After growing up in the suburbs, it was hard for me to imagine myself living a city life. I, like many others, had grown accustomed to the many conveniences of such a lifestyle—hopping in the car and driving where I needed to go, dining out on a dime, enjoying the wide-open spaces. But eventually, something about the city called to me, and I went, unsure of what to expect.
Nowadays, I can’t imagine my life any other way. Yes, I love my hometown and am so glad that’s where I come from, but becoming a city girl has changed me in so many positive ways. Here are five of them.
1. I’ve learned to love public transportation
Like I said, suburban life requires you to drive yourself around town, whether you’re going to work, to dinner or home after a long day. Now I rely on public transportation to do the very same thing. At first, it was a huge adjustment—I was no longer in full control of my arrival times. But I’ve realized I’m so much happier taking buses and trains than dealing with a car these days.
For one thing, I don’t have to cover the expense of having a car. Instead of paying for insurance, gas and the exorbitant price of city parking, I can buy a monthly pass that allows me to use all the city’s transportation. Even better, some employers will cover this cost for you—in other words, you can travel to and from work for free!
I’ve also come to love my time spent commuting. Since I’m not driving, I can get so much done on the train to work. Some days, I listen to thought-provoking podcasts, while on others, I read or practice French on a language-learning app. I could not do that behind the wheel of a car.
2. I have so much to do
Another plus for city living—there’s so much to do here. Sure, small towns have plenty of restaurants and activities, but are they open every night? In the city, I can always find something to do, whether I’m trying a new restaurant or cuisine, catching a comedy show, exploring a different neighborhood, trying a new workout class or meeting my friends for happy hour.
To that end, I feel like I have so many more opportunities to meet new people because of all the activity here. Yes, it can be daunting to find your tribe amid the hustle and bustle. But because there is never a shortage of things going on, I can easily find sports leagues, volunteering opportunities or meetups, among other social activities, where fellow newbies surround me. I’ve made some great friends through my community’s young professionals club, for example.
3. I work harder
With more people in the job-search pool, city life forces you to be the best version of your professional self. I’ve found I work so much harder since I’ve moved, and I’m not talking about longer hours. I have discovered I’m producing higher-quality work than ever before.
I attribute some of my city-based success to the career-minded people who also live here and work with me. The ever-changing backdrop of my urban home inspires me to be more creative, bolder and daring. Taking risks was barely a part of my DNA until I moved to the city—now, this newfound confidence is ingrained in me, and it has made me a better employee and person.
4. I live independently
If I lived in my hometown, my parents would probably still be my roommates. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—I love being home, and I love hanging out with my mom and dad. But city living has pushed me to be independent and solve my problems, helping me mature and discern which issues demand my attention and which ones should roll off my back.
For example, when I moved into my studio, I could not sleep for the first few weeks because it was so loud—we suburbanites aren’t accustomed to sleeping with a lot of ambient noise outside, after all. I solved the issue on my own by purchasing a few acoustic panels to place over the wall where most of the noise came from, and voila. I felt so much more accomplished having figured it out for myself.
City life presents lots of little unexpected situations like these. I’ve learned to fix them on my own and stick up for myself when I need to, and it’s been a refreshing change.
5. I’m happier
All the above changes have made me happier in my day-to-day life. I do miss home from time to time, and sometimes I crave a reprieve from the fast-paced way of life I live here. But the adventure of city living keeps me coming back, and I’m so glad I made the leap from the suburbs to an urban metropolis. And, if you make the switch, you might find yourself reaping the same amazing benefits.