Around this time last year, to mark the end of my first 6 months in New York, I shared 11 truths of living in NYC. One year on a lot has changed and, as you can imagine, I’ve discovered a lot more about this crazy city.
It’s hard to believe I’ve been living here for over 18 months. In a way it seems like so much longer since I hopped on that plane on my own (seriously, was I crazy??) and moved across the Atlantic. In another way, it’s hard to believe I’ve already been here for over a year and a half.
The reality of living in New York is a little different than you imagine. Some things are better and some things are completely mad, but here are few things I’ve noticed in my time here…
1. You Are What You Eat
Food is a major part of life in New York. Eating out is the norm and there seems to be some new mouth-wateringly sugary temptation at every corner. Sounds like the dream right? Eeeemmmmm maybe not, as I found out the hard way last summer. There is sugar in absolutely EVERYTHING over here. Pizza, bread, crisps, you name it and it’s this hidden kind that’s the worst!
Before I moved to New York, I had always been quite the healthy eater without even trying. I think we take for granted just how good and fresh our food is in Ireland (bread or milk that stays in date for 3 weeks is just not natural!). When I moved here my diet changed to align more with NYC life (I don’t think I cooked once for the first 9 months) and with the difference in food (hidden sugar, added hormones), I got sick, REAL sick (more about that in this post)!! It all stemmed from the food I was eating, so I had to completely revamp my diet and eat clean for 3 whole months!! I used to live on sugar and I had to give it up completely, I couldn’t drink, have dairy, or wheat… I thought I was going to die! I didn’t (thank god!) but the experience really opened my eyes to just how important it is to know what you are eating (I do still indulge in a lil treat here there too).
2. You’ve Got To Value Yourself
This was the biggest thing I took from my J1 year. When I moved to New York, I didn’t value myself, my skills, my PhD, my experience, my blog, my knowledge, anything and I am so mad at myself for it. What they don’t tell you about the J1 visa is that it is tough to get a job in your field for a number of reasons. The main one is that you are on a 1 year visa and most companies don’t like hiring people on a visa. This is not to say it can’t happen… It does, but it’s one thing that doesn’t work in our favour.
Like most people who come here on the year long J1, I was so ecstatic to get offered a job in my field that I jumped at it and said yes, rather holding out for something more suitable to me. I think this could be a little to do with the fact I’m Irish too. We never want to ask for more or seem too big for our boots (cue the inevitable ‘who does she think she is?’), so I took whatever came my way without any hesitation! Anyway, it was a learning experience (just like daily life in New York) and I’ll never under value myself ever again.
3. You Need To Take A Break
From both the city and well life! Until recently, I would be overcome with a feeling of guilt if I stayed at home at the weekend and didn’t get out to explore the city. While I love being out and about and love nothing more than discovering a new part of New York, sometimes you just need those days where you relax and do absolutely nothing.
You also need a break from New York. Just last week when I got back from Boston, one of the first things I was told when I went back to work was that I looked a lot more refreshed! New York is a crazy place where you’re always on. The days are jam packed and there’s always something to do, so you really do need to escape the city every now and again to truly unwind. Last summer we took a good few trips (Miami, Cape Cod, The Hamptons, Fire Island) and I’m hoping this year will be the same.
4. Leaving Makes Coming Back Even Better
As good as it is to get a break from the city… There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when you come back to New York. I think leaving New York makes you appreciate the place even more.
5. You Need A Good Gang Of Friends
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… Having good friends in New York is the key to surviving here. Living here is amazing but it isn’t easy. Even though it’s the city that never sleeps, it can be one of the most lonely places in the world. Then there’s days where you find yourself missing home for absolutely no reason. This is where having a good gang of friends makes all the difference. No matter what you’re going through, they’re always gonna be there to cheer you up and they’ve probably felt the same way at some point too, so they can totally relate.
