New York - A - Versary

August 2nd marks my 1st year living in New York City. This is a monumental occasion seeing how I (and my wallet) only planned to be in the city for 4 months. Moving to NY with no job and nothing in the works was beyond taking a leap of faith (which for some reason sounds graceful) for me, it was more like being tossed off a ledge by life and free-falling into an abyss. The countless breakdowns — tears of joy, heartache, and at times hysteria all have pooled together and carried me through 12 months. 


Of course, music has been along for the ride helping to articulate my feelings. Whether it was through the revival of an intense emo phase or mellowing out on the melodic sounds of 60s/70s psychedelic vibes. The only way to truly recap this year and celebrate my New York – A -  Versary is through old-time Broadway/New York City songs. Here is my brief summary of this past year….


Act 1

On the Town

“New York, New York” x Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Jules Munshin

All those black and white movies I grew up watching of old New York had unknowingly created a fascination with the city, and there I was living in it — as wide-eyed and eager as Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Jules Munshin were stepping off the boat in the movie On The Town. It was August, hot as hell but I still would make my way around the city drenched in sweat and wonder. The fresh off the boat, "here I am New York City," excitement overshadowed the grim reality that I had no money or job. All the new sights and sounds held back my negative thoughts, but the sharp turn in the season gave way to the gravity of my situation.


Act 2

“Autumn in New York” x Ella Fitzgerald

Nor my wardrobe or mental strength was prepared for the drop in temperature. My summer wonder quickly turned into a panic to find a job in adland as a strategist, but nothing was working. I opened my search to different roles and still no hope. The funds were running low and I was nearing my 4-month expiration date. Autumn did a quick drive-by, but not before leaving me hopeless and down in the dumps, I landed a contract gig in strategy at a small shop! I was at the point of almost joining a cult-like sales company however, Autumn came through and allowed me to continue my journey in New York.


Act 3

“California Dreamin” x Mamas and the Papas

Act 3 is usually where shit hits the fan — Caesars is stabbed, Romeo is banished for killing Tybalt — my story did not differ. I had finished my 1st freelance gig and managed to score another one, but it was time to snag the oh so elusive full-time job. It was do or die. I managed to score some interviews and for a moment had momentum — meeting several people from the agencies and making it through rounds of interviews. I could taste the benefits of full-time (both medically and the peace of mind) around the corner, but the new year hadn’t killed the old habits of recruiters. Ghosting me as if I hadn't existed, hadn’t shaken their hands, and looked them in the eyes. A few I could take, but that became the norm. I felt defeated, unwanted, my confidence was nonsexist, and on to of all of that it was cold. My mind, body, and soul desperately yearned for the renewal of spring, but winter was holding on for dear life. I needed to get out of the city and escape to the west.


Act 4


“It’s Today” x  Angela Lansbury

The curtain opens to the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico. I was born in New Mexico and have always held a spiritual connection with it. My time spent there was essential to my soul. I was drained by the combination of the city, my flakey situation, and the looming thought of having to move back home.  

I returned to the city with newfound energy and understanding of myself. I was able to reflect on my first year out of grad school and celebrate another year of growing older, all without crumbling at the fact I not even close to where I thought I would be in life. But I was, well am, exactly where I should be.

Mame’s It's Today perfectly summarizes where I am at, well today. I'm not the same person I was a year ago but that is for better — celebrate. I'm humbled and happy to be getting paid to be in the industry I'm passionate about — celebrate. And I still live here in New York — celebrate. I still marvel at the city every time I’m on the train going over the Manhattan Bridge humming “New York New York. It's a hell of a town!”

Katelen Thomas