The Downside

March 18, 2009

There is a downside that comes with most anything.  Living in New York has it’s downsides.  For me the greatest downsides have to do with my family and so many of my friends being so far away.  Also, trying to establish a new grown-up adult life after college presents it’s own set of challenges.

I don’t want to be so far from so many of the people that I care about.  But I want to live in New York.  I think accepting only part of what you want is a good skill to develop.  I have realized though that if I wasn’t so far from my loved ones I would not have gained this greater appreciation for them.  

I’ve also realized that I had compiled quite a list of ambitions for myself, ambitions that I planned to accomplish “after I graduated and became a real adult human.”  One of the things that I feel is making my transition into being a “real adult human” more challenging is that I am working night shifts.  I’m having to completely relearn how to live.  I’m having difficulty sleeping on my days off and I’ve been sick to my stomach for three months.  My digestive system is like a pouty child, sometimes crossing it’s arms and refusing to budge, other times throwing a fit in the frozen food isle of the grocery store, and it’s been known to act like a rag doll when I try and pick it up during one of it’s meltdowns.  Oh, the joy.  

But the downside that is over-arching through out all of this is a sort of grief and sense of loss, combined with the realization that I need to either sink or swim. – I can keep striving to build the life I want against so many new obstacles (and many of the old obstacles) or I can….well, actually, that’s the only option. – The loss and grief I feel is harder to pin down.  As I live and meet people here I can feel the energy of this place and that energy runs the full gamut of human emotion.  I think that until I’ve really set down some roots I’ll continue to feel a little jostled by this flow of human emotion constantly surging through Manhattan.

I haven’t posted anything in quite awhile, in fact, I can’t even remember how long it’s been and I didn’t bother to check before starting to write this post.  Suffice it to say that life happened and blogging wasn’t a priority. Everything is going well for me here in New York City, but the list of things that I can make myself do when I’m not in the mood to do them is short and blogging isn’t to be found among them.  Another of the reasons I haven’t written is because I felt like I had to explain or summarize everything that happened while I wasn’t writing.  Forget that, I’m living in the now.

Right now I’m still feeling a little out of sorts trying to adjust to working nights.  My body doesn’t know what the hell I”m doing and I’ve embraced the magic of Ambien for those times when I know there won’t be enough time for my body to decided whether or not it’s really time to sleep.

Life in NYC is amazing and I frequently find myself on street corners, waiting for the light to change (things haven’t gotten so bad that I’m selling myself), and I’ll look up and/or around myself and think how lucky I am to be living in this place.  And it’s not just that I’m living in an amazing place, it’s that I’m living in a place that I always dreamed of living in.

Life here in NYC isn’t always such a dream though, it’s still life and all the accompanying challenges do still apply.  I really do understand why most people don’t pick up and move across the country to anywhere, especially not NYC.  There is a part of me that knows I won’t live in this city for my whole life, but at the same time I cannot comprehend how I will ever live anywhere else.

Dating here is interesting.  It’s sort of exactly like everyone described it would be and yet nothing like that at all. I’ve been overwhelmed with all the gay men here.  They are EVERYWHERE!  Anyone that’s afraid of the gays taking over the world needs to just write NYC off, because we’ve already conquered it.

I think I’m done for now.  I’m going to watch the season finale of The Bachelor.  I’ve been willingly sucked into the series and I readily admit to enjoying awful television.  But I comfort myself with the knowledge that Six Feet Under is one of my favorite series of all time.  See, I’m not all trashy reality TV.

Whew! That was stressful.

November 25, 2008

Now I know why most people don’t pick up their whole lives and move to New York City.  It’s very stressful.  The reason I haven’t been blogging is because to recap stressful times on my blog while they’re happening only seems to compound my feelings.  

There were moments in the past month when I thought the whole move to NYC might blow up in my face.  At one point I had to seriously evaluate what my options were if this move to NYC didn’t pan out for me.  My housing situation proved to be by far the most stressful aspect of the move, but I have settled into an apartment with one roommate.  

Chris, a reader of this blog, sent me a great link: www.housingmaps.com.  It combines Craig’s List with google maps.  Very convenient and not just for finding a place in NYC.  Before I moved out here a friend of mine told me how difficult it is to find a place to live in NYC.  He made it sound almost impossible.  I’m happy to report that it is possible, although I underestimated just how hard it would be.

