“I used to think being brave meant doing something big and cinematic and heroic, but after this trip, I realize sometimes taking those smaller steps that take us out of our comfort zone and help us grow can be just as brave.” -Adriana Jaime
Adriana is a Portland, Oregon dweller dedicating her time to working with kids and embracing her creativity through photography, writing, and being a hostess. Although she’s not originally from Portland, she tells us that the city feels more like home to her than any other place in the world. After a recent trip to NYC with friends, Adriana was curious what it might look like to move to a brand new city. Little did she know this would change her idea of what ‘being brave’ meant. We believe you will be inspired by the steps of bravery she took outside of her comfort zone so we asked her to share her journey with us.
Back in October, I hopped on a last minute flight to NYC to hang out with a couple of friends as they shot a cookbook and to explore the city for a few days. I had never been to the East Coast before and let me tell you, autumn in New York is exactly how it is painted in the movies – the colors, the trees, the park, the beautiful people in fall wardrobe all around. In the five days I was there New York charmed me to my core and I fell for it HARD, to the point where I thought about it all day every day for three weeks until I bought a ticket back. This time, the ticket was for three weeks to see if I could possibly move there.
Buying that ticket and making plans for my time there were some of the best and toughest times I’ve gone through as far as questioning myself and the choices I was making. I am not what you would call a spontaneous person; I analyze and think through everything and don’t like to make choices that are not logical or fit into a plan. And New York was never part of the plan. I knew in my heart that going and testing out the waters to possibly move there was something I wanted to do, but I questioned my decision daily for months. Why would I consider leaving the comforts of my home here in Portland? I have all my immediate family here, 2 of my 3 siblings within a twenty minute walk from my front door, an incredible deal on the greatest little duplex at the base of Mt. Tabor, a job I absolutely love, and the sweetest friends. Why would I even think of leaving that for a new place where I don’t really know anyone and have no job and would probably have to live in a tiny place with roommates because rent is so high? I fought against logic every day (and even a couple of panic attacks) but knew I just had to at least give it a try.
The week before I left, I was looking at the website of one of my favorite organizations that has a chapter in Brooklyn and saw that they had a rare listing for a job opening. It was almost midnight when I saw it and it took all of me to not apply right then and there. In the morning, I sent an email applying for the job; three hours later I had an email from the director saying he thought I would be a great fit and they wanted to interview me! However, if I got the job, I would need to start on Tuesday – the day after I got to New York. I could hardly contain my emotions as I read the email on the bus! I called my mom to let her know that there was a possibility I would not be returning after three weeks, but would be starting a job the day after I landed. I was overwhelmed by the idea of working a dream job in a city that I loved and at the same time overwhelmed thinking that I would possibly not be coming back for a long time. During my interview I was told I would find out if I got the position that coming Monday, the day I landed. This meant that when I left on Sunday, I wouldn’t know if I was going for three weeks, or if I was going to be living in New York permanently.
Talking to some friends about everything the word “brave” came up. I certainly did not feel like I encompassed this word, even though they did. They thought I was brave for going into something so big with some much being unknown; I thought I was being a big baby for being a 32 year old woman crying on my mom’s lap wanting her to just make everything ok.
As I said goodbye to my family that Sunday night not knowing what would happen the next day, I realized that sometimes being brave comes with crying and feeling out of sorts and questioning yourself. Being brave comes with having to fight against the way you’ve been for a long time and trying something that doesn’t “make sense” or fit into a plan you had written out for yourself. It comes with doing something that terrifies when you but you do anyway because you know that the choice to do it in the first place was rooted in something good, and with it, a joy that will ultimately drown out the fears.
When I came out of the subway Monday morning on route to my AirBnB in Brooklyn, I was overcome with a moment of happiness when I realized I knew exactly where I was – at the same subway stop I had first walked out of when I was there back in October. I walked straight to my favorite bagel place where I got a bagel and coffee and walked out to flurries of snow everywhere in the city I would soon find out whether or not I would be calling home.
As it turned out, I didn’t get the job- which was both a bit of a bummer and a relief. Of course it would have been amazing to have worked for this organization, but now I had three weeks in NYC to get to know the city and think a bit more about my next steps. Now that I am back in Portland I am still thinking about these steps, and it is still hard for me to justify leaving my comfort zone. Whether it’s New York City in the next few months or somewhere completely different sometime in the future, I now know that I am more capable of being somewhere totally new than I thought I was. And that stepping into something unknown and scary will teach me more about myself than I can imagine.
I used to think being brave meant doing something big and cinematic and heroic, but after this trip, I realize sometimes taking those smaller steps that take us out of our comfort zone and help us grow can be just as brave. Doing things that might not make big changes in the moment but make you feel more confident in knowing that you could take it on if it comes your way again feels incredible! So I would love to encourage all of you guys to embrace the things that might scare you and do something that takes you out of being comfortable; go do that thing that seems so big and unknown that you’ve been wanting to try for a long time but have talked yourself out of many times. You’ll be surprised at what you learn about yourself and others.