Adjusting to Life in the Big City
I have come home every day for the last three weeks exhausted. My feet aching, my ankles covered in blisters from shoes that I believed to be comfortable but have thus far betrayed me, my back damp from sweating on the subway platform and my hair frizzy from the humid city air. (Gross, I know. I’m a vision.)
Every time I make it home I feel relieved because I’m back in the safe haven that is my concrete basement apartment that seems to be a perpetual work in progress. But it is familiar and predictable, and for that, I am grateful.
New York City is not familiar and predictable. You could step in dog shit accidentally and not notice all day or miss an email telling you not to come into the office until 11 am when you woke up at 6 am or be on the wrong subway for 20 minutes and not realize it. The city is not predictable, but my apartment is predictable. My apartment is slow-moving, and my roommate is loving and comforting, where the city is not. And I relish in those facts.
I graduated from college in May and all I’ve been thinking about all summer is how much I want to go back.
Things were so much easier in college and I realize now I definitely took the social aspect of college for granted, except maybe my last semester of college where I lived for going out on Thursday nights for karaoke.
In college, all your friends are right there, all the time. You could text your girlfriend and ask her if she wanted to get a drink with you or watch a movie and she could say yes and then you’d both be at Viva La Taqueria, frozen margarita in hand, or splayed out on the couch in front of your roommate’s Apple TV in 10 minutes.
In the city, hanging out with someone is an ordeal. You have to text someone hours, sometimes days in advance. You have to find somewhere to meet that’s between where you both live/work or it’s a hassle for both of you. I work most days from 10 am - 5 pm, so I can’t do really anything during the day. My grad school classes at New York University start next week, so then I’ll be there doing that from 6:30 - 9 pm, and then the day is over and then I’m going to pass out from exhaustion and the hectic city work-class-sleep-repeat cycle will start all over.
I have been in New York for almost a month, and I am learning that it is a lot harder to be one of those living and thriving people when New York keeps kicking my ass with its vastness and its unpredictability.
A big part of moving to new places is finding where you fit in. And finding where you fit in takes time. When I first moved to Ithaca for undergrad, I didn’t feel comfortable there until halfway into my sophomore year. I didn’t know what to expect or how I was going to grow or who I was going to be. But eventually I found people I connected to, I found my organizations, I found mentors. And I grew. And I thrived.
Now I’m here, starting a new adventure in the Big Apple. Hopefully adjusting it won’t take that long (school is starting soon, so I have that), or maybe the unpredictability and constant change is where I fit in and what I have to get used to. Maybe I’ll be constantly adjusting. Either way, I’ve got to try.
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