A rolling stone gathers no moss. I guess that has been my motto since graduating college. My journey to NYC is as important as what has happened since my arrival.
Born and raised in Chicago, I followed sunshine to Los Angeles after college. I spent my early 20s in Tinsel Town. Oh the stories! While there, a friend with contacts in the entertainment industry suggested that I start screenwriting. I shrugged her off saying, “I’m here to have fun before law school.” After a few years of fun, I returned to the Midwest for law school. In my spare time, I started writing a journal. However, when it came time to take the bar exam, all frivolous pursuits (i.e. anything not legally related) came to an end.
After practicing a few years and experiencing angst at my professional development, I had a longing to pick up my journal and start writing again. I started emailing friends my thoughts on politics, education, etc. One friend replied to my email, “Why are you still in Chicago? You need to be in NY, where it happens. Also, stop sending emails and start a blog so others can hear you.” I replied that I did not want to share my thoughts with the public. The friend was persistent about me moving to New York, especially when I started talking about needing a career change and feeling unfulfilled. Mentoring teens made me more fulfilled than the practice, reminding me of my teaching days. Plus, I started writing. One book turned into three and I wanted to be published. Always dreamed of being Lucy Maud Montgomery-esque.
Fate took matters in its own hands. Clearly, I was afraid to take the leap to NYC. A law school friend was getting married in NYC. I decided to take a week off before the wedding to play tourist. While there, I would visit my persistent “NYC is where you need to be friend.” Well she would have none of that. Why waste time hanging with her when there were people to meet! She arranged a few informational interviews for me with some strategic people. After a few days of informational interviews and taking in the city, the buzz hit me. There is something electric about this city. Things happen here. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.
However, realist, practical me always comes through. I could not move to NYC to be a starving author waiting to be discovered without a means to support myself. That meant getting licensed in New York. All law students dread three things: (1) taking the bar – I vowed never to take another when I passed; (2) please don’t let the “rule against perpetuities” be on the bar exam – want to irk an attorney ask them about the rule; and (3) taking the New York bar – pass rate is the lowest in the country. I vowed never to take the bar exam again, so my only hope was reciprocity. There’s the rub. Easier to pass the New York bar exam than to get reciprocity. I challenged the universe and fate. If I get reciprocity from New York, then I have to move.
My friend’s wedding was the first week of October 2010. Immediately when I returned, I applied for reciprocity. November 2010, I started my blog “Ronda-isms.” Why “Ronda-isms?” I have plenty of sayings and ways of doing things. In law school, friends would say, “that’s a Ronda-thing or one of Ronda’s -isms.” So it seem befitting that the blog take that name. December 29, 2010, I was notified that I received reciprocity from the New York. New Year’s Eve, I announced my move to NYC in 2011 to my family and friends. The application process to complete my reciprocity took another three months. Once I completed the paperwork and sent fees, I had a swearing in date of June 2011. It was official. I moved to New York Memorial Day weekend 2011 bright eyed, ambitious, excited, and determined to prove naysayers wrong.
May 25th marked my three year anniversary in the concrete jungle. I blogged about my transitions on Ronda-isms – failures, disappointments, small successes. I started a separate website about a neighborhood I fell in love with. New Yorkers are borough-centric and neighbhorhood-centric. When I moved to NYC, my friend that got married said this, “you did not move to NYC to live on any island other than Manhattan.” I live in Manhattan in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen-Times Square-Theater District. It reminds me of Chicago’s South Loop with easy access to everything within a 15-minute walk (Hudson River Path, Central Park, Lincoln Center, Broadway, Bryant Park, and every subway line).
It has been an interesting three years of highs, lows, love, and perseverance. I would be lying if I told you there were not times when I questioned whether I made the right decision to move here. However, despite the disappointment of doors closed and waiting for luck to pull up to my bumper, I am hopeful and determined that soon enough NYC will have to reckon with me. Until then, I will continue to hone my skills and push back on the concrete jungle.