They say be careful what you wish for.
I say don’t be careful.
Wish out loud.
Walking along Bondi Beach at the end of 2016, I stopped in my tracks and turned to a friend.
“I want to be around dreamers”, I said.
In fact, I didn’t say it. I shouted it in frustration.
I didn’t know it at the time, but something was tugging at me. Something was pulling me back to a city I’d fallen in love with 23 years ago. A city with a heart-racing pulse, vibrancy and lots of chutzpah.
That sign in the subway was right. New York. It’s a calling.
Now I’m not exactly the first person to get the call. You could say I’m in pretty good company.
Sinatra’s vagabond shoes were longing to stray right through the very heart of it. Billy Joel took the Greyhound on the Hudson River line. And many others from David Bowie to Sting have said they feel most at home in this city.
Just like a few big names before me, New York was calling my name!
It’s just that I took a little while to answer.
I took my first bite of the Big Apple in 1995, at the end of a year-long backpacking trip. It was love at first sight. Yet, as I talk about in my backstory, I returned home to stay on script.
I didn’t heed the call.
My second visit was with an ex-boyfriend. We had 25 hours in the city. Not 24, I distinctly remember it being 25. (If everything can change in a New York minute, I wasn’t going to miss out on an extra hour!). He had to physically drag me out the city when it was time to leave.
Still, I didn’t heed the call.
Forward wind a bunch of years, just before I was getting on the plane to move to Australia. Someone I’d only just met looked me in the eye. “You don’t want to go to Australia do you? You want to go to New York”, he said. I lied to him and to myself and shook my head.
Still, I didn’t heed the call.
There were more visits over the years, but I’ll stop there. I think you get the point.
But here’s the truth about our calling. It doesn’t matter whether it’s big or small, whether it pivots our life in a whole new direction or just adds a little spice… those hunches and nudges don’t get silenced the more we ignore them.
On the contrary. They get louder, gain momentum and sometimes even take on a life of their own, beyond our conscious control.
Which brings me back to that day on Bondi Beach when those six words literally fell out my mouth: I. Want. To. Be. Around. Dreamers.
Because I kid you not, within two hours of uttering those words, I had a chance meeting with the Man from Boston. That person who walks into your life for a brief moment, for the purpose of stoking the sleeping embers of your dreams.
You see, there is nothing more powerful to rocket launch your dream than to hear someone else is living it. It’s like they’ve stolen something from you that you never really owned in the first place.
Sitting across the café table, he tells me he’s moving to New York (yes I know it’s not exactly a big trek from Boston, but still). And then, to add fuel to the fire, he tells me his age. My age.
You’re probably asking why this even matters? But it did matter. A lot. Because I’ve now realised some of the biggest obstacles on the road to our dreams are the false stories we make up along the way. My story was that I’d missed the boat to New York: people move there in their 20’s and 30’s, never their 40’s!
That conversation came at just the right time, with just enough velocity, that I finally heeded the call.
And here I am, writing this blog from my local café, around the corner from my New York apartment.
Of course, the journey to get here wasn’t quite so simple, but that’s for another time!
For now, I’ll end off with this:
If something is calling you, have a listen. A real listen. Or maybe you’ll get lucky and, like me, one day you’ll blurt something out loud that sets you on the path you were destined for all along.