Friday, August 26, 2016

What I’ve Learned from 8 Years Living in NYC

Like many others, I spent my childhood dreaming of NYC. I grew up in Westchester County, the suburbs of New York City, in a small town that always felt boring and claustrophobic to me. My dream came true when I was accepted to NYU and moved into my Manhattan dorm at the ripe age of 18. I still remember how terrified I felt that first night of college. I was filled with this insane and irrational fear that I would never learn my way around the city and would forever be confused about which way was East or West. It blew my mind that people knew how to get anywhere on the subway.

It’s been almost 8 years since I moved here for college and I’ve thankfully learned my way around both above and below ground. As hard, exhausting and expensive as this city can be, I know it’s where I was meant to live. It’s where theater lives and breathes. It’s where the fitness scene is booming. It’s where I can get a Starbucks soy chai on practically every corner. Most importantly, it’s the place I dreamed about since I was a kid.

As Frank Sinatra once sang, if I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere, and in my 8 years living here I’ve learned a lot about myself and city dwelling.

A long walk can fix everything
One of my favorite things about NYC is that it’s a walking paradise. In theory you can walk from the northern tip of Manhattan to the southern tip with no issues… except that it might take you a few hours.

I love this about NYC because walking heals everything. In a bad mood? Go for a walk. In a great mood? Go for a walk. Feeling lonely? Go for a walk. Need to get away from people? Go for a walk.

Alone is not lonely

One of the best things I’ve learned while living in New York is how to be alone and independent. I’ve become really comfortable doing things on my own, such as checking out a new restaurant or going to see a Broadway show solo.

Knowing how to be alone and independent is such an important skill. Yes, I’m calling it a skill.

I also now know that alone does not mean lonely. I have a boyfriend. I have good friends that I grab dinner with after work. So while I know how to be alone, it’s rarely ever lonely.


You have to grow thick skin
It’s true. This city will eat you alive if you let it. In any given day I’ll see a lot of nasty things, a lot of disturbing things, ignore people that come up to me, brush off rude comments from strangers, and avoid eye contact with canvassers asking if I care about gay rights because I’m in a rush or don’t feel like talking to anyone.

While maybe this place has made me calloused and the slightest bit bitter, it has also made me a more resilient person. That part of being a New Yorker is something I’m proud of.

About the Author

Kayla Kleinman is an NYC based marketing professional and fitness fanatic. She is an NASM certified personal trainer with an intense love for boutique fitness, musical theater and flying trapeze. Check out her health and fitness blog Kayla in the City and follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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