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A Year of Yes: Today, I’ve been back in New York City for a year

A year ago today, I moved back to New York after a couple of years away living and working in D.C. My time in D.C. was very valuable and though I thought about making it my home, there really was never any place for me except New York. The rhythm of this place, the opportunity and dreams it holds, and its energy are all the right match for me. What feels really good is that in this magical year, I learned for the very first time what it feels like to be home. Sometimes you have to go away to find out how much something means to you. I’ve left New York City multiple times, and I’ve always eventually come back.

What I love most about this city is that we’re all having a collective, individual experience. You get to have your New York and I get to have mine. They’re the same streets, the same subways, the same sky. But no two people have the same New York. Every inch of this city has seen someone fall in love, and someone have their heart broken. Every inch has seen the whole span of human emotions from happiness to anger, from hope and to despair. I used to tell people that I’ve lived most of my adult life in New York City. Now I tell them I’ve lived many lives in New York City.

I was coming home from a trip to Ireland last week, and there was a man from Dublin looking around JFK airport, wide-eyed and completely lost. I asked if I could help him navigate his way into the city, and he happily accepted the help. He said to me, “It’s always been my dream to come to New York.” I told him it was mine, too, and that it still is, every single day. And before we parted ways on the subway he thanked me for my help and said, “You’ve already made me love America.” For him, America is New York. And that’s true for me, too. I’m a New Yorker first, and an American second, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love this town with an unbridled, unrivaled passion. And as hard as some days are, I’m always grateful and fully aware of how fortunate I am to live here. Thank you to everyone who supported me and cheered me on as I made my way back here a year ago, and re-invented a new life for myself these past 12 months. I couldn’t have done it without you. Here’s to another year of discovery and transformation in our wondrous, turbulent city.

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