Whoa. Living in New York City for three years was an insane whirlwind. Looking back on it, I’m still exhausted by the lifestyle I had. But I feel like I totally grew up and learned some of the most important lessons of my life while I was there. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how living in New York was a crash course on life – I thought I'd share some of the lessons I learned that I now apply to my new life back in the Midwest:
There’s room for everyone.
New York City and its dwellers have a reputation for being cut-throat and competitive. While I definitely did see and experience my fair share of shady behavior, I also saw a lot of really supportive people. Even though there may be 5 million fashion bloggers in the city, everyone brought something different to the table – there was room for everyone, and people acted accordingly. It was really cool to see so many talented people being supportive of one another whether it was through social media, a nice email, attending an event, etc. Everyone brings something unique to the table; don't push anyone away, just scoot over.
We’re all the same.
I met a lot of different people in New York. From Uber drivers, to entrepreneurs, to doormen, to fashion editors – we are not that different. We all just want to love, be loved, be happy, and find something to passionate about. If you think about it that way, it's easier for us to all get along.
Small gestures go a long way.
A thank you note, a thoughtful email, candy, and flowers are some of the most important things you can give someone. They go a long way. Longer than you would think.
I’m not even kidding you, start throwing everything away. When I moved from Queens to Brooklyn, I had to majorly downsize what I already thought was only a few possessions. My husband and I lived in a studio apartment for two years, and we were stuffed to the brim in there at all times. I learned to only keep what you really need. Extra stuff just starts to feel heavy. Start throwing away junk and donating the rest – it's the greatest feeling in the world.
Live your life for yourself.
A tiny part of me moved to NY out of defiance because so many people said I couldn’t. But guess what, those people didn’t care that I moved to NYC. They didn’t care that I nabbed my dream job directly out of school. They didn’t care about my successes, or that I sat behind Paris Hilton at the Betsey Johnson fashion show, or that Arianna Huffington kissed me when we interviewed her for an episode of a podcast. Those people don’t care because they really only care about their lives. I stayed in New York, because I loved it, and because it was my dream, and because I wanted to.
Treat yo’ self.
No joke, NYC is expensive. But people there love to treat themselves. While I couldn’t hop on over to Gucci and pick up a new handbag, I could go get a manicure every once in awhile. And I could stop and grab beautiful flowers from a bodega. And I could splurge on a candle every now and then. Starbucks, flowers, candles, and manicures are now synonymous with my time in New York. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Nobody knows what they’re doing.
Honestly, we’re all just faking our way through life. Even the most pulled-together, successful people in NYC. If you pretend like you know what you’re doing, people will believe you. This is true whether you’re running a company or walking into a fancy restaurant with a purpose just to use their bathroom.
Life needs balance.
I did not have a balanced life in NYC, and it really took its toll. Now that I’m back in Wisconsin, my life is more varied and way more interesting and engaging.
Be more adventurous and try new things.
Because why not? How boring and uncultured and sad would life be if you always did the same things all the time? Spice. It. Up. YOLO.
- Trust your gut.
It's always right.