Well, for starters my name is Natalie. What follows is a bit more complex and even at 31 years old, I am still figuring that out. Somedays I feel as though I am spinning my wheels in anticipation of what this life holds for me and the adventures of what is to come. I am not a patient person. I am a dreamer and impulsive. My partner, Liam, keeps my grounded. He is always reminding me to be present as we work together to make our dreams a reality and that the things worth having take time to carefully piece together.
Let me rewind. I grew up in Louisville, KY. I lived the American Dream. I had 2 loving parents who were present in my life and an older sister who was drastically different than me. My sister is the creative and artistic one who loved to stay home and read countless books. I was the social butterfly who always had serious FOMO and wasted many precious years seeking self worth from others and validation from how many “friends” I had. As I’ve gotten older, my circle has shrunk and only those who add value and bring peace are allowed to remain here.
I went to school in Kentucky. I grew up in the same part of town, with the same friends, who I would later part ways with. I graduated high school and went on to college where I aimlessly spent time trying to figure out wtf I was doing there. After spending 5 years in college and a shitload of money, I figured I would spend another shitload of money on getting my MBA. I mean, what 23 year old doesn’t have $50,000 just sitting around? Jk.
Side note and moment to rant. Has anybody else noticed how Universities in this country love take advantage of us? In fact, colleges here thrive off of the uncertainty of the recent high school graduates who are sent off at the age of 18 to embark down this lonely and confusing road of “figuring it all out” while simultaneously racking up enormous amounts of college debt. It’s criminal how expensive it is to become educated in this country… but that’s a blog post for another day.
Look. I do not regret my degrees. It was important during that transition of my life and in many ways, formed me into the person I am today. Sadly, however, I hadn’t taken the time to figure out my passions. I am a huge advocate for education, but I think everyone should take time to mature before entering into a world of debt the minute they become an adult. Again, an entirely different blog post.
Moving on. After grad school, I impulsively moved to NYC with my dog and 2 suitcases. We moved into a little walkup apartment in Kips Bay (aka frat town) with a girl I met on Craigslist who would later become my best friend in NYC. We have since parted ways, but memories spent in that apartment that sat above a diner will always remain near and dear to my heart… minus the mice and roaches. Those memories can go away.
Prior to moving to NYC, I worked 3 jobs while going to school and managed to save $25,000 in a year; money that would later be thrown away on rent and my social life. Holy crap is it expensive there. Anyway, I didn’t have a game plan when I moved to NYC. I worked some temp jobs to help pay the bills. I was about to accept a full-time position at a jewelry buying company when I received an offer to work for Late Show with David Letterman. I turned down the job that wanted to pay me decent money and offer benefits and shit for an opportunity to work for David Letterman even though it would only pay for a fraction of my rent. So I said goodbye to my savings account. Was it worth it? YES. Working for David Letterman was insanely cool and so much fun. That is until he retired and my savings ran out.
I lived in NYC for 2 more years after the end of Late Show. I moved a lot during my time in NYC. I was afraid of commitment and feeling “stuck”. This is something I am still dealing with and trying to sort through this with my therapist. OMG, you go to therapy? Yes. Occassionally. You probably should too. We all have our shit and can benefit from it. I am deeply curious about why I react to certain things the way I do and am completely receptive to finding ways to deal with my demons. Anyway… we can discuss that another day.
Where was I? Ah, yes. Queen of subletting. I moved 9 times in 3 years. Some apartments were shit holes and infested with roaches and mice; other apartments were in luxury, high-rise buildings. I wanted to experience everything and get a feel for what I liked and what I did not like. I lived with many, many roommates; most of which I met on Craigslist. Some were super cool and others were weird as f@#k. For the record, I’m trying to find my voice on here and personally figuring out how much cursing I feel is appropriate for this blog. For now, I’m cool with shit.
Living in NYC taught me a lot. It gave me thick skin and showed me how quickly money comes and goes. It taught me how hard work can pay off. Do you think working 3 jobs while maintaining a 3.95 GPA through grad school was easy? NOPE. I worked so hard! But it was worth it. NYC was where I would later fall in love with yoga and develop a strong desire to travel.
So I moved home in July of 2016. Living in NYC had come to an end. I loved NYC, but if I wanted to travel, I couldn’t stay. The job I had at the time only permitted 10 vacation days a year and those were spent traveling to KY to visit my family and friends. Plus, I had to factor my dog into the equation, and I don’t trust anyone who isn’t family to take care of her.
Fast forward to July 2017. After multiple failed attempts to plan a trip with a roommate from NYC, I decided to go on my own. I booked a roundtrip flight to Ireland and went alone. This trip would later lead me to travel to Spain, England, and the Netherlands on my own. Traveling solo was empowering, and I encourage every single woman to do it at least once. I never thought I could travel to 4 countries by myself, but I tucked away anxiety, swallowed a Xanax, and forced myself to get on that plane.
Here I am today, sitting here composing this blog for you. I don’t know why I feel a need to share this much about me, but I feel I have a story that should be told. I am figuring out a lot of shit right now. I have a loving boyfriend who shares similar dreams and aspirations as I do. I have a good job that affords me the flexibility to work 4 days from home. I have wonderful friends and family. I am very lucky. But something is missing. My heart longs for freedom and a life of adventure and travel. This is why I plan to retire by 35. I’m not kidding either. More to come on that.
My earlier years were spent following a more traditional path, but as I matured, I found myself going off the beaten path a little more. I do not want to be like anybody else. Most of the people I see are pretty basic and boring. The most monumental experiences in my life were not created by following other people or settling to do what made me comfortable. No. The most impactful moments in my life have been those that have challenged me and forced me to get out of my comfort zone.
Take this blog for example. Do you think it’s easy to write about myself and attempt to paint a picture of my life in a few short words? No. This post only paints a small portion of who I am and makes me incredibly uncomfortable. But it needs to be written. I had a yoga instructor who once told me, “you must learn to find comfort in discomfort”. Those word have never left. And it is with those words that I will wrap up this blog.
Thank you for reading. Until next time 🙂
Also, if you love food as much as I do, please check out some of my recipes.