While I would happily spend this entire blog post talking about travel and all of the reasons I love it and how happy I am that you had a positive experience on your journey, I must remember the initial purpose of this blog pen pal project- to talk about how we both have grown and changed from our life-changing journey's.
For those late to the game- Stephanie quit her job and went traveling all summer. I (temporarily) quit traveling and got a job. We've just heard what Stephanie has learned by galavanting around Europe, so now it is my turn to talk about what I have learned by working the 9-to-5 (the 10-to-7 in my case). To start out, I should say that I am well aware that I am a drama queen for talking about moving to New York City to work in the film industry as "mundane" and "settling." I try to remember that when I talk about this time in my life in a few years in a hostel in Sri Lanka, all of the Aussie's and Kiwis around me will be impressed and say things like, "Omg how cool you lived in NY!" and "I wish I could move there. That must have been amazing!" I will explain to them that, yes it was but for x and x reason, I am now here in a hostel in Sri Lanka drinking a cocktail and am relived to no longer commute from a subway station that smells like urine. They will nod and then say something like, "That sounds like something a cool, hip New Yorker would say." Because I do understand it. A cornerstone of living in New York is complaining about living in NY. In fact, I am quite convinced that everyone who lives here has at one time been miserable in NY. Eventually, some of the miserable people leave while the others discover the smallest bit of happiness (or become millionaires) and think, well I am not as miserable as I was before. I guess I've made it.
Armed with a new daydream of future me at a beach hostel in Sri Lanka, I have set out to make the best of my time in NY, however long that might be. My grandma says everyone needs to live in NY for one year max (she ended up staying for two because she ran out of time to go to the opera the first year). There is no shame in realizing that I might be apart of the group of people that "don't survive" here. I can still have a truly amazing and life-changing time here, filled with stories that I'll one day tell to different people on another patch of the planet, even if I don't end up dying in a penthouse on the Upper West Side. So, what have I learned so far? Let's make a list.
- Everything takes time: finding a job, adjusting to that job, waiting in line for a bagel.
- Having limited time in a day helps you discover your priorities quickly. In my case, I seem to have put watching TV high on my list and going to the gym low. I am working to change this. It's good to know your faults and how to adjust.
- Doing something you don't overly care for helps you realize what you do care for. I always knew I loved traveling and spending time in nature, but in not doing much of either of those things for four months I've started to rethink how to prioritize my passions in life, both in the short term and long term.
- Making use of every second of day. I am going to be honest, I thought talking about how "fast paced" NY was just something moms say when they don't want you to move to NY. I didn't realize it actually meant NY is FAST.PACED. When you barely have a second to breath between commuting, work, after work work, and working out (IM TRYING), you learn to utilize your time better. I, for example, have gotten over my fear of getting carsick on the subway and have started reading on the train and I've already read three books during my commute. It's my favorite part of the day (they've all been non-fiction books about women going on travel adventures, because I'm a cliché).
- It's okay to be unhappy and then happy then depressed and ready to quit your job- all in one day.
- Sometimes you've gotta be a weekend warrior- attempting to stock up on happiness before a long week of unhappiness. It is okay to not be happy all the time but you do have to be happy sometime. And the truth is, when you are a bit unhappy, it makes the happy moments that much sweeter.
And for all those people who say "NY IS THE GREATEST CITY ON THE PLANET," well- that is just textbook Stockholm Syndrome. There are no facts to back up this claim. And you probably don't travel much.