As for finding the right roommate situation…  The only thing I can liken it to is going on one blind date after the other.  You think it’s a good fit, the other person doesn’t.  The other person thinks it’s a good fit, but you don’t.  You both think it’s a good fit, but external circumstances beyond everyone’s control prevent it from going further.  And those scenarios say nothing for how you feel about the apartment you’re looking at, those were just the roommate feelings.  Very difficult.  Very unpleasant and draining.  But when you find a good fit…the world is right again.  

Also, I’ve gained a new appreciation for Utah and the quality of life there.  I know that there has been a lot of negative energy going Utah’s way with the Prop 8 stuff, but when it’s all said and done it’s a beautiful place with many incredible people and a high quality of life.  Keep in mind that I liked Utah before I left it, and my appreciation has still grown.  

I can’t write much more tonight, and I hope to expound on many of the things I’ve touched on in this post in the future, but for right now I will conclude with just two more thoughts:

-I really miss my friends and family back in Utah, especially my family.  Not to diminish my love for my friends, but friends can be made anywhere, your family is who and where your family is, period.  And no matter how close I get to any of my friends, and I have some very close and very incredible friends, my family knows and loves me in a way that only they can, because they’ve known me and loved me longer than anyone.  

-The other thing I will mention is a recurring thought that I have had repeatedly over the last month, and especially frequently since moving into my apartment (the point at which I actually started to feel like I was living in New York and not just like I was visiting).  I am living one of my dreams, one of my greatest dreams.  And that’s a pretty incredible thing.  Especially when you consider the countless number of people that aren’t in a position to make their dreams come true, people whose energy and day-to-day existence is consumed by their efforts just to survive. I guess it’s fitting, what with Thanksgiving being this Thursday, that I’m feeling so thankful.

Making the Rounds

October 4, 2008

I’ve been doing my best to make the rounds with people before I leave on the 14th.  This has meant coffees, lunches, and dinners with people.  I’m sure I won’t be able to see everyone before I go, but that might be a good thing because it’s really depressing.  Afterward I just feel sad that I’m leaving these people.  Not that I saw many of them on a very frequent basis, but at least they were close.  

I know a lot of people, but the number that I consider to be friends is much smaller and the number that I consider to be close friends is smaller still.  I do think that moving away will really shake off the dead weight, although it sounds horrible to say that.  I think that those friends that want to stay in touch will, but many will be too busy.  Not that that is a bad thing.  We all have to prioritize our time and divide it among the people we want to spend time with.  One of things I do though, is every so often I will go through my phone and call people I haven’t spoken to in awhile to check up on them and see how they’re doing.  

One of the things I’ve noticed about friends that have stuck with me over the years is that, no matter how close we are geographically, they always call me back.  They may not call back the same day I call them, or even the same week or month, but they do eventually get around to calling back.  Of course, these calls I’m making aren’t emergent in nature, that would require a quick call back, they’re just an effort to stay connected despite time and space.  I think it’s important to stay connected to the people you care about, especially if you are about to move across the country where you hardly know anyone.

Going Your Way

October 3, 2008

I am just bracing for my world to explode.  Whenever things are going the way I want them to I start to freak out that everything is going to be pulled out from under me.  This morning I woke up to a voicemail from my new job asking me to call them back.  Immediately my mind went to the thought that they were calling to tell me never mind about that job offer.  Lots of deep breathing and a returned phone call later I discovered that they were actually calling to try and schedule something with me when I get back to New York.  

As I sit here typing I’m wondering why I think things will suddenly not go my way.  I don’t know if it’s related to my religious upbringing and being taught that I wouldn’t be happy unless I lived according to Mormon principles.  I mean, I’ve never been happier or at more peace in my life, and it all started when I came out and accepted myself for who I am.  I’ve written before, when you’re taught something so earnestly as a child it’s hard to reshape your mind.  It’s easy to slip into the well-worn grooves of your brain rather than working to form new, better-educated, ways of thinking.  But these feelings may also have something to do with the opportunity filled life I’ve had.  When I lived in Russia I struggled quite a bit with the disparity in the quality of life between myself (and all Americans) as compared to much of the rest of the world.  We have a lot of freedom, pleasure, convenience, and opportunity here that isn’t seen in much of the world.  I’ve never felt like I deserved it any more than anyone else on this planet.  It’s not so much that I feel unworthy of it, because I believe everyone should have the same rights and opportunities, it’s that I don’t know why I have it and another person doesn’t.  So maybe that has something to do with why I sometimes fear it all flying out the window.  

