long island

A Wallet in Manhattan

I recently had my wallet stolen. 

Getting your wallet stolen is probably one of the worst feelings in the world. It’s the sudden panic knowing you have to cancel your cards, the fear of not remembering how much cash or what cards you had in your wallet, and the wondering if you’ll ever get it back. Unfortunately for me, I was not so lucky to get it back — which is a true disappointment because the wallet itself was sentimental (an old friend had brought it back from Spain, and it had a cat on the front of it). 

I was in New York City (when I say that, everyone goes “ohhh”) in a cute little coffee shop on 7th avenue. I sat down in the corner and pulled out my laptop, hoping to get some work done before an interview I had west of midtown. 

As I was drinking my chai latte, I saw a woman from across the shop, and she had a huge price tag sticking out of her dress. Her dress was brand new, and she was walking around Manhattan with the price showing, definitely an embarrassing start to the day. 

I had to get up to get a packet of sugar anyway, so I pulled her aside and let her know it wasn’t cut, and if she needed scissors. Obviously, she didn’t even thank me and her reply was curt (insert comment like *that’s New York for you*). 

Disappointed that I wasn’t greeted with a thank you, I sat down back at my seat and went to grab my headphones out of my purse. As I dug around (it’s often extremely messy and packed with things like nose spray and bobby pins) I noticed the headphones weren’t there. And then I noticed my wallet wasn’t there. After I did the quick maybe-it’s-in-here-somewhere, I knew it had been stolen. 

…..

After an hour of panicking while I called my credit card company and my bank, and waited for the NYPD to show up (which they did four hours later and then it couldn’t even be reported because I wasn’t there…not like it matters because the man was probably halfway to 242nd street) I sat and thought about how stupid I had been for leaving my bag alone for a second. I blame my Pennsylvania-ness, after all, you could probably leave your baby somewhere and no one would steal it (not that I would recommend doing that at all, it’s still against the law even if you are in the burbs). 

The worst part about getting my wallet stolen was that I wondered about the “what-ifs.” If I had caught an earlier subway, maybe he wouldn’t have stolen my wallet. If I didn’t choose that cafe, maybe it would have been more crowded and I wouldn’t have stuck out. What if he had taken more than just my wallet and instead, took my whole purse and laptop and phone?

It’s obvious that I learned my lesson that day, but I also learned that I really do believe in everything happens for a reason. Of course there are things that happen that we can’t control and that we wish we could control.  Everyone needs something to keep them moving onward. For some, it’s fate or destiny, for others it’s a higher being. I just believe somehow my life will fall on the course that I want it to go on, and eventually, I will reach what I’ve been trying to reach. Along the way, there’s been a lot of what-ifs. 

***

Three days after I got my wallet stolen, I got a phone call. 

It was a job offer for a small media company on Long Island. They were offering me a position to become their online and social media editor. I had two weeks to pack up my Pennsylvania things and head to New York, the state I had so desperately been trying to move to, permanently (and the same state that I unfortunately had to lose my wallet in).

I’ve been seeing that sometimes you just need to wait for that moment. There is a moment where things fall into place, the stars align, you see a rainbow — all the magical stuff that comes with following your dreams and not giving up. That’s the short WordPress version, minus all the picture-perfect memes that talk about struggling before succeeding, shooting for the stars — the mumbo jumbo you share on Instagram. 

So I’ve been learning not to dwell on the what-ifs. What-ifs cause anxiety, what-ifs make you feel lost. Focus on the now and wait for the future.

And never, ever leave your bag alone in New York City.

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