A year ago I was sitting on my bed in a 250-square-foot studio apartment as tears filled my eyes. I left my tribe in Florida to take on Manhattan. This year has gone by faster than I could blink those tears away. There are endless places to visit on this concrete island and infinite nearby destinations to wander. I’ve learned more than I can comprehend. Some lessons were harder than others – like remembering to check the weather before going grocery shopping. Walking 7 blocks home through the rain with 4 paper Trader Joe’s bags was not fun.
These three lessons learned over the past year are ones I will carry throughout life.
The first is learning to let go of things. Learning to minimize is still a constant struggle. I didn’t consider myself to be a hoarder until I realized how much stuff will not fit into 250-square-feet. Surrounded by the biggest billboards and advertisements in the world propels you to hone in on the feeling of wanting the new “it” thing. I’ve gotten over this need to constantly want every product in sight. Manhattan’s grandeur is always ostentatiously in my face. It’s taught me to appreciate a quiet, simple home. Start to minimize things and maximize life.
There are thousands of events going on every day in the city and absolutely no way to join in all of them. From a free concert in Central Park to a mini-vacation to Montauk weekend options are often ubiquitous. I can’t be in two places at once and I’ve picked up the habit of saying, “no thanks” to events. A handful of people I’ve met are not my cup of tea and that’s okay. The New York lifestyle gives you a comfortable confidence to opt out of events and people that don’t fit your disposition.
The last lesson is to always, always have a bucket list. It’s easy to feel lazy after a 50 hour work week. Leaving the apartment may be the last thing on your mind. A quick glance at my bucket list reminds me of all I have yet to explore. In place of throwing on Netflix during a rainy evening I’m able to grab an uber to one of the museums on the list. Keep these adventure ideas on your phone to add any new ideas you overhear.
This overwhelming city has taught me to slow down and let go. Stop buying needless things and spending money on events you don’t want attend. Make room in your wallet and time to fully enjoy your bucket list and life.