Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made

The idea of moving to New York City to pursue a dream seems incredibly exciting. And it is. I moved here to first pursue a marriage relationship with my then-fiancé, who had built for himself both a successful finance career and deep church community. I struggled with leaving my own job and amazing community in Knoxville, but decided to take the risk and give all that up, knowing if I didn’t ever take action to chase my magazine dream in NYC, I would always wonder what might have been.

But the reality of living here can also be really disheartening. I’ve been living right across the river from this city of dreams (and magazines) since last July, and it seems I am no closer to landing a magazine job now than I was 9 months ago. The reality is, this industry is hard to break into. Connections and previous impressive, big name internships are absolutely everything in the magazine world. I have 3 months intern experience at Philly Mag from over 3 years ago. I’m willing to bet that’s not quite enough here.

To be fair, I’ve spent most of the last year of my life planning a wedding, so my attentions were always divided.  When I was planning, I felt guilty about not job hunting, and guilty about planning when I was hunting.  So with the wedding over and having settled two months in to married life, I was finally diligent on the job hunt in March.  I had a friend in HR polish my resume, and I sent out about 30 applications.  I applied mainly for Editorial Assistant (entry-level publishing) jobs, but some admin ones too, which feels somewhat like an act of desperation.  Of course I have managed to receive multiple calls back from recruiters for paper-pushing admin jobs, but nothing remotely creative. Every time I’ve gotten a call about those jobs, the struggle has gotten harder. I know pure admin tasks are a death sentence for my creative hopes, but the money is good, and very tempting.

I was recently about to take some skills tests before going into an interview for a well-paying admin position at an accounting-related company, tempted by the openly advertised potential salary. Thankfully, I read a phenomenal blog post written by my friend Paul which reignited the fire in my soul to pursue a career which fits my calling, not just pays the bills. I contacted the recruiter and thanked her for the opportunity, but told her that I was going to have to pass on this one. I am not the personality type that can work a “dead-end” mindless job and pursue creative endeavors on the side. Doing menial tasks I don’t see purpose in leaves me drained and frustrated.

I’m hoping April might hold some call backs from the editorial world. But what if it doesn’t? I have been wrestling with the idea that God doesn’t promise us that He will make our dreams come true. I do believe that He will give us the desires of our hearts in accordance with His will (see Psalm 37:4). I believe He delights in artistic expression and creation, because in that act, I am reflecting Him. God and I have recently been having conversations about this, and I could swear I hear Him telling me that in this season, I should focus on writing. Which is clearly the purpose of this blog. But it’s hard sometimes not to feel like a failure when the thing you are most passionate about and believe you are most gifted with isn’t bringing home a paycheck.

Sometimes it seems like the city is taunting me, being so physically close but still untouchable. So I’m living in this place of both frustration and hope. I realize I’ve only been back to pouring my energy into the job hunt for about a month or so. I need to be patient. But I have been wondering… if this dream is never fulfilled, can I be ok with that? Can I accept that God’s time line and plans for me, whatever they are, really are better than my own? What unfulfilled dreams are you struggling with? How will you feel and what will you do if you never see them come to pass?

14 thoughts on “Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made

  1. Hey Friend!

    What a post to read. I’m struggling with similar things right now and to read

    “I do believe that He will give us the desires of our hearts in accordance with His will (see Psalm 37:4). I believe He delights in artistic expression and creation, because in that act, I am reflecting Him”

    Is refreshing and hopeful. My dream right now of Symply Social taking off just isn’t happening the way that I’ve wanted it to. Combine that with the fact that my degree’s been delayed–it makes for a frustrating stage to be in.

    But ultimately, as I’ve been talking with people, I’ve found that I know my job, no matter where, no matter what, will provide me with happiness–there’s something deeper than posting status updates for people. There’s something deeper than chasing fame and renown. There’s a deep calling and I still haven’t figured out what it is. I want that calling and I want to be able to strike out, bride alongside me, and live life adventurously. Neither of us seem to be content with jobs at the moment. I know for both of us, we’re biding our time. We’re waiting for life to become the adventure we’ve always read about and to allow us the opportunities we’ve always wanted.

    Know that you aren’t alone. Waiting for the Creator to usher his perfect plan in can be frustrating.

    You are loved and cared for


    1. Thanks so much for your thoughts Aaron. It is so good to reminded that we are not alone on this journey. I am excited to see what happens with Symply Social and you and Ashley on a grander scheme 🙂

      All, on Monday night I was encouraged by this in prayer:

      Psalm 130 (The Message)
      “I pray to God – my life a prayer –
      and wait for what he’ll say and do.
      My life’s on the line before God, my Lord,
      waiting and watching till morning,
      waiting and watching till morning…”

      from Romans 8 (The Message)
      “…This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike, ‘What’s next Papa?'”

  2. I feel you, sister! I’m having the same conversation with Him now. In the meantime, my wedding planning satisfies my creative side while working a largely administrative job… but that will be up in 3ish months!

    1. Your creative side being poured into your wedding is going to be one of the sweetest, most creative, beautiful labors of love ever. I mean it when I say I absolutely can’t wait to see pictures and read your post-wedding thoughts about the whole thing 🙂

  3. We … should chat.

    I moved here for my dreams of being a PAID performer and have been here a little over a year now. Unfortunately, if you looked at my artistic resume, you’d see that the only thing I’ve added to it in the past year is a student film and singing on worship team at HG.

    I’ve also had to come to terms with the fact that me being paid for what I believe I’m most highly gifted in (singing, acting, etc), and ONLY for those things – no day jobs – is in the land of Far Far Away (little Shrek reference for ya). It may never even happen completely. And that is really detrimental to my motivation. I think so often we focus on what we haven’t done yet and how the world tells us we should have done them already, and then some. In reality, it’s still very possible for you and I to achieve those dreams, it just may not be on the timeline we thought we’d be following.

    I think the thing that keeps me at least focussed on the good is doing one thing a day toward the career I want. Just one thing. That might be as simple as looking for auditions for an hour, printing business cards, or learning a new song for auditions. As long as I’ve done one thing a day, that’s 365 things I did for my career at the end of the year. Even if you don’t see the results on a resume I still did them.

    In any case, the point of this novel I just wrote you is that you are most definately not alone in this quarter-life crisis.

    Also, we should double date sometime. Just sayin. 😉

    Dana T.

    1. Dana,

      Thank you, thank you, thank you for replying. So glad I ran into you on the street the day I posted this. I’m fairly sure I don’t know nearly enough “starving artist” types here on this side of the Hudson 🙂 We should most definitely do coffee ASAP and double date soon. And for the record, when I hear you sing on Sundays, my soul lights up. That doesn’t happen with everyone – God has blessed you with some serious pipes to glorify Him!

  4. Love this. Love that I’m not in this alone. (just saying) *grins*
    “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” -Isaiah 30:21

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