Tuesday, May 28, 2013

7 years ago this week...

...I moved to Manhattan. When I think about it, seven years has felt more like two. And, to be honest, I never imagined that this Southern girl would spend more than two years in the city. But, that's life for you, always surprising you and showing you a different plan than what you might have expected.

I moved to NYC right after graduation from Elon University. I had barely unpacked my suitcase of college memories before repacking it for the big move up North. Since I was a little girl, I always wanted to live in a city so for me, it was less of a dream and more of a "well yeah, I'm going to do that" state of mind. I had an internship, a sublet in Murray Hill (where all post college kids live), and enough money to afford me a cheap beer while listening to 80's music at Joshua Tree and eating a late night slice at Rays. But that's really all you need when you're 22.
The apartment window of my first bedroom looked out to the Empire State building. Laying there my first night, I didn't sleep at all. The sounds of the taxis, the lights from the buildings and the excitement that I would wake up in a new city, a place I wanted to live for so long, was now a reality. Okay, so maybe it was a dream come true after all.
My friend's sister is moving to NYC today. Like me so long ago, she just graduated college and is about to begin a life here. It's made me think about what I've learned in my time in Manhattan and what things I could share. So to the newly-planted New Yorkers, here you go:

1. Just because bars are open until 4 a.m., doesn't mean you have to stay till closing time. Nothing good happens after 2 a.m. Nothing.
2. I get it. Your best friends are those from college. So are many of mine. But, and this is a big BUT - don't be afraid to meet new people and open up to others like you did with your college buddies. The people you meet in NYC are the only ones who can relate to this time in your life, specifically what it's like to live in one of the craziest places in the world.
3. Pay your rent on time even if it means you have to eat leftovers for a week.
4. To that end, rent is high. We get it. If you want to live here, you have to pay.
5.Weird things and weird people ride the subway. So do celebrities and normal people. Always wear your poker face. Pretty soon things won't shock you as much. Also, the F train is slow, so is the L. The 4, 5, don't run as fast as you hope they will in the morning rush but the 2, 3 is pretty reliable. Taking the bus will take you twice as long to get anywhere you want to go. Plus, only old people ride the bus.
6. Always look up. It's easy to forget that one of the coolest things about the city are the buildings themselves. When I'm feeling down, I always look up.
7. Be competitive but polite. Some of the meanest people I met were those I worked with at a my first job at a PR agency. They worked long hours, were rude and unappreciative. People will say you can't make it in NYC by being nice (hell, I had someone tell me I was too nice for a job) but that's wrong. You can be assertive while keeping it classy. [Southern ladies, I'm talking to you]. And even among the mean people, there a genuine ones. I met my two best friends at that same company.
8.Try not to compare yourself to others. It's easy to get caught up in "they're doing something cooler/making more than me" hype, especially in NYC. You'll get there one day and remember, not everyone loves what they are doing 100% of the time.
9. Don't forget where you came from. This is big for me. No matter how long I've been here, I will always be Southern and will also remember my roots. Keep something out in your apartment that reminds you of home and I promise it will help you when you're homesick.
10. And you will get homesick. Guaranteed. It's inevitable. But, don't let it get you down for too long. Get up, shake it off and remember why you moved here. You live in New York after all.

1 comment:

  1. very nice. we still can't believe you live there. and we are so proud of what you've done. nice advice, much i would not think of... 'always look up..' is translated from 'keep your chin up!' ... an original from B & Pop B, when I first moved to the great city of disgusta.