You will be living on the East Coast for the next 24 years of your life. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, because at this moment you don’t even know which East Coast I am talking about. You’ve certainly heard about New York. You like Bon Jovi’s music, and you’ve probably heard that they’re from New Jersey. But I bet you’ve never heard anything about Connecticut, the state where you will spend the most of your lifetime.
1992. First stop: Brooklyn, NY. (In 2016, your son’s Facebook profile will proudly state that he was born there. Strangely enough, among local teenagers, Brooklyn is respectfully recognized as a “bad ass” birth town location.) Then, in six years, your second husband will move you to New Jersey. And then, after another eight years, you will be a “proud” resident of Constitution State, a.k.a. Connecticut.
I’ll explain to you about Facebook and the whole social media concept a little later, but for now, let me tell you about your happy life in New Jersey.
New Jersey will always have a special place in your heart. Just like when you’re at home, secure and happy, you will feel the same every time you see that “Welcome to the Garden State” sign on the Parkway. See, in New Jersey, we don’t say “Garden State Parkway”—we just say “Parkway.” We say we are going “to the Shore,” and everyone knows where we are going to the beach. Things are simple in New Jersey. We don’t even need to say the “New” – it’s just “Jersey.”
We cringe when someone says “Joisey.” We don’t talk like that. By the way, you will speak English with an adorable, very slight Russian (somehow mixed with English) accent. You want to know something really funny? You will even dream in both languages. When people ask you that silly question whether you dream in Russian or English, just tell them your dreams are BIG, and it doesn’t matter what language you speak in them.
In Jersey we define where we live based on turnpike (or parkway) exits. And by malls. Are you near Cherry Hill, Bridgewater, Palisades, Freehold Raceway or Short Hills? Short Hills Mall will be your favorite place to shop. This place has everything that excites you about the fashion world—elegant stores, beautiful shoes and clothing, designer jewelry and watches. Short Hills “lives and breathes” luxury. For an extensive period of time you will be obsessed with luxurious things. Eventually, you will realize that just owning THINGS does not make you happy, but your love of elegance and class will always be a signature part of your style.
Please don’t be ashamed to look dressier than people who prefer casual clothing. You are a fashionista! Wear your crown proudly. Don’t apologize for wearing high heels to a baseball game. Never apologize for your looks, but at the same time, don’t you dare to judge anyone who looks different than you. You will be loved just the way you are.
Every Jersey girl owns at least one Louis Vuitton pocketbook. You own several. Don’t get it twisted, girlfriend—it doesn’t make you a better person. BUT…it certainly will radiate a hell of a lot of confidence and style when you hold that beautiful shiny Louis clutch (the new 2016 model) at glamorous events or dinners. You are a classy, smart, funny and beautiful girl. Don’t be afraid to show it off, that Jersey style!
Jersey diners are the best IN THE WORLD! You can get your favorite Eggs Benedict 24/7 at any diner in Jersey. New Jersey diners are the institutional, cultural treasures of this state and should be treated like historical landmarks.
To this day it is unclear why New Jersey was named The Garden State.
“Agriculture is New Jersey’s third largest industry, behind pharmaceuticals and tourism, generating $65 billion a year…A full 806,000 acres, or 17 percent of the state, still comprises farmland, a designation that includes nurseries, vineyards and orchards, horse farms, and produce and livestock farms.”
Maybe that’s why. Still, if I could, I would change the words on local license plates to “The Bada Bing State” There is just so much culture and hidden meaning in that name.
“The Sopranos” will be your favorite show after “Breaking Bad.” This brilliant TV show is a story about the life of a North Jersey mob boss, dealing with “casual retirements” (in other words, people getting killed), FBI investigations, infidelities (again, just a “casual” thing for Tony, the main character) and panic attacks. Imagine that—a mobster on Xanax? You’ll just have to admit that you like the main character of this show. A lot.
Men in power have always excited you—intellectually and physically. THEY HAVE SOMETHING YOU DON’T. They can easily walk away and not return your calls. Men in power will be your weakness for the rest of your life…because your ego has been bruised by them. For a tiny little girl, you have a huge—no, rather, humongous—ego, my friend. Remember to listen to your heart more often than that big “E,” or you will waste a lot of time and energy chasing people who are just not worthy of being chased.
But we’ll discuss that later. Today is all about Jersey (the happy place).
New Jersey will be home for you because you’ll be truly HAPPY there. You’ll have your family and friends living close by. You’ll have your first job in IT. You’ll be happy and content internally. That’s what makes Jersey a special place for you. Your soul and your heart will be at peace there.
Unfortunately, when you move back to The Garden State for work in 2007, you will be miserable. You will hate it there—because home is the place where your heart lives. Remember that, my darling…
But more on that later…