The only time my Ames senior year apartment was completely bare and empty was the first five hours of my first day in it: August 1, 2009. I bought, framed, and hung posters, picture collages, bulletin boards, and paintings on the walls that same day. True life Jenn Dryden: I get things done all at once, I don’t space them out with breathing room. So sleeping in a white-walled and bare, echoing apartment last night was overwhelming to say the least. As I was turning my back, grasping the apartment door, and taking one last glance into my empty apartment today, I had one thought rush through my crowded head: “Well, there goes normalcy.”
That is an understatement to the next week of my life. Not only have I not lived at home longer than a weekend in three years, I haven’t lived in any other state than Iowa. My entire Ames life is stuffed tightly into my mom’s basement and piled in more piles than I can count, my mattress and box spring are zipped in plastic covers, and those frames that once hung upon my walls are tilted against the couch. There are three large suitcases in my bedroom upstairs that are stuffed with clothes and essentials for New York, even my clothes for today through Thursday. (Yeah, didn’t plan that quite right.) I’ll be living near Soho in Union Square in Manhattan starting Friday. That’s definitely not Iowa! As much as I’m ready to finally be in one spot for a little while, I’m still trying to swallow leaving everything and everyone I’ve ever known.
Some would cringe at change and curl into a ball with their knees under their chin and pray someone will come to their rescue. I’ve done that at least once, so if you’ve gone over one time, suck it up and embrace it. I’ve never been good with change. I mean, I’ll make the appropriate changes when necessary but I’m notorious for loving routine. Routine and me get along pretty well. We accommodate each other well. (Rambling, I’m good at that.)
But as I shut that door and thought away normalcy, I opened a new door to my dreams. My dream has always been (for the past three years) living in New York City, working in the publishing industry, and being in the middle of it all. This summer’s institute will hand me opportunities with all of the editors and publishers in companies like HarperCollins, Random House, Inc, Conde Nast, Meredith Corporation, and beyond. I’ll be working close with an executive editor of O The Oprah Magazine mid-June and meeting editors from every branch of the magazine industry. (Read more on my “NYC Summer” page.) This is my chance.
So today as I drove away from a city that holds my college experience, best friend, and first taste of independence, I cried. I cried until I reached the city’s limits, then I wiped my eyes, stiffed one last sniff, and began to sing along to “Soul Sister” by Train on the radio. I also allowed myself to grow up then I turned the page to the next chapter called, “The Rest of My Life”.