Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan

My Two Year New York City Anniversary

It’s my two year anniversary of living in New York City and it is definitely a strange time to celebrate this personal milestone. The energy here and all across the world has completely shifted as we try to navigate our way through this coronavirus pandemic. The streets that are usually filled with the constant hustle and bustle of thousands of people are now almost completely empty as we social distance and quarantine inside our homes, trying to accept this new normal.

I wanted to write about this when it first started, but it’s taken me much longer than I expected to process everything that I have been feeling. In a lot of ways, I can relate these emotions to grief. While I am not mourning the loss of a loved one, I am currently grieving all of the things that I can no longer have in these moments. I’m alone in my apartment and not able to be with my family, which has probably been the most challenging part. I’m not currently working on any brand campaigns so the financial stress and uncertainty of what this means for me moving forward into these next few months has been weighing so heavily on my heart and mind. I have had many recent moments where I’ve honestly questioned if this would be my last year in New York. I pray it’s not.

All of the little things that we often take for granted have been taken away from us so quickly and unexpectedly. The plans that we set forth for ourselves in 2020 have now been put on pause. While I know that this is temporary, it’s still so much for us to process and take in at once. The one thing that has given me comfort is knowing that we are all in this together. Every single one of us is experiencing the same thing at the same time. Now more than ever I think we are all craving for connection and community. At least I know that I am.

When things started to unravel and I knew that I would be at home for the unforeseeable future, I wondered how I’d be able to create and share content during this time. The one good thing that has happened for me throughout all of this is that it’s really challenged me creatively and taken me out of my comfort zone. This post is a compilation of all the photos that I have taken so far with my tripod and iPhone throughout these last 3 weeks of quarantine. I have to say, I’m proud of myself for continuing to be consistent with my content during this time. I think I’ve been posting more now than I was before! It’s honestly what’s been helping me push through.

I’ve been trying to take advantage of my apartment and push myself to try new things, like my fire escape and chair series. I’ve also shared a couple of fun videos that I recorded for TikTok, which surprisingly has been a great distraction for me during this time. It’s been important for me to initiate conversation around what’s happening while sharing my own experience, but I also want my content to be a source of positivity mixed in with a little bit of entertainment too. Now more than ever we need to laugh and smile. I hope that in some way I’ve been able to lift you up through my stories and posts. Thank you to everyone who has been so sweet and supportive. I can feel this community getting even stronger right now and I am very appreciative.

naty michele quarantineI’m sitting on my bed writing this and looking outside the window into my little “backyard”, which by the way I am even more grateful for right now. I can’t help but think of all the memories I’ve had these last two years of living in this apartment here in New York City. Some have been so wonderful while others have been a bit painful to relive. I’ve admittedly had many moments of loneliness and anxiety over these last 24 months, but I’ve also had so many moments of pure bliss and contentment. There aren’t enough words to express how much this city has changed me and helped me grow. It constantly takes me outside of my comfortability. It’s always testing me and showing me what I am made of. I have learned that just like New York, I am strong and resilient. I think all of us living here have come to that realization at some point or another.

The memory of who I was when I lived with my mom continues to fade a little more each day as I move further and further away from that time in my life. I didn’t move out until I was 34 and I am even more thankful for that today. There is no way that I would have been ready for this a moment sooner. Most of what’s happened for me in my life has transpired at a much later time than those closest to me, but these last two years have made me more accepting of that and I can now fully embrace where I am at in my own journey. It took me awhile to get to this point, but I’m just happy I made it.

I can still vividly remember the day that I moved into this empty space with all my belongings separated into countless boxes. I’ll aways be so grateful that my mom helped me every step of the way to ensure that I got settled in properly. We spent hours unboxing my life and ordering food as we ate lunch on the floor since I didn’t have any furniture yet. It was one of the most bittersweet days of my life as I knew that I was closing one very long chapter and opening up another one. I expressed this when I first announced my move, but I carried some guilt with me knowing that I was leaving my mom. We have had such a close relationship and I could’t help but feel like I was abandoning her. It took awhile for us to get into the groove of our new reality, but we have created some amazing memories here together. Mama loves this vibrant city!

The first 6 months after I moved were an enormous transition as I decorated my apartment, got familiar with my neighborhood and began to create a new life here. I had to get used to being alone day in and day out. While I love my solitude, this was definitely an adjustment for me. In the beginning, it honestly felt like I was traveling solo. I really had to give myself all the time that I needed to fully settle into this city lifestyle, which has been completely different from the life I had in New Jersey.

It wasn’t until my second year here that I truly felt like I could call this place my home. It was also the year that I faced many personal challenges and struggles. I began to feel some financial burdens and honestly contemplated the direction that I wanted to take with work. It was a year of much needed self-reflection and helped me come to many realizations about myself and certain aspects of my life. I have already written several posts about what it’s really like living in NYC and what some of my biggest challenges have been so I won’t reiterate that here. However, I will say that while I continue to have a love/hate relationship with this city I still can’t see myself living anywhere else. As I reflect on my time here I can confidently say that I am not done with New York yet.

