Today marks my one year anniversary in New York. I actually can't believe those words just came out of my mouth. It has literally flown by... and in a good way. I have to admit, I've never been happier or had more fun in my entire life. As cheesy as it sounds, New York has been everything I thought it would be and more. And I swear, it's not just because I'm in the honeymoon stage with the city, because I'm not anymore. I knew moving here that I already loved it. My love affair with the city started at a very young age. My family used to visit the city at least once or twice a year, especially during Christmas, so I knew the lay of the land pretty well. Still, it has surprised me how fast this place has become (and felt like) my home.
Sure, I had some major bumps in the road when I first moved here. I think almost everyone does. New York isn't easy at first. It'll chew you up and spit you right back out, making you regret moving and question why you thought the city was such a good idea in the first place. The anxiety I experienced when trying to sign an apartment (and move)? I hope I never have to go through that again! Plus the fact that I had decided to move my entire one bedroom apartment from Ohio all the way to New York without really getting rid of anything could have been the worst decision I've ever made. Lets just say that I donated at least half of my belongings. I've never purged as much stuff as I did last spring, but it was maybe the most freeing thing I've ever done. I've now adopted a policy of one in, one out, so when I purchase something (anything other than jewelry really), I have to get rid of something else. Poshmark and Tradesy have become my new best friends.
I'm sure I still have many more road blocks to hit, and there will be times where I'll think how much easier if would be if I just had a car, or a normal sized apartment with appliances that were built after 1930, or air conditioning for that matter... Sometimes, it would just be nice to not have to depend completely on public transportation, and live somewhere a little more accessible. But New York always pulls through for the win when I'm having those thoughts. Maybe it's during a nice long run on the west side highway, or a walk through SoHo in the evening, checking out one of the numerous art exhibits, or trying out a new incredible restaurant, because of course, the supply of those here is endless. Or maybe it's just an encounter with someone on the street - and by the way, not everyone is rude and/or mean here. I believe it's a myth. If you stop someone to ask them (nicely) for directions or info about the best local restaurant or bar, I bet you they'll happily oblige. And for gosh sakes, don't act like a total tourist please - that's what New Yorkers hate. I'm talking the walking slower than a 5 year old and standing in the middle of the sidewalks or just hugging/hogging the subway pole on a crowded train. But I digress.
Quite honestly, I've found that people in NYC are more willing to meet someone new, network, and make a connection than in any other city. I've made friends here faster than I have anywhere, which surprised the hell out of me. Of course you'll come across the typical New Yorkers - the ones that started that negative stereotype for the whole city in the first place, but that'll happen almost anywhere.
The biggest thing I've noticed about New York though? It pushes you. Motivates you. Makes you want to be do better, be better, and do more with your life. It changes you, for the good (or the bad if you let it), and makes you a stronger person, because honestly, it is hard to live here. It's expensive. It's smelly. It's big and cold. It's competitive. It doesn't back down. But even with all that, at the end of the day, it's the city that has everything, and it is rewarding when you make even the tiniest improvement or get just one step further than you were yesterday. Just to know that I'm here and that I'm happy is enough for me. Maybe it's the energy of the city that gets me... I'm not really sure quite yet, but it somehow succeeds in getting me to fall head over heels even more with this place, each and every day.