It’s been a short 1.5 years so far since I first officially moved to New York and it’s been an incredible ride. I’ve learned more about who I am and what my values are here more than ever. Such milestones come at steep prices, a price we’re willing to sacrifice, and I think that I can now give a more full,/3D picture of what New York encompasses.
When I first moved here, I was infatuated with a city in all its glory. Like the start of a crush or relationship, my relationship with New York at first meant noticing only the good things about the city. Anything that was bad, I accepted as part of the package and I was absolutely in love with the energy, the fast-paced lifestyle, and endless opportunities of things to do. I went to so many events that fueled my passions related to topics like fashion, art, history, startups, tech, literature, and so on. It seemed like I was meeting lots of people every day and they were so cool! so unique! so different from texas! Although I never talked to most of them again, they all made their marks on me in a little way.
1.5 years later, though, I have a more realistic grasp of the city and in a weird way, it’s taught me a lot about being grateful and taking the time to appreciate the bare bones of my life. Being in a fast-paced city, I now appreciate the act of slowing down and just relaxing for the first time ever. I understand the concept of “the grass is always greener on the other side” because no matter what you get here, you will always want more and never feel good enough. I think that’s the common trait that bonds New Yorkers — we ask ourselves ‘are we genuinely happy'?’ Are we content? It’s hard to be content in a city where everything is always bigger and better today than it was 5 minutes ago. The city tries very hard to outdo itself in everything and you’re not an exception. We pay $20 for cocktails to live in the greatest city in the world to us and accept that we might have the worst subway system. We feel this void within us day by day that gets pushed away by the distraction of working long hours. It’s a grimey, concrete jungle and the animal kingdom isn’t nice or patient, especially here.
There was an article about how New Yorkers love crying in public. But only because they are never truly in private. You’re either at work, on the subway, on the street, in an Uber, at a restaurant or bar. Most of the time you’re in public. And yet you don’t know most of the people around you. You get used to seeing others as strangers, not as friends. You may meet many new people, but only a handful will click with you enough to remain friends. People come and go; events come and go; winter comes and goes and before you know it, it’s winter again. Eventually after some time, everything becomes the same,…
This entire time you’re growing & learning & figuring out who you are again. I’m a firm believer that you change the most in periods of discomfort and every other day I’m in discomfort about something. There’s a reason why NY is in love with CBD oil and will gladly wave $20 in the air for anything that encourages relaxation and calmness. It’s because we really need it. The anxiety of real-life events & growing up is too real.
I wouldn’t say that New York is kind to those who aren’t comparatively wealthy. Some cities are kind and gentle to the ones who don’t have extra spending money. New York is not one of them. They take the $5 you have and tell you, well because you don’t have $10, you can’t have a window. You can’t have a W/D. You can’t have easy subway access on the weekend into Manhattan. Each dollar that you lack is another notch on the suffering scale and the threshold for comfort is pretty high. To buy an apartment in Manhattan you need around, let’s say, $1 million. Even then you are only average at best and still probably not good enough. A realtor won’t be impressed with your $1 million—but you learn that in New York no one will be impressed by anything. You aren’t living to impress.
The biggest takeaway I’ve had from my time here so far is to stand my ground and to never take no for an answer. Being a fairly easy-going, pushover type of person in the past, I learned pretty quickly that if you don’t fight for yourself here, you aren’t getting that window. You won’t make it onto the subway in time for your job and your boss won’t forgive you for being late. Every decision has consequences and you’re the boss of your own life. In the past, I took whatever life gave me and tried to make the most of it. Here you will get thrown with so much sh*t that you have to be more responsible for your journey. It’s up to you to stop hanging out with people who don’t really add inspiration to your life and find those that do or to say no to a job that seems stable and nice, but is toxic and drains the energy out of you. You are never trapped as long as you keep fighting.
Eventually people stop fighting and move back home or move to a calmer, less intense place. For now though, I wouldn’t trade this for any other place in the world. I wanted to move out of Texas to learn about myself & be in situations that I hadn’t been in before. I wanted easy access to great food, shows, events, opportunities. I wanted something more. Someone once told me that you don’t want easy. You want hard difficult things because that’s when you grow the most. We’re all learning together and finding out that the thing that connects humans to each other isn’t the easy stuff, but the messy, difficult things that take who you are and make you better.