So today marks my sixth month living in the weird and wonderful bubble that is NYC.
I’ve been astounded by how much I’ve grown over the past half-year. I’m changing so much, beyond recognition even.
I walk with my head a little higher, I’m making massive strides career-wise, and I’m losing a couple of pounds to boot!
It’s not a long time by any stretch of the imagination, and yet the timid girl I was when I left Dublin in April is gone (she’s probably still wandering around T2 sniveling. I have no intentions of trying to find her again – she’s long gone).
The whole purpose of this solo expedition to another continent was to prove to myself that I could do it. Truth be told, I felt how most graduates feel after college. A little lost, really.
My radical solution? Plonk yourself in the centre of one of the biggest cities in the world and sink or swim. You decide.
So with that in mind, here’s a brutally honest account of what I’ve learned along the way.
It has its drawbacks
Before I came, I was watching these rose-tinted vlogs about how wonderful New York is and how romantic and fantastic and great! New York is a magical fairy world devoid of drawbacks! Uh, no.
The illusion shatters pretty quickly.
It’s humid, it’s crowded, subway seats are sometimes damp, groceries are expensive, there are weirdos everywhere (and you’re one of them). It’s hard to catch a break in the Big Apple.
But like anything, it is what you make it. Every place has its pros and cons, and New York is no exception.
Focus on the skyline that never fails to take your breath away, the quiet moments you steal away in Central Park, the thrill of having everything you could ever imagine a mere subway ride away, and the mind-boggling amount of opportunity this city can bring if you would only go out and get it.
The biggest obstacle was the homesickness. The first few weeks are the absolute worst. It got to the point where I asked my best friend when I should just throw in the towel and admit to myself that although I tried it, it just wasn’t for me.
When every bone in your body aches to be home again, it’s tough. Homesickness is a truly Irish disease if ever there was one. For us Paddies, emigration is, in a sense, a rite of passage.
But think of homesickness as a growing pain, and grow through what you go through.
Something very character-defining happened to me this summer. I proved to myself how resilient I actually am, and I think that was a very important thing for me to learn. It’s something I’m so grateful to now have instilled in me so young as life is really just beginning.
As they say, if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.
It’s restored my faith in humanity
New Yorkers have a reputation for being brash and rude. It’s a fast-paced city and everything is expected accordingly. As one of my American friends explained, New Yorkers are nice; they just don’t have time for you.
I expected the cynicism to be infectious, honestly. But I’ve found the opposite. There are so many little moments that make me feel so connected in a city where you have 8.5 million neighbours.
So many people have gone out of their way to show me kindness and although it might’ve seemed insignificant to them at the time, it made the world of difference to me.
I wasn’t joking when I said I’m a totally different person than I was six months ago (in a good way!). I really needed to shake things up and immersing myself totally in this little journey seems to have done just the trick.
I’m still a work-in-progress, and always will be, but I never truly appreciated my own strength until it was tested. And I passed.
Would you like to come with me on this adventure?
Pssssst! Let me know if you’d like to see more NYC content – what should I write about next?
Feel free to reach out if you’d like any advice about moving or if you just need a friendly ear. Drop me a line on one of the platforms listed above.