As I’m nearly at the end of my first full year here in New York, I figured now was as good a time as any to do another of these ‘Lessons Learned in NYC’ posts. Looking back at the first two I posted (here & here) have made me realize that SO much has happened in such a short space of time. I’ll be doing a full end-of-year recap post next week, but for now, here is a look at some more lessons this crazy but amazing city has taught me:
1. Importance of Healthy Eating
When I moved here first, I literally lived on spaghetti & dairy milk chocolate. Ask the girls! I rarely cooked (besides spaghetti) and instead ate out ALL the time. This was all well & good at the start, but before long I just felt SO unhealthy. You never fully know what you’re eating when you don’t make it yourself. Added salt, sauces, etc…you just don’t know! I started to feel so tired, so something had to change. I think I’ve probably cooked more in the last 6 months than I have in my whole life – which is funny really because usually the opposite happens when people move to NY. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my sweet treats, but I’m now much more fussy when it comes to buying food each week. I still can’t get my head around the fact that when you buy eggs or milk here, their use-by-date is in like 3 weeks time!! After growing up in Ireland, this is NOT normal to me. Just makes me wonder exactly what they put into them. Living here has definitely been an eye-opener in relation to food.
2. Manners Matter
So my number 1, all-time pet peeve is when somebody doesn’t hold the door for you and wow, it happens A LOT here. I know this isn’t even the biggest deal in the world but I just find it so so weird when people don’t do it. It 100% doesn’t apply to everyone, but in the past year, I have witnessed it happen so much. I also find it funny how surprised people are when I hold the door for them. I know it’s a small thing, but when you live in a crazy city like New York where people are always stressed & on-the-go, small gestures like this can really make a difference.
3. Weekend Trips
I’m pretty sure you’ve guessed by now that I have a huge love for New York City, but I’ve learned that in order to keep this love going, you need to get out of here every once & a while. Especially in the Summer. In the past few months, I’ve been lucky enough to visit Miami, the south of France, Cape Cod & The Hamptons and I’ve come back from each trip with a bigger love for NYC.
Of course, part of the reason these trips are so fun is due to the friends that are right there with me. I don’t even know where to start when explaining the importance of having good friends in New York. I talked a little about this before HERE & I’ll definitely go into more detail in my end-of-year post, but for now, just trust me when I say you won’t survive New York without a good network of friends. It’s crazy to think that I knew none of my NYC girls before I moved here – I now feel like I’ve known them my whole life!
5. Flowers & Candles
You know when you’re younger and somebody used to buy your Mom or whoever flowers & candles and you always thought to yourself -how boring! Well… oh how times have changed. This may just be me, but I never really appreciated small gestures like this until I moved out on my own. My apartment here in New York is very small & basic, so a new candle or a fresh bunch of flowers can totally transform any of the rooms. It’s the little things.
6. The heat
There’s no way around it…Summer’s here are TOUGH. So much humidity, so much sweating & so much love for air-conditioners.
7. Time is Money
If there’s one city in the world where there is NEVER enough time – it’s New York. I’m fully convinced time somehow goes faster here. No matter how early you go to bed or how early you wake up, there are just not enough hours in the day. So as a result, you need to be very clever with how you use it. Throughout the past few months, there are 2 simple services which have made my life a lot easier- Fresh Direct & Uber Pool. Food shopping in New York can honestly be the biggest pain. Ciara (my housemate) I have gone to Trader Joe’s in the past (a pretty inexpensive food store downtown) and have literally had to queue while we did our shopping because the queue goes the WHOLE way around the store. So one of us would stay in the queue while the other one literally runs to get stuff. I felt like I was on that TV show, Supermarket Sweep, haha! Stressful to say the least, so now I only ever use Fresh Direct. I choose everything online and they deliver it all right to my apartment door the next day, for about 5 dollars extra. I never thought I’d be one of those people, but honestly, it is a lifesaver!
And then lifesaver No.2 is Uber. Uber is basically a car service (similar to Hailo in Dublin) which you can book really easily through an app. I was always a big fan of it in Dublin and became even more obsessed over here. Moving to a new city is very expensive, to say the least, so I always found it hard to justify it. But thankfully, they recently introduced $10 Uber Pools everywhere – which is where you share the journey with somebody who is going in the same direction and it’s just $10 each, no matter what distance you’re traveling. So so handy….& you also get to meet with some very interesting people which I love! Really good way to make contacts and it makes the journey go so quick.
8. Love What You Do
Every morning on my way to work, I always look at the crowds of people going into huge office buildings ready to begin their 9-5 and always wonder how many of them are ACTUALLY happy. New York is a draining city, so you really do have to love what you’re doing here. It just won’t work otherwise. Personally, I work full time during the week and then do Retro Flame in the evenings and at the weekends and although it gets extremely busy, seeing as I love what I’m doing, I never mind. New York teaches you about what it is you actually want & love to do.
9. Hustle Beats Talent
And on the topic of a busy schedule, let’s talk about my favourite lesson learned. The fact that even in New York City, hard work comes out on top every single time. I’ve always loved being a bit of an underdog. I love a good challenge and making career/blog progress in New York was always going to be a big one. There is A LOT of talented people here wanting to do just as well as everyone else so the only way to beat them is to work harder. Very simple but very true.
Finally, if this year has taught me one main thing it’s that as scary as doing something on your own might be, it always works out in the end. (And if not, it’s not the end) I couldn’t even count all the emails I get from people asking for advice about moving here – where their main worry is the fact that they’ll be moving on their own. Yes it’s scary, but everything worthwhile is. I have always had so much respect for girls who put their own dreams & goals ahead of boyfriends, easy jobs and comfort. It’s something I won’t get into too much, but before I moved to New York, I was in a long-term (4 year) relationship. Moving here on my own was one of the weirdest & scariest things I have ever done but I knew that if I didn’t do it, it was always something I would regret. With the Graduate Visa, you only have a certain amount of time to obtain it, so it was a now or never type of situation. Timing is a tricky thing but you always have to go with your heart. If moving to New York or anywhere else is something you have ALWAYS wanted to do and is something you are genuinely passionate about, don’t let anybody or anything stop this from happening. It’s daunting, yes, but you’ll be so surprised at just how brave and able you will be. Everything happens for a reason.
Of course, there is a lot more to learn but I’m already very grateful for this much. For all things New York on a daily basis, feel free to follow along on Instagram (@retroflame) & Snapchat (@retroflame1).
Hope you’ve all had a great week!