The visa situation can be tricky. More than tricky, it is impossible. I can’t control the government but in ways, the government controls me. I knew my visa wouldn’t last forever but I never knew I would’ve ever wanted it to. I spent the latter half of 2016 and early 2017 wishing I could go home. I didn’t know that it was stability that I craved but all I knew was home was the closest thing to safety I could touch. Everything that could’ve gone wrong, went wrong…
I moved four different times in one year. That alone is completely unsettling, never mind it being in a foreign country where you have no one to call. I got caught up in a job that was like the highway to hell…literally. I was mentally battered and bruised, a million miles away from any sort of familiarity. I made friends and lost them again. I lost a job, I lost money and I lost time. I lost a lot of confidence and security. I lost myself a little too.
New York has seen my highest and lowest points to-date. These past 15 months have been euphoric, fast, thrilling and just an overall dream-like experience. In the worst days, I’ve cried all the tears I had in my body. I was scared, I was sad and very, very unhappy. But no matter how high or how low I was, I was always relentlessly persistent. For everything that crumbled around me, I managed to build it back up again, twice as high.
My life now resembles a little bit like how I imagined life in New York to look like. I have a good set up, as they say. But just as everything is finally coming together, my time has run out. I have been on the J-1 Trainee Visa which will see me through 18 months of time here in the US. Although it’s a very tricky visa to secure, its a great opportunity for anyone who wants to taste life in the US.
I’ve decided that I’m not done with this city and I’ve decided to make a proper go at staying here. It feels like the more difficult move but it feels like the right move. The visa process is tedious but I am so grateful to be in a position to apply to bide myself more time. It has taken me this long to actually get a hold of things for myself here and now I am finally ready to get started. I’m hungry for more. I’m starving.
And if it doesn’t work out? I’ll still be famished. Returning to Ireland is my second choice right this second but sometimes things don’t work out, even when you’ve given it your best shot. There are so many pros to living back in Ireland, just as much as there are here in Manhattan. They are just different types of pros but nonetheless, I would still value the opportunity that living back in Ireland would bring. I would just change my pros and keep my focus.
While I am waiting to see what my next move will be, I’ll continue to wade, stumble, skip and sprint throughout what could be my final months in New York. One thing I learned is that my success is not predicated on my zip code, my whereabouts or the culture I immerse myself in. My success is predicated on my ability to execute, my stamina and my heart, which all remain stagnant no matter what the environment or the timing may be. That, I know for sure.