I’ve done it, you guys.
I’ve survived. I saw a rat and it didn’t eat me and I can get on the subway without the doors closing on my backpack now! Isn’t this all so exciting?
As hopefully you noticed by now, I moved to New York two weeks ago.
Geaz. I hope you noticed I was gone. That would be really shitty of you to not have noticed that kind of thing.
As the excitement of the first weeks winds down and I find my routine, I’ve been reflecting a lot on what I’ve learned in this short amount of time. It has been the most humbling, exciting, and terrifying 14 days of my life. Here are the biggest lessons I’ve learned so far:
1. Don’t go to Target for produce. Okay, or for anything really. I know this is hard since you’ve been handing 60% of your income to Target for about 15 years now. But really, just avoid Targets, okay?
2. It is easy to convince yourself on your first grocery shopping excursion that you can just take one backpack and fill it up with food and be fine. Please note that by the time you leave the three different grocery stores needed to get adequate food, you will have accumulated one large, human-sized bag in addition to your over-stuffed backpack that you must carry on the subway by yourself hoping to God you don’t recreate that scene from Home Alone where the bag of groceries rips in the street and reveals that he’s not a real grown up after all.
3. Sometimes it’s just too damn peopley outside.
4. Other times you will enjoy seeing hundreds of thousands of people and feeling like they are all tiny mysteries with their own stories to tell.
5. But if there’s ever a deadly outbreak of a disease you’re going to absolutely die first because you come into contact with 7 billion people every single day.
6. Leaving the house without a cellphone charger is pretty much a death sentence.
7. It’s not impossible to have kids in New York. I’ve seen a single mother of five well-behaved and beautiful children on a subway train at 10 p.m. and it may have been past all of our bedtimes, but they handled it like total champs.
8. Buzzfeed will not let you upstairs to “see Dan” if you don’t have a legitimate interview.
9. Most places will not let you upstairs to see “Dan,” “Tim,” or even “Katherine who you emailed that one time” without a legitimate interview.
10. It’s extremely annoying when people ask you: “So how many interviews have you been on?” and you have to explain to them items 8 and 9.
11. It’s less emotionally defeating to just email or call to follow up on a job even if your whole life you thought “showing your face” was the quickest way to receive employment and prove your worth in society.
12. It is entirely possible to sweat through denim jeans. Or denim shirts. Or denim anything. Jesus, why are you wearing denim anything you sociopath, it’s TOO HEAVY A FABRIC.
13. There are those who can stand up on subway cars without holding onto anything…and then there’s me.
14. Automated hand dryers are very useful in the event of arriving to a fancy digital media business and learning in the bathroom that you’ve sweat so hard that it looks as though someone has dumped a bucket of water on your back.
15. If a receptionist has no recollection of your repetitive email correspondence she will ask you if you “want a sticker” to try to get you to leave her desk. If that doesn’t work, a dog will come in and everyone will surround that dog and you will be forced to leave with your stupid sticker because at this point your odds of getting anyone’s attention are negative one billion.
16. Some subways are air conditioned. Most are not.
17. New sweat glands that never existed before open up when you move to New York.
18. Shoes that you could wear comfortably for an entire day now feel like constricting metal death vices filled with shards of glass. Or like an oven mitt that’s been set on fire and then filled with Legos. I’m trying to find a fancy way to describe this and it’s kind of going south but you get the idea: SHOES HURT.
19. Due to #17, blisters are a thing.
20. Nexcare Foot Tape will save your life and you will never leave the house without it again.
21. Sometimes people in Brooklyn double park onto the sidewalk.
22. It’s not creepy to make silly faces at a baby on the subway as long as you do it for five stops or less.
23. The Statue of Liberty is not nearly as big as she looks on TV. Plus she’s got some man hands.
24. Don’t fall for the “Subway Sob Story” which usually begins with a strangely dressed man and the words, “Attention Good People of the L Train –”
25. While you kind of feel bad for the person in item #24, you find it hard to believe Steve’s girlfriend would have dumped him and kicked him to the curb after learning his 4-year-old daughter was diagnosed with hemorrhoids and is in need of immediate butt surgery.
