Wow. I can’t believe that 3 years ago this week I waved goodbye to my U-Haul pod and boarded a one way flight from Chicago to New York. I remember landing in New York on a Saturday morning, going to pick up my keys from the leasing office in SoHo, and just feeling like I was having an out of body experience. I still remember exactly what I was wearing and the feeling I had when I walked into my new apartment (a little out of breath from the 6 flights of stairs if I recall). I couldn’t believe it was actually happening!
I missed my 2 year update (sorry guys!), but even reading back on my first year here my life was SO different and it’s crazy to think about how much can change in just a few short years. It feels like just yesterday that I decided to make the move and the first trip where I came to the city to accept the offer. I had butterflies in my stomach flying back to Chicago knowing that everything was going to change.
If you follow along and have read my blog during this transition you know that it was initially a scary one. I was nervous about New York and what the city would be like, if I would find friends as close as the ones I had in Chicago, and was struggling to find a work/life balance for a while.
3 years later I’ve learned so much more and feel happier than ever. But, I didn’t get here without learning a few things along the way!
Trust your intuition
When I decided to make the move, I wasn’t entirely sure that it was going to be the right one. Change is scary and ironically I used to say years and years ago that I could never see myself actually living in New York. Ha! Now I really can’t imagine my life anywhere else. I just had a feeling that the stars were aligning and pushing me here. I’m one of those people who notice and trust in the little signs that I get, and when I came to visit and interview I was walking around trying to imagine this being my life and saw a beautiful sign on a random wall that was the name of my first building and street in Chicago. It sounds cheesy, but it just reminded me of my decision to move to Chicago – I knew no one, had really never been to the city before, and within 3 short years there made some of the best friends of my life and never regretted it for a second. It reminded me that I’d done it before and I could do it again.
P.S. – How serendipitous is it that I stumbled on that sign this past year because it’s on the same street as my current office?
You don’t have to do it all
Years 1 and 2 were all about embracing the city, continuously making plans, and trying to experience as much as possible. If there’s anything I’ve learned in the last year it’s that you don’t have to do it all. We’ve settled into what makes us the most happy and are content with that – even if other people are out raging on a Tuesday, there are times where we’re content to say no occasionally. If you’ve lived here you know it better than anyone else, but the energy will really draw you in and it’s very hard to say no at times. Naturally it’s a very social city and there’s always someone out that you can meet up with. I remember when I first arrived I would go to every single event I was invited to – with friends and blog related. It’s imperative in the beginning, but now I try to only go to events that I really want to be at and save that time for catching up with friends or being at home with MG.
Build a network
It doesn’t matter what profession you’re in – networking in the city is a must. It’s as simple as just staying in contact with people, introducing yourself to new people at events or bars, and just plain being friendly. You’ll be surprised at how many people years and years later will remember you and you just never know when that relationship will be very important later in life. I’ve heard so many stories at this point relating new jobs back to old intro’s and even marriages to first encounters through networking.
Try to find a place you’ll want to stay in
Moving in the city is the worst. The entire process from start to finish is absolute madness and I feel so grateful that we were not moving this summer. It took so much of our time last year! We love SoHo and it will always hold a special place in my heart, but we couldn’t be happier to have found a place that we can see ourselves in for years to come. We might end up in a bigger apartment in our building, but there will be no major moves hopefully. Spend time exploring other neighborhoods and you may find that you actually see yourself staying longer in somewhere different.
Keep that bucket list going
The amazing thing about the city is that there is no shortage of new things to do, new places to eat, and things to see. I started a bucket list during my first year here and we’re slowly still chipping away at it! I’m happy to say that I’ve now been to a Giants, Rangers, Yankees, and most recently a Mets game. Last spring we went to Jimmy Fallon (which was SO fun!), we finally walked across the Brooklyn Bridge in the fall, and as you can see we still have a lot more to do. Having things to look forward to is so important. Next up on our list is getting out to Coney Island this summer!
Don’t forget to appreciate it every now and then
As New Yorkers tend to do, they like to complain about how the city smells like hot garbage in the summer, the subway system is a total mess, and ugh, tourists. But when you stop for a second and see something that reminds you of how lucky you are to live here it reminds you that you should probably try and find those moments more often. It used to be my walk home I would wind through SoHo and just enjoy the cobblestone streets before finally getting to my apartment. Now I wake up every morning and look out my window overlooking Tribeca and the Hudson river watching the boats come in and it just makes me smile. The Texas girl in me sometimes doesn’t want to forget that living here is one of the greatest luxuries in the entire world and I hope to never forget that.