What I've Learned From 5 Years Of Living In New York City

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Five years ago on this exact day, I finally moved to New York City, something I’d been dreaming about doing for as long as I could remember. Growing up in the New Jersey suburbs, New York always felt like the place I would end up. It was close to home, but it was endlessly more exciting, and conveniently enough for me, the industry I wanted to work in was primarily located in New York.

It’s hard to explain in just a few words what this city has come to mean to me. From the moment I first visited when I was little I felt instantly connected to it in a way that I never felt anywhere else and I wake up thankful every day that I get to call it my home. It’s the place I feel most confident, most creative, and most motivated to get up and do what I love. It hasn’t all been glamourous—I’ve pushed racks of heavy clothes down Seventh Avenue, cried on the subway (multiple times!), have sweated through a summer of an apartment that didn’t have AC, and probably many more embarrassing things. I’ve been laid off, I’ve had my heart broken, and I’ve grown apart from close friends. But I wouldn’t be who I am now without all of that and I’m weirdly grateful that everything has happened the way that it has because it brought me to here, to right now.

When Keep Calm and Chiffon first started, it was a little bit more of a stream of consciousness (and the recent post on stream of consciousness on one of my favorite blogs Life According to Francesca, which you should all go read, got me thinking about this again) and I thought rather than try to make definitive statements or come to any concrete conclusion, I’d share some little nuggets that have stuck out to me over the years instead. Because the thing about New York is you’ll never know everything about it, and the constant possibility to discover new parts about it is one of the things I love the most.

Carrie Bradshaw was right: “In New York, you’re always looking for a job, a boyfriend, or an apartment.”

Things always happen when you least expect them to.

This city will knock you down and it’s up to you to get yourself back up.

If you leave 30 minutes early you’ll be early. If you leave on time, you’ll be 15 minutes late. Thanks MTA.

When you find good roommates, hold on to them for dear life.

Trust the universe, everything will fall into place.

New York is smaller than you think—be nice to everyone because you may run into them on the subway.

Sometimes you have to leave the city for a while to remember why you love it. Travel a lot and know that the city will always take you back.

Staying in can be (way) better than going out.

Heels may seem like a cute idea with your outfit but unless you can walk around in them on cobblestones and over subway grates for more than three hours, wear flats.

The only apps you need are Lyft and Seamless.

If you have too many drinks get yourself some dollar slice pizza and a bottle of water so that the next morning isn’t awful.

Even if you hate them, go to a networking event to meet new people who work in your industry.

Get an AC unit for the summer months. End of story.

Photographs by Jessie Alcheh | Follow Jessie on Instagram

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Austen