Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Big City Dreams

One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years— Thomas Wolfe

I've been to New York several times. At one point my mom and I tried to make it an annual thing, but our lives got busy with other things. Mike and I even visited the Big Apple for our anniversary last year. For most of middle school and all of high school (and to this day) a postcard adorned with the Statue of Liberty was wedged into the frame of the full length mirror on the back of my bedroom door (next to a photograph of a goldfish I'd won at the fair and managed to keep alive for 9 whole months - miss you, Stan!). In a former life I wanted to move to New York, attend Julliard and perform on Broadway. Quite different from the reality of moving to Oklahoma to study Meteorology. One might even say the exact opposite!

I spent the last weekend of April 2012 in New York City with a totally new agenda: focus on my big goals and big dreams in a room full of like-minded and equally-motivated people with New York City as our backdrop. This all started sometime last year when I started following Jenny Blake's blog, Life After College. Next, I purchased her book, Life After College. Then I took her course about attacking your "big, hairy, scary goals," or "BSHGs," called Make Sh*t Happen (MSH). Due to demand and her own love of helping people, Jenny planned a "Weekend of Genius" for MSH alumni in NYC , where she now lives after quitting Google to pursue her own dreams. That's how I ended up in a room full of 15 other ambitious young people ready to support and be supported by other awesome people. 

I flew in on Friday night. Coincidentally, another girl from San Antonio, had taken the course and was coming to the Weekend of Genius. We made plans to share a hotel room and met at LaGuardia late Friday night. We took a cab to the hotel and made plans to go for a run in Central Park the next morning. 

It was much chillier in NYC Saturday morning than what I'd been used to in San Antonio. It was actually sort of refreshing to run with temps in the 40s rather than the 90s I was used to in Texas. We ran 5.5 miles before cleaning up and heading to the meeting space.
The morning was spend introducing ourselves, sharing our goals, and working in pairs doing some brainstorming. I met some really great people with really awesome and inspiring goals! Several of us had lunch together at the venue where we had the meeting, where we got to know each other a little bit better. It's strange how you can meet a roomful of strangers and feel like you've known them forever, but that's how I felt with this group. There was so much positive energy. It was amazing! 
Enjoying lunch on the patio! It was a bit chilly, but the sun was great!
During the afternoon, we did some more brainstorming exercises and helped each other dig deeper into our goals. That evening we all went to dinner (at 9:30pm!) at Almond. It had really good french food. I had salmon and it was delicious. After dinner, Lora and I walked 30 blocks back to the hotel. We stopped for a Starbucks drink on the way. It's surprisingly hard to find a Starbucks open late in the city that never sleeps! 

So although Saturday was sort of the "meat and potatoes" of the Weekend Genius, it turned out that Sunday was what really sealed the deal for me. Lora and I walked to Chelsea Piers where we met up with most of the group for lunch in the park. It was a bit windy and still a little chilly, but we were out in the sun enjoying each other's company. 
Jenny's NYC friends met up with us. They are so cool and doing such inspiring things! Again, the energy was just awesome. Jenny is a certified Yoga instructor. She and her friend, Mike, are quite good at what's called "Acroyoga." It's the coolest thing! 
Jenny lifting Lora
Jenny lifts a random girl who rode her bike to the pier and asked what we were doing.
Acroyoga can be done with 3!
In the end, even I gave it a try! It was so awesome and not that hard at all!
I had such a great time in NYC and it was so amazing to meet all these people doing great things. We're staying connected through a Facebook group where people can share their accomplishments with an audience they know will cheer them on. I can't wait to get together with this amazing group of people again soon! I'm ready for Weekend of Genius 2!

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