So, I did it. 12 months ago I packed up literally all of my belongings to move to a place where I knew enough people to count on one hand, barely. I made it through my first 365 days of living in New York City.
The past year has by far been one of the most life changing for me. I have learned so much about myself, what I can handle, what things you are able to change and what stays with you regardless of the environment you’re in. And let me tell you – this change has not been easy and I am by no means totally settled into my comfort zone, but as my therapist so graciously reminded me the other day: New York moves fast and it can be hard to find your pace.
Below are 12 things I’ve learned in the last year:
- Old habits die hard. Whether that’s not going to the gym enough, seeming to date a very similar type of person, or being super messy no matter how many times I clean and tell myself it’ll change. I’ve learned to try and stay self-aware of these things – that’s step one.
- Making friends as an adult is f*cking hard. Things don’t happen overnight, I’ve met way more people who were around for a night than those who I would consider close friends – and that’s okay, meaningful connections take time.
- I have continued to grow and understand the difference between needing someone and wanting someone.
- Carve out more time to cook, write, read, or anything else that brings me joy. It’s fun to explore those things, keep up with it.
- Stretching and drinking water really does work and make a difference on the body.
- I’ve learned that dating is kind of exhausting but can also be so fun. Put yourself out there you never know who you might meet, friend or otherwise.
- I still need my mom and dad. And I should probably call them more often. Oh, and on that note, I’ve also learned that groceries, electricity, toilet paper, paper towels, laundry, dish soap, and more toilet paper is expensive and adds up and I feel like I am constantly replacing it all. Note: apologize to parents for taking advantage of these things when I got to have them for free.
- It’s okay to grow apart from certain people and close to some people you never expected to. Everyone changes, your priorities and likes/dislikes change, your opinions change. Not everyone is a forever and it’s okay if you decide you need to let people go to grow.
- Communication is key – whether its work, friendships, or relationships.
- Even if it was your decision to let someone go, you’re still going to need time to heal before you can be open with someone new.
- Be comfortable with yourself. Mentally and physically. I’ve gone to concerts, art classes, literary magazine launches, and the bar alone. Sometimes I meet people and feel on top of the world. Sometimes I leave to go home and feel anxious and lonelier than ever – it’s normal to feel both ways, still do it. As for the latter, I’ve never felt more comfortable with my body (yay!)
- Understand that while NYC doesn’t always feel 100% like home yet, “home” doesn’t really feel like home either anymore.
TLDR; Highlights below:
1. Know when to let go; this goes for both people and feelings
2. Self-awareness brings forth change and peace of mind
3. Partake in whatever activities bring you joy
4. Let people in
5. Allow yourself time to heal from things that hurt you
6. Call your mom (and dad, and sister/brother/grandma/best friend/etc.)
7. Home really is wherever your heart is, find it within yourself
8. Making friends is hard, but don’t be afraid to put yourself out there
9. Self-care is important
10. Speak up if you need some support; Communication is key
11. Date yourself; Be comfortable in your own skin
12. Stretch & drink water
Being on your own is hard. Being in a new city is a huge adjustment and it’s full of highs and lows. Just because I’ve been there 12 months doesn’t mean I’m meant to feel completely settled. I am still in the trenches of finding myself and finding the right people to surround myself with, but I appreciate the people I have who just happen to be farther away. I appreciate the people who are around who I need to get better about reaching out to. I appreciate being able to wake up every morning, walk outside, and remember that I made a dream of mine come true.
Happy One Year anniversary of moving to New York City, completely on my own, and making it work. It has not been easy, but I keep riding the waves and staying as positive as I can. I’m excited to see what year two brings.