In January of 2021 after spending New Years Eve in Miami Beach, I decided it was time to leave New York City. Prior to that I had spend nearly 6 months in isolation in my 5th floor walkup apartment in Harlem. I, along with everyone else in New York City were at the epicenter when the pandemic hit and that was an extremely anxiety ridden and nerve wracking time. I vaguely remember begging my mother for medication to help with my anxiety (she’s a nurse and of course refused). I double gloved up to make the trek to the grocery store once every month. There was never any toilet paper and my mom had to send me some from North Carolina. All cleaning products were no less than $50 on Amazon. I left my packages outside my door for a full day before touching them. The sound of ambulances and firetrucks, which are already the unofficial soundtrack of New York City, quadrupled during those months. Every day and every night sirens blared through the streets. It all got to be too much for me and being alone probably made it worse. I’ve always been a home body and a bit of a workaholic so isolation was a welcome reprieve from society for me. I dove head first into my work creating content and really challenging myself with being innovative. That kept me pretty busy for a few months but being in isolation alone for that long, made me realize a few things about life and the kind of life I wanted for myself. My life in New York wasn’t it.
New York Made Me
Being from a small town in North Carolina, I always dreamt of leaving. I always wanted to know where that long road at the end of the block went. I wanted excitement and adventure and I found all those things when I came to New York City for graduate school. I made it through. I partied with my friends at Club Mars 2112. I dated a bouncer who’d pick me up from class in his Hummer. I thought about piercing my eyebrow and only wore black nail polish for a year. I leaned wit it rocked wit it at Eugenes and ordered $20 cocktails at 40/40. I did New York City and I did it right. I made it and by that I mean I survived it. I survived with a minimum wage job while putting myself through graduate school. I made it through school and got a well paying job. I made it 14+ years in New York and I gained more heart and more hustle than I ever would have if it were anywhere else. The connections I made during my decade and some change are what made it possible for me to make it any where. It’s cliche AF but if you can make it in New York, you are set for life.
Peace & Quiet
There was no peace or quiet during isolation. In fact the moment I started getting serious about my YouTube Channel, the more I realized there is no peace or quiet at all in New York City. My ears have gotten sensitive and my patience thinner with age. I can always tune it out when it’s time to sleep. I can always increase the volume on the television to drown out the bass rumbling the apartment building from a rattling car on the street or the sirens or the couple arguing over God knows what. But when it’s time to film and you’ve spent an hour doing your makeup and hair and then all you hear is Bachata from your neighbor blasting through the walls, it’s enough to make you want to scream. No shade against Bachata but at 9 am…it’s a no for me. I literally had to wake up before the sunrise and film in near darkness in order to have a little peace because after 11am fuggetaboutit, nothings getting done. What I realized from every trip I took to Miami is that I could film in peace, at any time of day. I often wondered if people ever got sick, or if there were ever fires in Miami because I couldn’t recall ever hearing a siren. Even the busiest streets in Miami are still relatively quiet. I had forgotten what peace felt like. What it felt like to not hear sirens all night and all day. The older I’ve gotten the more I enjoy the quiet. I’d wake up at 6:30am and from my balcony at East Miami Hotel, I’d watch the sun rise over the water and it’d be so quiet I could almost hear it. I’d gotten to the point that I could no longer ignore the noise that in New York City. That noise can penetrate you and keep you on edge. It’s a good place to be when you’re hungry to make it, but it’s never-ending background static if you’re trying to be still.
Welcome to the Good Life
I packed up my bags and moved to Miami Beach in February 2021. I got an apartment on the beach with a balcony and my very own palm tree that I aptly named Palmela. There’s just something about seeing a palm tree swaying in the wind against a bright blue crystal clear sky that makes me exhale in This is the Good Life. Not only did I have outdoor space but a dishwasher and ceiling fans in every room! It was the amenities for me and it was way cheaper than anything you’d find in New York City. I was a mere 10 minute walk to the beach and had the best restaurants and shops at my fingertips. Not to mention the amazing weather and lower cost of living (at that time). I relished every moment of the 6 months that I lived in Miami Beach. I loved going to the beach everyday and sitting in the sun, listening to the ocean and just being grateful to be alive. During all that time, I never went back to New York City, even though I’d kept my Harlem apartment. There I was at the beach in a 2 piece bikini while it was snowing, grey and miserable in New York City.
All About the Benjamins
There are a lot of reasons why I moved from New York City to Miami Beach that include: a better quality of life, more amenities and space for my money, better weather, a more suitable work environment and did a mention better weather? After being in isolation with no outdoor space, I decided it was time for me to get some in case this every happened again. But the biggest reason is because it was the first time in my adult life that I truly saw how people in another major city lived and how it was so much better, so much cleaner, so much nicer than the way I was living in New York City. I mean you can literally look at the streets of Miami Beach and see where those tax dollars are going. I’ve never seen a city so clean! You can eat off the sidewalk because best believe someone power wash cleaned them that morning. I get it, it’s a beach town and tourism is huge so it has to be clean but so is New York City! Oh and speaking of taxes, that’s another big reason I moved too! Let’s not kid ourselves here. I’m trying to make my money generational money. And if it’s one thing New York is going to do, it’s tax you…3 times. BUT FOR WHY?!? The trains are still dirty, and rarely in working order and a rat just hoped down the subway stairs on it’s tail like a kangaroo. I swear, I’ve seen a rat do that!
I did my time ladies and gents and paid my dues…quite literally. I’m always going to love New York and that’s why it’ll always have a special place in my heart. I’m thankful for the connections I’ve made that have enabled me to work from anywhere. I’m grateful for the friends who became family who wouldn’t hesitate to book an $80 flight from JFK to come chill in the Miami sun with me. But I gotta put me first! And right about now Miami Beach is that girl. Don’t worry, I’ll be back and forth between Harlem and Miami Beach but for tax purposes, I live in Miami now. LOL. Love you…mean it.