Lately, I’m finding myself more on the hate side of the cliché love-hate relationship with New York City, and none of my friends who have lived here for more than four years seem too surprised.
Once you’ve passed the two-year mark “living” in New York City (see also “scraping by,” “surviving” and “hemorrhaging money”), that doe-eyed, studying-abroad kind of feeling starts to dull. A lot. It’s kind of like a relationship gone stale (or abusive, even). You want to leave, but you know if you make it over this hump, things could be really, really great.
So how does one reignite that love for the city that has a way of making you sob during your G train commute home to your shitty, overpriced apartment on a daily basis? Simply go back to the beginning, of course – do what you did when you were fresh off the boat.
TIPS FOR STARTING OVER NOW
If your story’s like mine, you were actually fresh off a six-hour plane ride and sweating profusely from hauling three giant suitcases up your friend’s stairs, embarrassed that you’re meeting an apartment full of new people looking like a hot, ignorant mess. But after that was all said and done, I literally started my life over – I set on a journey of buying all new furniture and meeting all new people.
And it’s possible to start over now, in small ways, without having to completely alter your life with a new job, new apartment and new (or no) relationship.
Rearrange, redecorate, feng shui
Whether it’s braving IKEA for the second time in your New York City existence (for the love of god, do not go on a Saturday when you’re hungover) or buying a new bed set, new accent table or new wine glasses, purchasing something – anything – to make you feel like an adult and brighten up your living space is bound to help.
Say yes to everything
Remember when you were, like, so eager to meet new people and had extreme FOMO any time you weren’t able to do something? From going to that work happy hour to getting brunch with your roommate’s friends, it’s likely you did everything in your power to be a part of it all when you were new here.
Now, those of us suffering from city burn-out are more likely to hole up in our rooms and pass on opportunities that may bring us unexpected surprises (networking connections, potential love interests or maybe just a conversation we needed to have with a real person – and not a bag of Hershey’s Kisses and a jar of peanut butter – that night). Although it can get tiring, adopt that will-do-any-and-everything attitude again and see if it helps.
Get out, get lost
Walk around – even if it’s traversing a neighborhood you know like the back of your hand; if there’s even the slightest good memory associated with it, walk it out. Listen to a song that makes you feel pumped up and powerful while you look up at the skyscrapers around you and remember, If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. And you came here for a reason, after all.
If you’re totally burned out on the same old places, go somewhere new. Take the 6 train up a little further than you normally would and walk around Harlem. Yelp some donut shops or taco joints and maybe you’ll find a new favorite eatery. Just get out of your own head and start pounding some pavement. There’s no better city to do it in.
Meet someone new
Especially if you’re hung up on someone who’s stopped giving you the time of day – as is typical of dating in this transitory city – try one of the many how-about-we-bagel-with-cupid mish-mosh of dating apps that exist out there. In a city of 9 million people, there’re a lot of weirdoes, yes, but there are also a lot of normal people in the same boat, with whom to commiserate.
Join a new gym, a social-sports team or just go to a bar by yourself (for whatever reason, little Irish bars are best for this). Just start talking to someone who doesn’t already know all of your shit, and you’ll probably feel a little bit better. Hell, make up an alias and just go with it for a night.
Go to a Broadway show, take a spin on the Circle Line, pay the $29 to visit the Top of the Rock. Spend a day at the MoMA or Natural History Museum, soak up some sun on the Great Lawn in Central Park if it’s summer or try your best to stay upright on ice skates if it’s winter. Shit, ride a site-seeing bus and probably learn some cool things (because, despite what you think, you NYC veteran, you don’t know everything there is to know about the city). Do what the tourists do and remember why this place is so damn cool.
If all else fails, treat yo’self
Get that blow out at the ridiculously overpriced salon and pair it with a dirt-cheap mani-pedi in the East Village. Indulge at the wine bar and frivolously dine at a steakhouse in Midtown. You are worth it, dammit.
Because if new designer heels that cause you to sprain your ankle walking through Meatpacking are going to make you feel better for even a little bit, then Godspeed to you.