My initial goal was to give myself at least two years here. That felt like it would be a substantial amount of time to decipher whether or not this could potentially be longterm for me. Now that I have accomplished that goal, I realize how quickly that time has completely flown by. “In a New York minute” has a whole new meaning for me now. I have always felt that this city moves at a much faster pace than what I’ve been used to. Because of this, I actually feel as though my journey and story here has just begun. I obviously do not know what the future has in store for me, but I definitely hope and pray that it includes New York.

This was supposed to be my “starter” apartment, but it has become so much more. While it is not perfect and there has been a lot I’ve had to adjust to (like super thin walls, noisy neighbors, a furry visitor and a creepy basement) it truly feels like my home now and I love it so much. As I embark on my third year I hope that it brings me more clarity and a better sense of whether or not I will continue being here in 2021.

I pray that things get better sooner rather than later so that I can get back to work and hustle to continue living my dream. All of this has opened my eyes to so much and given me the time to reflect and reset. It has given me a deeper appreciation for things that I definitely took for granted and I think that is the blessing in all of this.

I am living in a limbo phase right now as I know many others are too. It’s terrifying and the uncertainty of it all has this way of weighing you down so much. I know that we will get through this difficult time though. We are going to get through it together. My DMS are always open if you want to chat. I’ve gone LIVE a couple of times on Instagram and have done a few Zoom video chats with the girls in my Facebook group. It’s been an amazing way to connect and have more in-depth conversations. Just know that I am here if you need me.

Thank you for reading and virtually celebrating my two year anniversary with me. I hope that all of you are staying safe and I am sending so much love to you during this time! ❤️

  1. Julie

    Happy 2nd Anniversary my beautiful one! Your calling is in writing. You know how to put your words together to express what you feel. I am so proud of you! I am happy that you spread your wings. It is the only way you can mature into the incredible person you are now. I miss you terribly. My tears were sliding down my face when you said how hard it was for you to leave me and that you thought you were abandoning me. No honey you weren’t, you were entering a new phase in your life to know what it is to be responsible for yourself. You have done an admirable job. I know certain people have more respect for you for taking that giant leap. Welcome to the responsible adult club!! I love you to pieces, even though at times , we might butt heads on certain topics. Lol!! You did a great job on this post. I love all the pictures! God bless you and protect you, especially at this time, going through this horrible pandemic.

    • Naty

      Thank you mama love you so much!

  2. Diana

    Blessings your way! Happy anniversary!

    • Naty

      Thank you, Diana! xo

  3. Happy 2nd year anniversary!!
    I can’t believe it’s been that long already. I feel like I just watched you move in and decorate. My, time flies.

  4. HAPPY SECOND YEAR ANNIVERSARY. I always told you about the amazing talent you have when writing, I know exactly how it is to move from a different state to New York, the ambiance, the people, the rushing on the streets, the weekends on 9th ave and the whole diversity of restaurants you will spend an entire life to know each on of them, New York is just a place you can never leave regardless of any situation we are facing this city will stil stand up, I came for one year and now it’s my 15th year living in New York, there’s a song that identifies me and many who have come to have a taste of New York ( hotel california) you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave, heads up we will all make this city come alive again times will not be easy but within all United will make it,
    Courage is not when you have strength to go on, is to go on when you dont have strength.
    Keep up the good work Naty.

  5. Hi Naty! First of, congrats on your second year anniversary! Moving to NYC is such a bold move. i’m currently 23 and finishing my undergrad this semester. I just leased a car for the next 36 months, and I hope that in 36 months when my lease is over, I’m planning on packing up and moving to NYC. Second, I definitely agree that everyone feels like living in a limbo. Everything is on a pause and it makes all of us on edge. Great post!

    Demi | http://demibang.com/

    • Naty

      Thank you so much, Demi! I hope you get to move here! Wishing you the best of luck with this goal. xo

  6. Jean Isaak

    I am in the waiting room of my daughter’s oral surgeon waiting for her wisdom teeth removal to be finished. I was looking at stitch fix’s dressing for body shape info and clicked on you because I’m also short and it led me to your blog. I ended up reading your post thinking it would be about fashion but kept reading because my older daughter moved to NYC in June and is far away from us and likely feeling many of the same emotions you describe in your blog, but putting on a brave face as she knows I’m very worried about her and feel sad I can’t yet visit and help her get settled. Thank you for sharing your words as it made me feel better about my daughter and her future there (even with the challenges!).

    • Naty

      Hi Jean! Thanks so much for reading and leaving a message. I hope your daughter’s wisdom teeth removal went well! I’m happy that this post was able to give you a little bit of comfort about your other daughter living in NYC. While it definitely has its challenges, especially this year with everything going on, it’s still been a great home for me. I hope that it will be a great home for her too. I’m happy that you found my blog!

logo Menu Title