My friend Annie once told me a story about a drive that she and her father took from their home in Tampa to their bay house in Alabama. The story was seemingly insignificant, but it’s always stuck with me. Along the way, her father pulled over to buy something from a friendly, old Southern man set up along the side of the highway. Her father spent the entirety of his little visit listening to this man boast and brag about his teeny tiny town.
“You’d looove it here,” he said. Over and over again, brimming with pride.
I’ve been living with Annie in New York City for almost two months now. And a lot has gone down in two months. Despite all the hype associated with this place, there’s no one on the side of the road spending time convincing us that we’d love it here. Ain’t no one got time for that. Because maybe you won’t love it here. And if you don’t, no one really cares.
I can’t speak for everyone, but through my own experiences, I can provide some concrete examples of what you’ll find yourself dealing with in this maddening and magical city.
1. You will spend lots of time at the Laundromat.
Laundry is a luxury often taken for granted. You will find yourself dreaming of those days when you could throw in a load of laundry, run to the gym, grab lunch, come back to your apartment and toss the clothes into the dryer before showering. Laundry here is an event, and not a glamorous one. You will accidentally drop your lacy thongs onto the grotesque floor of the Laundromat whilst transferring wet clothes from washer to dryer. *Shudder* You will begin to treat quarters like they are priceless gold, and shamelessly pick them off of the streets when they catch your eye.
2. You will ruin your shoes.
Just one night out can do major damage to some nice new wedges. You’ll have to do this once to realize that you carry the cute shoes with you and wear gross flats on the commute. It’s not worth the hobbling, the blisters or any other potential night-ruiners. You will turn into a major bitch monster when your feet hurt, so you will learn to sacrifice being short for being pleasant to be around.
3. You will pass entire days traveling around the city…
…conversing with people you don’t know via text message, trying to find the apartment they put on Craigslist that turns out to be a huge dump located at least 20 minutes from the train and contains a third roommate who is a 45-year old man named Ralph who works in retail. Oh, the joys of the apartment search!
4. You will eventually find an apartment.
That apartment will be tiny, but in a nice area. It will be expensive, but close to your office. It will have two bedrooms, but they will be divided by a curtain. But if you’re lucky enough to live with a friend who loves you, that will make all the difference.
5. You will reach your breaking point.
You will cry. Everything will make you cry. A dad reading to his daughter on the subway, an email from your grandma. Even thinking about your friends or family will cause you to well up. You might also get mad. Like, really mad. And you’ll probably take it out on the wrong person. You will unload all of your hopes, dream, losses, gains, stresses and mindless thoughts on one person and potentially sabotage your relationship and lose them forever. This may or may not also involve tears, yelling and/or smacking someone on the subway.
6. You will ask yourself why you thought this was a good idea.
Why did you move away from your parents? Why did you choose a city that practically cuts your paycheck in half with taxes? Why did you pay that broker fee? Why did you buy the expensive non-fat greek yogurt at the organic market, when you know the stuff at the corner bodega is almost the same thing and also extremely less expensive?
7. You will meet people…
…who’ve gone through the same silly struggles that you have. These people will make you smile, they will make you feel like you are not crazy. They will laugh at your stories and make you feel whole again. These people will nuzzle their way into your life and you should let them, because these people are real friends who accept you in every state of you. And you’ll realize how truly rare and special that can be.
8. You will settle in.
You will establish places that are yours. A coffee shop, a bench in a park, the shade under a tree. After lots of moving around, you will start to plant roots. You will have a routine and you will navigate the city with just your mind; no apps, no maps. Just you.
9. You will share small moments with yourself.
You will realize that you – and you alone – are the solution to all of those silly problems. You’ll smile or laugh or shed a tear when that feeling comes creeping into your chest. That feeling that you are you again. You moved here. You chose this place. You found a job. You found an apartment. You started creating a life of your own, however small or chaotic it may be. You did it – and you should be proud.
You’ll looove it here.