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  • I knew I made it when I saw the lights of Seattle again. By "made it" I mean that moment when you achieve something major in life and realize that you might just be OK. Although I don't ever permanently feel like I will be OK, when it comes to my career, it was am important moment to have experienced in my early twenties.

    I had visited Seattle the year before to simply explore the place. It wasn't on the itinerary of my west Canada vacation, but after Vancouver I just knew that the trip should not end there. So I took the bus down from Canada. Ever since I was very young and learned about Seattle and saw the photos, I had this feeling that I would love the place. And I did. It was big enough to feel entertaining after the hustle of NYC but calm enough to feel safe. The climate was mild, the weather was amazing that summer and the food was delicious.

    At the time of my first visit to Seattle I was at my first job out of college so understandably, my salary was pretty low, so the whole trip was pretty minimal. I stayed in some cheap hotel far from the excitement, but the city is pretty walkable (maybe that's why I liked it so much) so I was able to walk to the famous landmarks and see a lot in a short time. I also got a last minute tour that took a small group of us around the city and up on Queen Anne Hill overlooking Seattle where I snapped a quick skyline photo.

    Watching the sun set over the hills and Mt. Rainier and seeing the Space Needle light up at night just felt right. On my last of 2 short nights in Seattle I was hesitant to leave as it felt like I had unfinished business and that there was much more to see. I decided to splurge and have a nice dinner. After getting some local recommendations I ended up in a fancy and delicious seafood restaurant that happened to have a nice hotel above it. Little did I know, in just 11 months I will be staying in the hotel above.

    The next year was a whirlwind where I had left my first job for something more versatile and better paying, but ended up in a bait and switch situation with an awful recruiting firm at a job I despised with all my soul. After 4 months I was going to quit with no other job lined up. This was a major decision and a huge risk as I was about to move into my own place for the first time and had rent to pay. Then I remembered an amazing interview I had months ago with a great ad agency that ended up hiring someone internally at the time. I made a phone call and as though it was meant to be, I ended up signing a contract with them within a week. The company's main office turns out, was based out of Seattle. The team I was hired for made an annual trip there for a mini internal conference and knowledge sharing session that lasted about 3-4 days.

    I could not contain my excitement as I boarded the plane to fly somewhere for the first time that was not for vacation or to see family. Here I was at age 23 with an amazing job at a great company flying on a business trip to Seattle. This was a big deal for a girl that went to college locally and never experienced being away before. It was a big deal to a shy girl who had just transformed herself the year earlier and was beginning to feel mature but relaxed for the first time. I felt like a kid who was allowed to do something grown-up for the first time. I was always a few years behind most of my friends when it came to life experiences but that was suddenly OK now and I was catching up.

    As the plane approached Seattle I felt free and excited and wanted to do all the things I didn't get to on my last trip. I was going to make this one count. By the time I arrived in the city and I got out of the cab that night, I realized that this was the same hotel where I had my last Seattle dinner 11 months earlier. When I checked into the room I did two things for the first time in my life, I put on one of those luxurious robes that they don't have in less fancy hotels and I ordered room service. I just sat there by the giant window of my hotel room eating my dinner while wearing the robe. I stared out into the amazing view of the night lights of Seattle and the Space Needle. That's when I knew that I made it.

    Week 10 of 52 - Story a Week in 2014
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