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Stephen Petrey

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So it’s 2018 now.

Kind of wild that we’re here. To be quite honest, I didn’t think we’d make it. But we did.

I haven’t written a retrospective post in a very long time. Probably two years or so? 2017 was — to say the very least, a shitshow. I have mixed feelings about the past year. Where shall I begin?

I had saved up money for the NYC move, while my girlfriend (@dumbcurator) was beginning her Master’s from Pratt. We just signed a lease for an apartment in Brooklyn. She was living in Bedstuy at the end of 2016. We tried doing the long-distance thing. It was very difficult. I do not recommend. In short, distance is the ultimate test. Ultimately, I decided to move to NYC. We’ve had lived together before back in Texas, so this was nothing new. What was new, was living in Brooklyn. What was even newer to me, was freelancing in a new state.

Moving from Texas to New York, was incredible. I had never lived in a city outside of Texas. It was eye-opening. Humbling, and tiring. Fascinating and oh-so different from the Lone Star State. I loved every minute of it. I continued freelancing well into March. There were lean times and fat times — and the lean times were hard.

When things weren’t particularly busy, I tried my hand in film production as a PA, took up photography (again) and began writing again. By proxy, I started a monthly email list too! Times were good! I have to say I enjoy the northeastern climate in the spring. In Texas, it’s really fucking hot 65% of the year. By my accounts, it’s really fucking hot 10% of the year in NYC. Not bad.

By May, Leah and I visited Texas. My brother Ryan (@rjptrey), graduated high school! Super excited for him and his endeavors. At this time, it felt really good coming back home to Texas to see the family and see some old friends. But my savings and client revenue were falling short — so I began my search for a job in the city. Everywhere I turned, agencies and companies were looking for a specialized Designer or Developer. I was beginning to get worried I would find myself pigeonholed.

But luckily, I found Grok. A small ad agency in Flatiron that operates like a lean start-up. They were looking for a Digital Handyman — an all-around designer of things. I climbed aboard in mid-May and work has been amazing. No shortage of things to do and problems to solve.

Oh yeah, and by June everyone at Grok were invited to NYSE for a client IPO. That shit was dope!

Apart from the ad-life I seemed to have taken on — there is no shortage of things to do in NYC. My favorite thing to do (weather permitting) is to do the Champagne River Tours. They can run a high price-tag but sometimes you can find some sweet deals.

Highly recommend. The boat tour comes with a glass of champagne and decently priced appetizers. A fully stocked bar, the views and dare say the tunes — all are just so worth it.

The upside of living in a popular travel destination is friends come here often 🙂 Even if it’s just for a day or two!

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a beach more than once a summer in my life — but between Coney Island, Rockaway and Connecticut I think we traveled to the beach more than 15 fifteen times in 2017. So many Texas friends came to town. Seriously, the homesickness can get real real. So it’s wonderful when the peeps come to town.

For Thanksgiving we went home to Texas just for a few days. Probably the shortest holiday I’ve ever done. But, A month later we decided to make a road trip South (instead of flying again) for Christmas. We stayed with some friends in Nashville on the way down and had some fantastic coffee 😍

“I look like I just woke up.” – @dumbcurator

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…and after Christmas with our families, we drove right back up North! Stayed at an cozy AirBnb to recharge. And hit the road again. In total, there-and-back-again, we drove over 3000miles. So much fun. We made it back to Brooklyn before a heavy snowstorm, and rang in the New Year from Brooklyn.

This past year was a mixed bag — but we had lots of fun along the way. Despite the ups-and-downs, the politics, and the horrendous presidential state of affairs in the US — looking back, we really tried to keep ourselves positive. You know what, it really helps. None of it would have been as fun or as easy, without my partner in crime, Leah. She’s a rockin’ dame and got some killer tattoos this past year!

In retrospect, I should’ve spent more time reflecting on how I got here. Up and moving to New York was not easy. Nor was it cheap. I seriously could not have moved here without the support of my family and friends. Sometimes I can hardly believe everything all worked out. To those of you that helped me along the way, I say thank you. I owe you so much. You know who you are ❤️

Let’s wrap this up… this year, I’m going to focus on just two things:

  1. Skill building and collaboration — something I definitely missed out on in 2017
  2. Fitness and running — I just need to get my butt moving more

Here’s looking at you 2018 😎

 

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