Every year, people move to New York City by the thousands. On the flipside, there are also many individuals – myself included – who end up moving away from the city, whether it’s by choice or by circumstance. While it can be difficult to leave such a vibrant corner of the country where it feels like we have the whole world at our fingertips, there’s no use wallowing in sorrow and perpetual “homesickness for New York.” Life goes on and finding the bright side of leaving NYC will make our time outside Gotham that much happier and more productive. I left New York in May and here’s what I’ve discovered so far.
An opportunity to recuperate.
There are plenty of relaxing spots around the Big Apple, but sometimes we need to change environments entirely to recover from all that big city stress. I’d like to think of my time away from NYC as the ultimate retreat, where it’s all about resting, healing, and relishing in the opportunity to just “be” for a while.
An appreciation for my old stomping grounds.
I’ve always said I prefer the East Coast, but I returned to the Seattle area with a new perspective and decided to approach my old stomping grounds like a tourist. Recently, my friend Bekki visited for a BFF road trip up to the Olympic Peninsula and the San Juan Islands. We explored several places I hadn’t been to before – from Cape Flattery to Olympic National Park. We even took a boat and spent an incredible afternoon hanging out with Orca whales in the wild.
After all these years claiming Washington State was “so boring,” I’ll be the first to admit that it’s one of the most naturally stunning regions I’ve seen in the world. And because the time I’ve spent, I have a new appreciation for the Pacific Northwest.
An opportunity to explore other interests.
Now that I’m not working 100 hours every week to pay a ridiculous amount of rent (only to be left penniless once the bills were paid), I finally have a chance to explore other interests. My days currently consist of regular workouts, eating everything from our massive veggie garden, working on an original piano composition, planning my next adventure abroad, volunteering at my local animal shelter, and getting my PADI license for scuba diving. Oh, and I still work full-time.
The fact that I was missing out on all these other areas of life while struggling to stay in NYC is insane. I’m still adjusting, as it’s weird to transition from doing things for basic survival to doing things purely for enjoyment. But it’s also exciting when I think of the possibilities.
Time to reevaluate and strategize.
Hindsight is 20/20, and I finally figured out why it was so difficult for me to do a total overhaul of my life while living in the city. I’m the type who can’t focus enough to evaluate my situation and come up with a new life strategy with the constant noise, interruptions, and stress that comes with the NYC territory. (I can’t properly analyze my goals when my brain is freaking out about how I’m going to pay this month’s phone bill.) Now that I’m gradually calming down mentally and emotionally, it’s much easier to think and see clearly.
The way to get back on track.
Everyone in New York has their struggles, and life there often comes with some unforeseen challenges. Maybe it’s a divorce, a huge career setback, losing an apartment, living with a horrible roommate, or financial struggles that end up killing your credit score. For us New York City transplants, returning home can be our best bet for getting our lives back on track. And the bright side of leaving NYC is that we can always go back when the timing is right.