26. Headphones are the easiest way to avoid awkward people on the subway.
27. Even though you easily catalog 50,000 steps a day, you will retain your muffin top. Because cheese and sugary wines are still your best friends and most mortal of enemies.
28. Listening in to conversations will become your newest and most favorite hobby. *Thick New York accent* “Listen, Jerry. I got this cheeseburger, kay? Are you listening? Kay, I got this cheeseburger. Took a bite. Jerry, I took a bite. Sour.”
29. Seeing trash on every street becomes normal and doesn’t smell so bad if you just walk faster.
30. You must resist the urge to scream, “HEY, I’M WALKIN’ HERE” every moment of every day because a taxicab will try to run you down at any opportunity and will not find your witty antics funny nor will they stop their vehicle.
31. Calling your mother daily is absolutely necessary and actually comforting.
32. If you don’t drink enough water you might as well go buy a shovel and start digging yourself an early grave.
33. Guys on Tinder in New York will offer you to come to their apartment after exchanging approximately five words with you. Or less.
34. Bars have a $20 minimum on credit cards.
35. When you see a rat, it is customary to leap off of a park bench and into an oncoming crowd of people.
36. Sometimes when you go to check out a hip new “start up” in the city, you may come to find that the people at the address listed have never heard of this place and when you try to email the HR department that you’ve been in contact with for several months, that email might bounce back at you and also tell you that this place doesn’t exist.
37. If you find an apartment under $700 dollars, the neighborhood will have a cop car on every corner and the people scheduled to show you around will conveniently have forgotten that you scheduled to see the place. Take this as a sign and proceed to the nearest subway station and never look back.
38. Going to an improv class is the quickest way to make new friends who will gladly walk you to your subway station and ride along with you to make sure you reach home safely.
39. People in New York are not as mean as the reputations that precede them. Each and every one of them went through the same ordeal of finding legitimate employment and housing. They know things that you don’t know. And 99% of them are willing to help you in any way they can.
40. Your parents and loved ones will question your choice to come here most days, but deep down are supportive and loving and excited that you’re doing this.
41. You will also question your choice to come here most days. But deep down you want to piss yourself in excitement every time you see a cool building or walk through Central Park.
42. Google Maps is not great at navigating through Central Park so it’s often necessary to rely on your own (skewed) sense of direction. Or your friend with a flip phone that keeps questioning why Google would take us that way. Or that way. Hey, aren’t we just going in circles?
43. Ellis Island is absolutely amazing but you must beat the Boy Scouts to get on the Ferry. If you time it just right, you can see the entire museum before noon and leave just as 12,000,000 people are coming off of more and more boats making you wonder if you’ve accidentally entered a time machine and are actually in the year 1901 and in line to get your eyelids pulled on by a scary metal tool to check for trachoma.
44. You can get into The Museum of Modern Art for free by being really nice to the receptionist and getting her to feel bad for you that you came all the way into the city to give your resumé to Human Resources and they “don’t work on the weekends.” Proceed to wander around MoMa for the next three hours enjoying the air conditioning and getting to see Picasso’s, Pollock’s, and Warhol’s.
45. It’s completely acceptable to sit at Tompkin’s Square Park listening to Mumford & Son’s song “Tompkin’s Square Park” and cry while you eat your lunch in broad day light because of that one person you miss back at home.
46. Getting anywhere in under an hour feels too good to be true. And probably is.
47. It’s easier than ever before to feel inspired in this place. All of a sudden, you are surrounded by creatives, entrepreneur’s, and hustler’s that make you want to be the best version of yourself.
48. Sometimes you worry if you’ll ever get to that best version of yourself.