I spent a lot of time believing that I would be happier when _________. When I paid off my student loan. When I left Bremerton. When I found a new job. Whatever.

I wasn’t making myself happy today. I was waiting to some milestone that wouldn’t really change my mindset. But those were benchmarks, not a life change. I’d find myself in that moment that I was anticipating and realize I felt exactly the same. Where was that flood of happiness I was waiting for? I’d set a new goal.

Then one day I got it. I got what yoga teachers and my therapist and Survivor were talking about. Life is more fulfilling when you live for the right now.

I’ve fully embraced the idea of living life big. I don’t want to put off until tomorrow the joy I could have today. What’s to wait for? OK, yes, the bank account can’t always keep up with the wish list. But at the end of my life, I’d rather regret what I did do than what I didn’t try.

I know my time in New York is limited. I really can’t afford to live here forever. And frankly, there are other cities I haven’t lived in yet and they deserve some Candace-time, too.

But from the day I arrived until the minute I leave, I’m proud that I breathed in as much New York in as possible. I even drank a mouthful of the Hudson River. Not even when I was living with a crazy roommate and sweating out a 90-degree apartment, did I ever said to myself, “I’ll be happier when I move somewhere else.”

But it’s not about New York. I could feel this way anywhere because I’ve changed me. Not just my address.

New York is a magical place for me. It’s inspiring and difficult and empowering and challenging. I’m so glad I got to experience all I’ve experienced here. And I can’t wait to see what’s next.

I was trying to think of my 10 most-memorable moments in New York. Here’s what pops into my mind.

1. Hurricane Sandy (more specifically the aftermath).

2. Winning Book of Mormon tickets.

3. Taking surfing lessons.

4. My roommates. Good and bad.

5. Bobsledding and related events.

6. Various mishaps that landed me in the emergency room.

7. Show tapings and high-fiving Stephen Colbert.

8. Yoga in Times Square.

9. Little visitors.

10. Ridiculously fun fitness classes.

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