Concrete Jungle where dreams are made of

A few weeks ago, I flew home to northern California to visit family. I’m not totally sure why I booked the last-minute plane ticket, and when a family member asked me, “What was the purpose of you coming home?” (as if everything, even trips, needs justification), I said, “I have no idea. I simply needed to get out of the nation’s capital.”

Though I had no answer for him, I had an awesome time at the house. One morning, my mom took me out to our favorite breakfast joint, The Heavenly Cafe, a secret roadside treasure in Scotts Valley. After ordering two waters and a dark roast coffee pot for the table, I complained to my mom that D.C. was a stifling environment in serious need of creativity and color.

“At least California has character,” I told her. “D.C. is the most sanitized place in the world. There’s no soul, no passion, no personality to that awful part of the country.”

“You said that already,” she replied. “Laura, I understand you’re not a fan of D.C., but I’m tired of hearing the same complaints every time we talk. If you want to be in a more interesting spot, move. Regardless, I am done with these complaints about D.C.”

Then she quoted her late father Lenny, a strong-willed New Jersey native.

“As my dad used to say, ‘shit or get off the pot’,” she said.

Most of you don’t know my mother, but she’s basically a saint. If you’re upset about something, she’ll sympathize with you to the extent necessary and provide you with solutions rather than criticism. She’s your classic Jewish mother: Every time she sees you, she worries you haven’t been eating enough, and she’ll do anything to keep you comfortable. My mom is as patient as they come, so her frank response caught me off guard.

“You’re right,” I said.

“If you want to move elsewhere, by all means do it, but stop recycling the same complaints for each conversation we have.”

In truth, my mom wasn’t the only one sick of my repeated gripes. I’d whined to people I barely knew, strangers in coffee shops, acquaintances, friends, everyone. Let me tell you, that’s no way to be popular! I’d grown tired of my own complaining, which was getting me nowhere, so I decided to make some changes in my life. Though I loved my co-workers and position at The Daily Caller, I knew the nation’s capital was no longer the right place for me to live, so I reached out to my NYC contacts about journalism jobs in the area.

A month earlier, I’d stumbled upon a phenomenal article about redheads on The Huffington Post and recognized the author as a friend of a friend. I recalled having a phone conversation with the author two years earlier, when I’d been a college junior and she was working for The Times. She’d given me journalism advice back then, so I contacted her again about New York City writing positions. Katie put me in touch with The Levo (League), a  new online women’s site that aims to be a safe haven and go-to guide for young professional women, so I immediately got in touch with the lovely entrepreneurial gals behind that.

As soon as I saw the website, I fell in love with The Levo (League), which seems to be the only place on the Internet that specifically focuses on young professional females (PYPs, “pretty young professionals”) and booked a train to New York City for the interview. As I’ve said a million times, I’ve wanted to live in NYC ever since I graduated college. I came to DC instead because of all my contacts and friends there. As much as I love my social life and connections in DC, I’ve known this whole time that I should be in a more creative, cosmopolitan environment, and NYC is just that. To me, DC was a safe selection, and we all know the right risks make life worthwhile.

I traveled to NYC on Tuesday and got a feel for the city before heading up to the website’s office. The restaurants are great, passersby interesting, and atmosphere open and relaxing. I’m also quite fond of the L(L) team, so I knew the job was perfect for me. The site even published my first article, which explores the differences and disconnect between graduate students and PYPs.

That day, we got our hair and make-up done for L(L) photographs and one of the founders said, “Laura, this morning you hopped on a train, arrived in New York City, got a new writing job, and participated in a photoshoot.”

“Only in New York City could all of that happen in one day,” I said, beyond thrilled about working for L(L).

“Where do you live now?” asked the male photographer, who had just been informed that I’d accepted my position.

“The D.C. area.”

“Ew! That’s where I’m from, it sucks and there’s nothing to do,” he said.

Alas, we bonded over mutual D.C. hatred for another ten minutes. To be fair, I don’t actually hate D.C. There are plenty of exciting things to do in the area, but it’s no New York. I should have gone straight to New York after college, but I was afraid to go somewhere with no friends and few career contacts. Day by day, I regretted my choice and wondered what my dad, a former NYC cab driver and city dweller, would tell me to do. But when the L(L) opportunity came around, I informed Nikki, who had listened to me talk about NYC all summer. She was excited to hear I would finally make the move up there.

Here’s to new adventures, writing on topics about which I’m most passionate, helping PYPs navigate the professional world, phenomenal new colleagues, hopefully an awesome new wardrobe, and incredible experiences ahead.

This is a photo of me soon after I received the amazing news that I’d been invited to join L(L). My excitement is clear, and while I’m certainly nervous about relocating, I know this is the best decision I have ever made:


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