6. And To Know Your Strengths
This is something Erika said to me about a year ago, and also something Gary Vee (who I’ve been following religiously for about 5 years now!) always says. Know what you’re good at and if there’s something you don’t love or have a passion for, delegate it to someone who does. For me this applies when it comes to shooting and editing posts for my blog. I do love photography and getting amazing pictures, but it’s not my forte and I don’t have the time it needs to become really good at it. I had the time to invest when I lived at home and I tried to do it all for so long after I moved here. However, rather than helping me, it was hindering my ability to publish regular blog posts. This is where Edelle comes in. I started working with her earlier this year and not only has the quality of my images majorly improved, but she has also made my life SO much easier.
7. Your Wardrobe Will Become A Shrine To Monochrome
Before I moved to New York I was a major fan of colour! I still love colour and you’ll see me add pops of colour here and there in my looks, but my wardrobe is now mainly a shrine to black, white and any neutral colour. Personally, I find these colours so simple and easy! You’re always on the go in New York and don’t have a lot of time to be worrying about what you’re gonna wear. This is where a wardrobe of neutrals is super handy. No matter what look you throw on in the morning, you’ll always look put together.
8. It’s Completely Acceptable To Drink Anytime, Anywhere
This may sound funny coming from an Irish person, but I think it’s kinda funny how no matter what time of the day, or day of the week, it’s completely acceptable to have a drink. It’s also pretty normal to eat absolutely anything at any time of the day… That means pizza for breakfast, cereal for dinner and everything and anything in between.
9. You Will Never Have Enough $$$
In last year’s post I said you’re always broke here. This year my thinking has changed to – you will never have enough money. No matter what you earn in New York, you’ll make it work. Regardless of how little you earn, you’ll find a way to get by. It seems that the more you earn, the more easily you’ll find a way to spend it. And boy can New York help you find a way to spend your hard earned $$$.
10. You Have To Do Your Time…
New York is all about the hustle and if you’re willing to work hard it will pay off. But don’t expect that you’re gonna come here and everything will fall into place. One thing my friend Raymond said to me shortly I after I moved here (and had a crappy job that I hated!) was that in New York everyone does their time. It’s so true!
When you move here New York doesn’t care who you are. You may have to do the unpaid internship or work for $10 an hour and be completely broke for the first while. It will be VERY hard and you’ll be broke but if you stick it out and are willing to work extremely hard, it’ll all work out. I always tell people it all works out in the end and it really does. I know they think it’s easy for me to say because I have the important things (a job and an apartment) but they forget that I’ve been there, done that and know exactly how it feels. I hate to sound cheesy but, there’s a reason they say “if you can make it here, you’ll make it anywhere!”
11. It Will Age You
Like I’ve already said, New York is a tough place and it ages you… A LOT! When I was home at Christmas I was less than impressed when I wasn’t IDed going into a nightclub for the first time EVER! But to be fair, I went home with bags under my eyes and I’m sure a few new lines here and there. This really made me think about the effort I was putting into looking after my skin… And it wasn’t a lot. So one of my mini new year’s resolutions was to get better with my skincare. I’ve already started by investing in a few new beauty bits and I’ve started using eye cream too (blog post en route!)
12. New York Gets Smaller By The Day
I never cease to be amazed when I randomly bump into people in New York. Some people find it hard to believe this happens, but bumping into people (not literally obvs) in the street or when you’re out and about happens a lot more often than you’d think.
13. It Will Never Get Old
If I ever feel myself starting to take this city for granted, I find a way to check myself. If you follow my Snapchat (@lcscloset) you’ll see my many many snaps of The Empire State Building. I see it every single day and it never gets old. The views of the city, the buzz, the feeling you get when you’re in a cab, Central Park, walking the Brooklyn Bridge, I could go on and on… It just never gets old. 🙂
If you don’t already, be sure to follow me on Instagram and Snapchat (lcscloset) to keep up to date with my adventures in New York (and beyond!). They’re the two places you’ll find me most often.
Have a great week,
p.s. The subway still has an amazingly unique ability to ruin your life.