Let’s face it: this city can be a bit overwhelming at times.
And by overwhelming I mean fast-paced, little-breathing-room, tight corners, constant activity, crowd-inducing side-walk rage, loneliness, and exhaustion. Oh, don’t get me wrong — it’s one of the most fabulous places in the world. It’s just a LOT. A lot lot lot lot lot. Of everything. To live here and love it, you have to really commit to being a fan of chaos.
And that works quite well for me. I like change, and frenetic activity, and lots of options. I like full days and a busy schedule and people to meet and talk to all around me. I like when things just seem alive.
Buuuut…in a city of this magnitude, you can easily feel lost at times, or have those moments of sudden tunnel vision where everything seems to press in around you and you feel so small, so uncertain, so singular.
That’s why you need to equip yourself with a good Survival Kit for life in the Big Apple.
Necessities in my personal Survival Kit include:
1. Amazing friends. I feel like a big part of my life story is that I’ve been so blessed with wonderful people everywhere I’ve gone and lived, and NYC is no exception. In a city where you can meet people left and right on a daily (and nightly) basis, it’s crucial to have a tight, small circle of your closests with whom to do life and share all the craziness. Thankfully, I have found some incredible, irreplaceable friends in this city, without whom my world wouldn’t be the same.
Girls’ nights are critical. You really can’t live here and stay sane without them.
2. Something that you do – and love – entirely for yourself, whether it be an activity, hobby, personal interest, etc, and on a regular basis. This is where running and working out comes in for me. I’ve become an avid morning runner/ gym girl, so I’m up by 6 or earlier every day, either pounding the pavement on the WSH or playing with kettlebells and free weights. If I didn’t start my days with some personal time, I think I’d go nuts. It’s so easy to get pulled into the current of the city as soon as you step outside, so you really have to be diligent and disciplined about setting aside some YOU time.
3. Love where you live. For me, this has been key. It’s important for me to have an apartment that serves as a sort of safe haven, a little “home,” and I’m lucky that my amazing roommate and I have managed to create that. We chose a neighborhood we liked, a building in which we felt safe and comfortable, and set up a cozy little environment to which we both love coming home. We’ve embraced our neighborhood and become familiar with our fave local restaurants, parks, running routes and stores, and we’re comfortable there. We all need a safe nook where we belong.
4. A great church. I know this is a personal thing, but I’m really happy to have found such an amazing church in Hillsong NYC and am hoping to get further involved and meet more people. It’s such an encouraging, vibrant atmosphere; a sanctuary tucked away from the rest of the hectic city pulsing outside, and for those brief hours spent there, you’re suspended from the rushing world and the pressures you face. I need this.
6. A gym. I probably wouldn’t survive without mine. I go to NYSC, which has over 100 locations total and literally can be found in every neighborhood in Manhattan. It’s certainly not the most upscale gym but it has everything I need, and we get a corporate rate, so it suits me juuuust fine.
7. Coffee. Lots of it.
8. An open mind, a ready smile, and a quick hello. Might sound cheesey…but trust me, these go a long way here. People are actually a lot friendlier than you’d expect, I’ve found; just because we’re all busy and rushing doesn’t mean we don’t care about each other. The best you can do is to remember that every person you pass has their own story, their own stuff, and a little kindness goes further than you think.