Anyway, that last paragraph was some real-time thinking out loud.  Take it for what you will.  On another note I booked my one-way ticket back to New York for October 14th.  I’m feeling all sorts of emotions about that, but maybe I’ll babble on about that subject another time.  Right now I need to get ready to go meet my friend Angel and her daughter for lunch.  I’m doing my best to make the rounds with people before I leave.

(This post won’t be of much interest to anyone that isn’t looking for a job as a new graduate nurse in NYC.)

I did want to write about the experience of the job hunt as a new graduate nurse looking for work in NYC.  My reference points for this are mostly based in Utah, where the nurse recruiters were all over the new graduates.  Most of my friends started working on temporary licenses as soon as they’d finished the degree but before they’d taken their boards.  

My understanding of New York is that as a new graduate you can start working even without a temporary license if you graduated from an accredited NY nursing program. – Of course, keeping that job is dependent upon your successfully passing your nursing boards within a designated amount of time. – Also, as you might expect, there are a lot of nursing schools in the New York area.  These factors make it more difficult to find a position if you are coming from out of state.  

Ultimately I had to travel to New York to find a job.  I tried to do it from Utah, but it was difficult to get a hold of the nurse recruiter that you wanted to talk to, and they are so busy!  Being there, standing in their office makes it a lot harder from them to brush you off by telling you that they’ll call you if they have something for you.  Mind you, a lot of them still say this, even to your face, but you have better odds of them actually considering a position for you if you’re standing there.  

I did a lot of cold calls and walked into a lot of hospitals like I actually had business being there.  My goal was to just get into the the recruiting offices – Do you have an appointment?  No, I just need to drop something off.  But do you have an appointment?  No, I just need to drop something off.  OK, it’s up on the 4th floor… – There was a lot of acting like I knew what I was doing and a little bit of playing naive to get myself through the door.   

It was my opinion that if I could just get an interview with the nurse manager I would be offered the job.  Of course, this might not have actually been the case, but that’s the opinion I have of my abilities and what I have to offer.  Fortunately for my self-esteem, the interview was in fact followed by the job offer.  Identity crisis averted.    

I have a friend that I graduated with that also went to NYC looking for a job.  Her trip was not a success.  I think she is planning on just getting a job here in SLC and then going to NY as a travel nurse (which is a better financial deal, anyway.)  In Utah she has her pick of the department she wants to work in.  I thought about this approach for myself when I was afraid the NY job wouldn’t pan out, but this approach would require me to spend at least another year in Utah.  I love Utah, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like I’ve reached a life-plateau here and I still want to go higher.  I can do travel nursing later if I want, right now I want to live in NYC.  

There is a nursing shortage in this country.  It’s only going to get worse in the coming years.  But so far I’ve decided that the time this shortage is felt the least is July-October after the wave of new graduates enters the workforce.  If you want a new graduate nursing position in New York City then get there in May or June when there are more spots available and they are full on in the mode of new graduate hiring.  But no matter when you get there, it’s still possible to get a job, you just have to be willing to do the foot work.

Bagels and Jobs

September 26, 2008

I accepted the job I was offered on Wednesday.  I also discovered what I get to stress and worry about now that I’ve found a job; finding a place to live.  But I keep telling myself that it will work out.  After all, everything else has.  

I also had my first NYC bagel today.  It was from a little hole-in-the-wall place near where I’m staying.  I’d heard good things about NYC bagels but I’d never tried them.  I searched for the best bagels in the city and sure enough there is a list, and I’ll let  you know when I try one of the bagels places written about, but for now I just tried a standard shop.  It was very good.  They say it’s the NYC tap water that gives the bagels their distinctive deliciousness, I think that might be true.  I’ll do more research and get back to you.  

Tomorrow I head back to Salt Lake, where I expect to spend about two weeks making the rounds and wrapping things up there before returning to NYC to try and find a place and settle in before I start work.  This whole process hasn’t been happening on my timetable (unless you count the timetable I gave myself this week to find a job,) but it really is happening.  I’m very excited.

