"NYC, Just got here this morning" (Week 1)

It’s been 7 days since I arrived in New York City, and in that short time I’ve started my internship, gotten settled in my apartment, eaten some great food, and (of course) had some adventures. Over the course of all those adventures, I’ve gotten to reconnect with old friends who I haven’t seen in years. I’ve reminisced more than a 20-year-old probably should be able to, and I’ve genuinely had a great time with these people. And here’s why.

New York is the most isolating place on earth. If you’re not careful, the ugly monster of routine will leave you anti-social and anti-explorational, which I truly believe will lead you to a horrible and inevitable state of boredom. And as Eloise’s Nanny said (providing the inspiration for my quote-themed party favors at my 3rd grade birthday party), “Being bored is not allowed.”

So what do we do? We break routine. Well, as much as possible without going insane. I’ll be the first to tell you routine can be great. I have recently implemented a new and extensive morning routine that I really believe has changed my life (maybe I’ll do a post on that later?). But when it comes to my day to day activities, I am very careful to make sure I’m mixing things up. Especially after having spent the majority of this week in an office looking at a computer, I really want to be certain I’m finding time away from my screens. And outside of the 5-block radius around my apartment. And eating at more than just my favorite restaurant. The list goes on.

However. I’ll admit that hanging out with people was not my first idea when it came to breaking my routine. As a total introvert, I cherish my alone time and rarely go out of my way to be surrounded by people. But, as I realized today, that’s because I usually don’t have to. Maybe it’s because I’m used to my school environment, maybe it’s because I’ve never lived alone, but I really don’t have to make an effort to run into people on the street or at the coffee shop around the corner. But that’s just not the culture here. In a city of 8.6 million people, it can’t be.

So the city forces us to do all the work ourselves: to make the coffee dates, to ride the train all the way to Brooklyn, to walk through Central park because there’s no convenient way to get from the west side to the east side. And to me, that effort makes those interactions with old friends so much more meaningful. Actively choosing to spend time with someone is so rewarding, especially when it’s not in a place either of you are willing to call “home” yet. I’ve gotten to explore the city with friends from all over the country, and our shared experience of trying new things or going to new places never gets old. I think it’s the closest we can come to playing like children. And who doesn’t love that?

All that to say, I love this city. I love the people in it. I love the way our metaphorical distance in such an overwhelming place pushes us closer together. And thank goodness we can never run out of things to do here… or at least I hope I never choose to. Have a wonderful day :)

NYCReagan Casteel