. Actually, I feel more than rather okay, I feel good.

See, I know that it is time for change. The one thing I’ve learned about being in NYC is that nothing really lasts forever, unless you want it to and even if you want it to, you better be willing to fight for it. That sounds a bit cynical, but I’m really not trying to be cynical at all.  And the reality is that even if you go elsewhere forever might not be an option. I think the absolute truth to this is that NY is for the dreamers and the energetic beings. Which explains why many view NYC as a place to visit, but not a place to live.  I find that I’m at a point where I love the City and yet, I want to be out of the City. I don’t have it in me to fight and scrape and claw my way too much these days.

I’ve heard about people who have lived in NYC for a few years and then move out of the City, to cities upstate for a quieter and cheaper life style. I find that as I get older, I want the same thing.  A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to go to Hudson, NY and I loved it. It was quiet and small town, but only 2 hours from the City- an easy commute. Earlier this year, when I went to Albany to visit one of my best friends, I wanted to live in her apartment. I’ve figured that  if you want forever, you need to move somewhere out of the City. There is an endless array of activities and people and distractions and they can keep you from finding whatever it is that you need. Maybe this is just my experience recently, but NYC is weighing me down. I hate the commutes on the crowded trains and the people who only care about themselves.  Don’t get me wrong- I do love this city and I love that at my finger tips there are countless opportunities for myself and my art, but there is still a part of me that knows I can’t live here forever. It’s the part that reminds me that these boxes are necessary. They are the next step in the right direction.

So you must be wondering what my point here is. And I’m getting there.  See, I’m a dreamer. A big one. I’ve got one too many dreams and feel like I don’t have enough time. With that said, NY, much as when I was a small child, who was excited to move to Cleveland Heights, Ohio, I am now a 30 year old woman excited to move on to the next stages of my journey.

When I first moved to NY in November 2006, I was still youngish 20s and I believed that I would come to the City, make lots of money, pay off my debt (instead of accruing more of it), and get all this amazing career experience. I also knew moving that I’d be moving on a low-pay scale and working my way up, so as I told several friends, “I’m moving to NY now because I don’t want to live in NY in my 30s and be poor, I want to be in my 20s and be poor.”  It is safe to say now that I am poor (I’m an intern) in my 30s, living in NY. So it is time to change. No matter how much I do LOVE this City and the friends I’ve made and the shops I visit regularly and the neighborhood that feels like my second skin (Alphabet City/East Village), I have to go.

I think I’m having my more-than-quarter-life-crisis and rather than spending tons of money on unnecessary things, I’m spending tons of money on something that feels like the air I need to breathe-travel and discovery.

For those of you who have been following this blog, you know that I’ve been talking about going to Japan for some time now. A little bit over a year, now and I’ve decided that I am going. Carting those boxes into my apartment last Sunday was the one act that solidified it.

Lots of friends have been asking about my internship and other details about the trip and the reality is that I see a door opening. Of course, two doors may very well open up, but I see a very distinct door opening and that door is the door that has me crossing oceans to follow my dream. It is a HUGE leap of faith and I had to say no to quite a few other doors that were presenting themselves – one of my best friends moving to Chicago to live with me in the apartment of another best friend’s becoming available in a month, and the fact that maybe, just maybe I could get a full-time job at my current place of interning.  Even with those possibilities, I know that Japan is the doorway I must go through.

Working as an Intern, I’ve heard the CEO talk about his current job being the most gratifying job he’s had and that is commendable. I want that. I want to work some place where I feel like I’m not just giving my all, but that it is worth my all. I’m not saying anything about my internship because I am learning a ton and I feel quite fortunate for the current environment I find myself in, but in the past, my jobs provided ample opportunity, but they did not leave me feeling like I was doing anything worth my time. Yes, helping cancer patients was gratifying and yes, helping a cultural institution raise money and maintain it’s relevancy was just as gratifying, but I did not wake up every day thinking, my job is amazing and this is what I want to do every day of my life until I die. In fact, it was the people I worked with that made me want to go to work every day.

No, what I want to do every day of my life until I die, is help people and educate people and really make a difference through communication.  Every job, I’ve held has had that element to it- Communications, Education, Volunteerism, Environmentalism, etc, but now I want to do it on the topics I’m passionate about – paper making, letter writing, and real honest story telling that communicates the human/animal element of each of us. The one that connects us to each other.

A few weeks ago, as I was debating whether I should stay in NYC and live with my friend in my friend’s apartment and be closer to the guy I’ve been “seeing”, I realized that I have a great opportunity to leap, no questions asked. None. All I need to do it stop being afraid and just leap. And so I am. I’m hoping that when I get back I will find my footing pretty quickly, but nothing is definitely, the only thing I know right now about the future is that I’m open.  I’m open to all the possibilities that will be waiting for me when I return from this adventure.

When I first started talking about going to Japan, I talked about it purely from a learning perspective- the chance to learn a tradition and technique as old as time- it would help me become a better designer and I could figure out how to make my own paper.  Now, when I talk about it, I talk about it the same way, I just also talk about it the way I would about needing a drink of water. I feel like the time spent on the road, learning and communicating, will not just help my business, but also help me. It will sooth my soul and find peace in a way that I haven’t been able to in the last three years.

This weekend, I’m beginning to box up books and get rid of clothes that I don’t wear, or haven’t worn in some time to start the first phase of moving, I’m getting ready for an adventure. And I’m ready. I’m so, so ready.

Don’t worry, for those of you who are, I’ll be here until September and in that time, I’m ding tons of crazy things- workshops on paper, craft fairs/shows and working, working, working my butt off.  I’ll be talking all about it, as I get ready for my trip too.  Exciting stuff, friends, exciting stuff.

If you’re boxing up for change, I wish you good luck!


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S2 Stationery & Design

A rule-breaking designer, artist & entrepreneur who's passionate about paper and handcrafting stationery. I also write, travel, and focus on eco + social good.

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