|You can never be too prepared for a move to New York City.|
As much as my move to New York City was relatively well planned, there was no way to predict what would happen once I had settled in. Having lived in London before coming here, once I’d arrived, there wasn’t anything that shocked me about the Big Apple. After all, NYC is a faster version of what I had already become accustomed to.
Still, no matter how prepared we may be for moving to NYC, there are certain ways in which the city affects us, like it or not. For better or worse, here are five ways I’ve changed since I arrived in 2011.
1. My career comes first.
My parents and best friends are exceptions to this, but the reason I moved to New York in the first place was to pursue my music career. In order to do so, I’ve given up the comforts of home to live in a city without any family, the financial stability of having a 9-to-5 job, and even a three-year relationship with the guy I thought was “the one.” Since I’ve sacrificed so much to make it here, it doesn’t make sense to give in to distractions or bow to societal pressures such as getting married and having kids. I have to stay focused on my career, enjoy my unique journey, and trust that my personal life will fall into place once the timing is right.
2. I am more independent.
I never experienced growing up with family members living in the same city, so I’m not the type who needs to have relatives around me. Since my parents live on the West Coast, I see them during Christmas, and that’s it. Although I’m fortunate enough to have a few amazing friends in NYC with me, we’re all working 60-plus hours every week and sometimes go a month without seeing each other. For some, that may sound like a lonely existence – but in reality, we’re just busy trying to reach our individual goals.
|New York is not the type of city where you can pussyfoot around.|
3. Being blunt is a virtue.
It may be difficult for some to imagine, but I used to be a shy little sweetheart. I’m not saying that I’m a raging tyrant who will punch someone in the face if they stomp on my Prada heels while riding the 6 train, but I’m much more direct when I speak to people. New York is not the type of city where you can pussyfoot around. You have to say what you mean and mean what you say, preferably in a somewhat respectful manner, and keep it moving.
The city can also be very intense, and if you shy away from speaking up, it’s easy to be taken advantage of. After several potential employers trying to sucker me into jobs that pay below minimum wage, people trying to take advantage of my “nice girl side,” and guys not being able to understand the polite version of “no,” I’ve become the type who just says it how it is, whether or not it’s what someone wants to hear.
4. I have zero tolerance for BS.
Question: What do fake sweet-talkers, self-entitled brats, drama queens, and flaky people all have in common? Answer: I don’t have time for any of them. I used to be somewhat willing to work around those personality types, but now, I can’t be bothered. Time is money, and I’m more cautious about how I spend it and with whom I spend it. I may have to deal with these people for business reasons here and there, but they’re absolutely banned from my personal life.
|New York allows NO time for BS. Period.|
5. Jaded, much?
New Yorkers are some of the most jaded individuals in the country. They have to be. When you live in such a diverse and crowded city, you’re bound to see some ridiculous things and interact with full-on crazy people on a regular basis. None of that fazes me anymore.
Case-in-point: I was walking home from my local watering hole at 2 a.m. a couple of years ago, when a man on the sidewalk said hello to me. I must have chatted with him for at least 30 seconds before I realized that his jeans were unzipped, and he was urinating into the street. Thinking nothing of it and not wanting to make a spectacle of the situation, I said good night and casually strolled into my building.
There’s a reason New York City is synonymous with the phrase “If I can make it here, I’ll make it anywhere.” This place is tough – and in order to survive and maintain some level of sanity, you have to learn to adapt to the surroundings. Deep down, I’d like to think that I’m still the same small-town island girl who grew up on Hawaii’s Kailua Beach. And, I am. However, in order to make the NYC lifestyle work for me, I had to adjust accordingly and toughen up.
|Think you can make it here? You’ll need to toughen up.|