It had been seven years since James first decided that he wanted to live in NYC. At the time, he had never been to the city but closely studied a detailed map of Manhattan along with the boundaries and characteristics of each area within the borough. It wasn’t until one year later when he finally visited the city, sipping on a cocktail in the Seaport District, that he decided that he would choose to call the Financial District home. At the time, he didn’t know why or how he would get there but felt a deep and soulful call to live in the city.

James had been living in Myrtle Beach, SC for a few years working on his house remodel before he decided that it was finally time for a change. Born and raised in central London, James had always remained fairly resistant to the idea of living in the South and without access to a large international city. He was truly a ‘city boy’ who valued the extensive diversity, culture and arts within a global community. However his wife, Adrianna, hailing from small town Pennsylvania, was fulfilling her dream of living in warmer weather and on a beach that provided a higher quality of life and access to nature. It had been a dream of hers after spending a summer during college working as a waitress in a Mexican restaurant while staying with family friends on the coast in Wilmington, NC.

One spring morning in April, James formally asked Adrianna if they could live in NYC for just one or two years. While his wife was looking forward to starting a family soon with their newly remodeled beachfront home in tact, she eventually conceded that if this was still his dream then she would not stand in his way. By this time James had traveled extensively to NYC for work and to stay with friends, and his targeted area to find an apartment was still in the Financial District.

James flew to NYC with Adrianna during Labor Day weekend to show her how wonderful city life could be. While she loved being in the city during her childhood and subsequent visits, she did not view it as home or a place to raise their children. She related to James all the nightmare stories about finding an apartment within their budget and living in NYC: how expensive apartment rentals were for such tiny spaces with barely any natural light, crazy broker fees, the inconvenience of living through snow storms, not having a washer and dryer in the unit, having to collect packages yourself and the indignity of walkups. James listened but let her know that’s why the Financial District would be great - lower priced high rises with elevators, doorman, post and laundry rooms in the building.

They met with broker after broker for no fee apartments only to be met with viewings that did not fit James’ criteria or budget. He envisioned an open plan studio with high ceilings, natural light, wood flooring, an updated and modern bathroom within a building containing an elevator and laundry room onsite. Adrianna returned to SC a few days later while James continued to look to no avail. A week later he returned home, disheartened and dejected. However he regrouped within himself and decided that he would return the next month and start searching other areas of the city. This time he would be more flexible on his key criteria such as an elevator and doorman building - possibly even a laundry room.

James returned the next month and enlisted the help of every friend and friend of friend during his two week stay with his step sister-in-law in the West Village. He bore the relentless heat of the summer trekking up and down the East Side, West Side, East Village, Midtown and other places he had not initially wished to consider - all the while being haunted by agents who kept repeating that the summer was the worst time to look for an apartment. The day before he was due to fly out, working from his company’s Tribeca location, with no apartment confirmed and all hopes completely dashed by his exhausting experience of no fee apartment hunting in NYC, James received a call from a guy named Ethan. Ethan worked at Citi Habitats on the Upper West Side and had only just received James’ details from his colleague Shelly who had found an apartment a year earlier for one of James’ best friends from London. James wearily mumbled his criteria, feeling like a broken record, and retorted, to Ethan’s response that there was a no fee building available in the Financial District, that he had “looked at every single building in the area and nothing matched”. However Ethan asked him to check the building name and to James’ surprise he did not have the building on his list nor had it come up in any research or recommendations by friends.

With all his meetings for the day coincidently cancelled that morning, James agreed to meet Ethan for one last try given that the building was only a five minute walk from his office and was apparently within his budget. Being impatient by nature, and having already given up on moving to the city much to Adrianna’s relief, James would have been unlikely to stay for the duration it took to actually view the apartment. However Ethan and James hit it off personally, such that James did not notice the two hour wait for a viewing by the building’s leasing office. Upon entering the apartment James noticed the high ceiling, wood flooring, followed by the modern and updated bathroom on his right and then a large studio space with a huge window that covered almost the entire horizontal view and poured in an abundance of natural light. He swallowed and turned to his broker, barely whispering ‘how much again?’. For $100 over his determined monthly budget, with a laundry room on every floor, gym, free Sunday breakfasts in the lounge and a 24 hour concierge desk, James was in awe. He ran to his bank, conveniently located next to his office, to finalize the deposit transfer. He spent the remainder of the afternoon reading and signing the paperwork, and this time left the city on his scheduled morning flight with his apartment confirmed and move-in date ready.

As a self designated agnostic who found a path to higher consciousness many years later, James says, "in hindsight this isn’t as random as I thought. Seven years earlier something in me just knew that I would be living here, and that feeling never once left me in all that time - I just never could have guessed how and when it would all happen and so perfectly!”

Do you have a strong vision or feeling about something that just won’t leave you? Maybe you’ve already seen or feel your new home, new city, wedding or new job but it doesn’t seem like it could be a reality? Acknowledging and staying with the feeling instead of dismissing it as a fairytale or dream is key to allowing the universe to work through you- and of course the magic always happens right when we let go and surrender!

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Shorts Tales of Coincidences & Synchronicity: In this bimonthly series Modern Ancient provides a snapshot of interesting ‘coincidences’ and the insights gained if we are willing to keep an open mind about universal power. You really can’t make this stuff up! 

*Names and identifying details have been changed in some stories to protect the privacy of individuals featured. 

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