I’m 21, and I have some advice that you won’t listen to if you’re young and in love; don’t move to a city for a boy. Don’t many any huge life decisions for a significant other when you’re young because, you’ll never know when they might become insignificant. That advice was repeated to me over and over again when I made the decision to move to New York from Los Angeles. I attempted to justify my decision when questioned “New York has a great comedy scene!”, I boasted.
I tried to convince others that I loved this city, but all those who really knew me knew the truth. I’m a Los Angeles girl, and everything that feels like home is there. I was born in the 90201 and now I live in the Bronx, that’s the dichotomy of my life. I ignored all advice, even my mother’s (your mom’s always right okay) and moved to New York for a long-term long-distance relationship, that started on tumblr when I was in my teens (#tbt to 2010 tumblr).
Over a month ago, I cut ties with this person. Now I’m here finishing my undergrad degree in a city that doesn’t feel like home. I’m determined to finish school, so here are some things I’ve done that have made New York feel more like home. If you’re stuck in a city that doesn’t fit like a glove, I hope this helps.
1. Make your room your sanctuary
At the end of the day this is where you unwind, make the space as uniquely personal to you as possible. My mother is from Bolivia, and my room is covered in things from her home country. I have books I love to read, candles I love to smell, and pictures of people I love all around my room. Your room doesn’t have to look like it’s straight of an HGTV episode, just make it a space you actually enjoy spending time in.
2. Call your friends
Yes, I know it feels like you’re alone. You have no deep connections in this city but you do have friends where you’re from. Or maybe they’re fledgling in another city too, I don’t know where they live and if the timezones are hard to manage, but you have friends and you should call them. I find myself calling my friends when I’m walking to do errands, we talk about everything or nothing at all. It grounds me, makes me laugh and reminds me that somewhere out there someone cares.
3. Take yourself out for food
I’m a huge foodie. I think I’ve seen everything that Anthony Bourdain has ever put his name on, there’s so many restaurants I missed out on cause I was too nervous to go alone. Go alone, enjoy the alone. Order whatever the hell you want because you’re never going to see the diners around you again. As Tom Haverford would say “Treat Yo Self.”
4. Try new recipes
In that same vein cooking for yourself can be extremely rewarding. Make ceviche, an elaborate salad with cranberries, attempt to poach an egg! Cooking something different always makes me feel accomplished.
5. Make new friends
HAHA sounds so easy right? Just pick one up at the friend store. What I’m saying is, don’t be closed off to new connections. If someone invites you out, just go. You can make the first move too. I often find myself inviting acquaintances over for dinner and wine. If the conversation is good, maybe you’ll find the donkey to your shrek. If not, drink the rest of the wine when they leave and watch your favorite show on Netflix.
6. Relax in nature
The park, the woods, the grassy knoll, take your butt there and do something that makes you happy. I like to read, but maybe you like to bike or draw, or write thought catalog articles. Get a little creative in the nature that surrounds you.
7. Look at the view
This might be exclusive to big city dwellers, but go up and take in that view. Go to a rooftop bar off-peak hours, or take a hike to the top of the mountain and take it all in. You’re in this city, it’s not yours but it’s really not anybody’s and it’s beautiful. Let’s make it home, for now.