Job Hunt Update

September 24, 2008

Whew!  A little quiet on the blog front.  I’ve been busy looking for a job and having a good time here in New York.  And, if things would have come out to failure I didn’t really feel the need to document every step of that journey.  I am happy to report that after a lot of foot/phone/email work I have one job offer and an interview at a second hospital tomorrow.  Let’s just say that there was a lot of acting like I knew what I was doing as I walked, unannounced and uninvited, into a lot of nurse recruiting offices.  Of course, the paranoid freak side of me is afraid that tomorrow the bottom of the world is going to fall out and that job offer will be rescinded.  But don’t worry, I keep talking myself back down into a more logical reality.  Now, if I were a banker it might be harder to find that logical reality, but thankfully, I am not.  

I’ll write more about the job hunt later, but here are a few pictures:

Sheep's Meadow - Central Park


Bow Bridge - Central Park

Reflection - Central Park

 

 

Bethesda Fountain - Central Park

Bethesda Fountain - Central Park

 

Belvedere Castle - Central Park

Belvedere Castle - Central Park

 

Turtle Pond/View from Belvedere Castle - Central Park

Turtle Pond/View from Belvedere Castle - Central Park

 

Empire State Building from 5th Ave and about 28th Street

Empire State Building from 5th Ave and about 28th Street

My Fear of Failure

September 16, 2008

I’m just going to lay it out here for you.  Tomorrow I go to New York with the intention of finding a job.  I’ve been trying to find a job from Utah without success.  I will spare you the reasons why I think this is the case, especially given the nursing shortage in New York and the country as a whole.  I am hoping that being there in person, walking into the HR offices of various hospitals, will make the difference. 

But just for the record I do want to say that I fear failure in this situation.  If I go out there and all the nurse recruiters I meet could care less that I’m a nurse looking for a job, then someone might have to pick me up off the floor. – Which is where my shock will have heaped my body. – Everything I know about the nursing shortage in Utah tells me I should be able to find a job here, and Utah is #3 when it comes to the severity of the nursing shortage.  New York, just for the record, is #2 with California having the worst shortage at #1.

At my core I believe that I will find the job I’m looking for in New York.  But at the core of my core I believe something much more all encompassing, and that is that no matter the outcome it will be either exactly what I hope for or much better than what I hope for.  I believe that because that is what my life experience has taught me.  This is not to say that I’ve had everything go exactly as I’ve hoped.  But as I look back at the sum of my life experience things have always worked out for me. – This may have more to do with my outlook than my actual life experience, but your personal perception of yourself is important.  Much more important than other’s perceptions of you. – It’s just that my pesky brain keeps saying that maybe this will be the time that things don’t work out for me.  

I’m living through my fear and anxiety.  And if things don’t work out in the way that I hope, then I’ll tell people about it.  Because it is empowering to own your failed opportunities/plans as you step over them and keep moving.

Random Writings…

September 6, 2008

I have a planner that I used throughout my last year of nursing school, from August 2007-July 2008.  I carried it with me most places, kept notes in it, used it as scratch paper to write notes to my friends sitting next to me during class, etc.  My friends and I would often, rather than whispering to one another in class (which we did too often already), write what we were thinking on the other person’s notes or planner.  Whichever happened to be within reach of your pen.  

So, I also have things written in my planner by my friends.  As I’m cleaning things out I need to get rid of this old planner, but I’d like to remember some of things written in it.  So, I am typing them out here.  Some of them are quotes, some of them are snide comments about other people.  We often used these notes to vent about our frustrations related to those in class with us.  Anyway, here is some of what was written, as I said, some of it by me, some of it by others and pretty much all of it is out of context here in this post.  

-Find your happy place.  Go there.  Stay there for five minutes, then come back.  

-Increasing one’s openness to self and others is the basis for being able to establish healthier interpersonal relationships.

-This was my nightmare all thoughout Pediatrics:  Diarrhea of the mouth

-Mediocrity is the best camouflage known to man. -Quote from the book, “The Power of One.”

-The imagination is always the best torturer.  -Quote from the book, “The Power of One.”

-You can get used to anything, I discovered. -Quote from the book, “The Power of One.”

-If he ever has kids, then I already feel bad for them.

-That haircut is awful.

-I’m so sick of him using my lecture time to flex his brain.

-“Exchangement”, I think that’s a new word.

-Boobs and brains.

-Is she wearing stilletos at 9am?