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I'm Jena

I remember the first time I saw the New York skyline. 

I was a freshman in college and my new friend and I had decided to take a University-sponsored bus in to the city to see The Phantom of the Opera. Being the Broadway junkie that I was, I was giddy and nervous and I’m pretty sure I teared up on the way into the city.  It was something my musical nerd friends and I talked about for years – New York. And here I was getting to experience it.  It’s exhilarating – the first time you step foot in the Big Apple.  

I remember what I was wearing. Where we sat in the show.  How we fumbled around Times Square. I assumed that’s how all New Yorkers lived. Crazed and congested.

Then, that was My New York.

And so we met again when I interned for an investment bank. It was summer. And there were rooftop parties, intern bars, new friendships and big girl jobs.  Lots of money and status – none of which I had.  The West Village was where I called home. I saw celebrities for the first time – Heidi Klum, Cameron Diaz and Julia Roberts to name a few.  I think we went to the Frying Pan.  And Brass Monkey.  Perhaps all in the same day.  The Jane also made an appearance.  The Patriot was where I went barefoot (don’t do it) and frozen yogurt bars became my sustenance.  And just as quickly as I came, I had to kiss New York goodbye saying, “I’ll be back again.”   

Then, that was My New York.

Offer letters came, the uHaul was packed and off I went again to chase a dream I couldn’t quite envision.  I just knew that I liked the chase.  New York was a given, the only place I knew in my quest for success. (Though if I was honest, my heart always belonged in the South). I was hopeful for the new chapter, but realized quite quickly that New York had it in for me.  But I’m nothing special. New York really has it in for everyone.  I worked a 100 hours a week, was a slave to my Blackberry and unleashed a nasty eating disorder.  Hurricane Sandy wrecked my neighborhood, my roommate and I rarely saw each other – except if it was at the pub Ryan McGuires at midnight – and there were also a couple of heartbreaks splattered in there.  I’ve called this year The Lost Year.  That pretty much sums up who I was then = lost.

Then, that was My New York.

I’ve come to see that I needed that year. Because that year, set me up for the next best years of my life. At the bottom, I had to wrestle with my faith, make it my own and proactively seek out what God actually said about me and my life.  And as much as I complain about the city, I have New York to thank for that.

What better place to confront sin and grace and forgiveness? What better place to see redemption and community and faithfulness?  What better place to meet people who are all-in, sold-out and passionate about their calling and beliefs?

As I’m leaving and reflecting on the five year plan God had me on here, I’m realizing more and more that New York hasn’t been about the experience of New York.  It’s not been about working at the NYSE or joining a fast-growing startup. It’s not been about the accessibility of fine art and music and historic landmarks.  It’s not been about unleashing my inner foodie or attending star-studded galas.  

Because My New York has always been about the people.  


My New York was meeting my mentor who became a friend and is the person who most impacted my relationship with Jesus

My New York was the community I cultivated at church – the Tacky Prom parties and ski trips and hard truths and spontaneous trips. The pastor and his family welcomed me in as if I was one of their own.

My New York was randomly connecting with my roommate through Instagram, the perfect addition to make up the Tall Trifecta.  Her spunk and spirit and generous heart kept me crazed and sane all at the same time.

My New York was being the honorary 4th roommate at my gal pals’ apartment – drinking wine, having morning quiet times, laughing hysterically and chatting about relationships and Jesus and leaving New York. 

My New York was watching a work friendship blossom into a lifeline, someone who I’m already trying to recruit to move south.

My New York was Scandal nights with brie and Brad and people jam-packed into our miniature living room.

My New York was having a half-drunk, cigar smoking, yet kind doorman. And another doorman who I’ve really never understood what he said except for one time when he told me that God has a plan and that He is the priority. #goodstuff

My New York was a very special season with an amalgamation of misfits who all dispersed over the course of a year – off to do things like hike trails, teach students and make new friends.

My New York was going on dates with wonderful men who gave me hope post-college that guys do, in fact, have feelings.

My New York is having that new college friend who witnessed my first New York experience be, in a very poetic way, the very last New Yorker I see as I wave goodbye to all that.  Cue the sobs.


So New York, I thank you for my people.  For teaching me about true friendship and love.  For stripping me of my confidence to only build it back up on a more solid foundation.  For giving me the gift of the Gospel and all the people that exemplify it.

Until we meet again….

Goodbye, My New York.


Yes, I’m finally heading south. If you still would like to keep up with my journey post New York City – please sign up for my mailing list and check back here often.  I’m going to have a lot going on to keep you entertained!

Career

My New York: Goodbye to All That

June 26, 2017

  1. Alexis

    June 26th, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    How exciting! I hope you are blessed with a strong, wild, Jesus-loving community in Nashville just like you had in NY. Congrats to you on your new adventure and I can’t wait to read what God has in store for you!

  2. Jena Viviano

    June 26th, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Thanks so much! I’m pumped too – good things, I’m hoping! 🙂

  3. lauren

    June 26th, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Gave me goosebumps! Keep in touch lovely. XO : ) <3

  4. Jena Viviano

    June 26th, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Awe, so fun! Thanks – you too!

  5. Tailar

    June 26th, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Loved this! Found your blog a year ago through Robyn, who’s my nutritionist and role model, and I’ve loved reading it!! I’m moving to Nashville in 4 weeks, maybe I’ll see ya around! Good luck with your move!

  6. Jena Viviano

    June 26th, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Tailar! So great – she’s one of my very best friends 🙂 We should definitely meet up! Just shoot me an email when you arrive and we can arrange something! Good luck with the move!

  7. Micah

    June 26th, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    You are truly beautiful, my friend. NYC is losing one of its best. ❤️ Onward and upward. Xo

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recruit the employer

resources for your

Career

digital devotional

resume writing 101

freebie
my signature program

Word at work

digital devotional

Follow me on 

I'm here to make sure you become irresistible to recruiters and hiring managers. In an extremely competitive marketplace, I can show you how to take back control of the job search, become a stand-out candidate and ultimately land you your dream career. Oh, and I promise to make the process fun. Yes, fun.

I'm Jena