Well… here we are. It’s been a week since my send-off, and already I can feel things are changing. The girl who started out as an optimistic go-getter has already turned into a ball of stress. The girl who thought she could handle heat has been sweating through her clothes. I’ve wished for a bigger purse and a lighter purse simultaneously. I’ve already woken up with a hangover from hell, and my butt already hurts from seeing all these walk-up apartments. Even now, just after the first move, I’m already smarter than I was before.
We all dreamed about moving up and moving on to the big city when we were young (at least, I did. If you didn’t… I don’t really know what to tell you) but! did anyone tell you????
You cannot trade your optimism for anything of monetary value!!!
You need a plan!! Learn from me and cast some safety nets before you do a stupid thing! I up-and-moved without a job or a place to live. This terrified my family, but I somehow remained calm right until I touched down at JFK. Then I totally lost my mind, and I needed a plan.
(All of these things hold true unless, of course, you’re trading your optimism/personality/skills/soul for a job, in which case I hate you for finding gainful employment so easily. Even so, some of these tips for the first move might apply to you.)
I stand by this tip regardless of whether you’re packing for your honeymoon or that fabled first move. You’ll be so upset having to haul your six bags from uptown to downtown to the suburbs/to hell that you won’t even be able to appreciate the thigh-high boots you brought “in case it gets cold in July.” That’s what FedEx is for. Be strategic; is there something that you might need soon and is too heavy to ship? Awesome. Pack that. Otherwise, pack what you’ll need to wear to work and pajamas. Send the rest of your stuff forward when you have an address. You’ll be too busy moving to have a social life, anyway.
Bring a roadmap.
I don’t literally mean a map–I would never advocate carrying a map in public anywhere. Do your homework. Who are the big real estate companies in your new city? Where you can get a cheap bite? Do you have a towel to use the next time you shower? Where are you even going to shower? Do you have any friends with a couch you could crash on? Do you even have friends? Where’s the liquor store? All are important questions that need answers.
Hire a broker.
There are people in this world whose job it is to help you–police officers, librarians, bartenders… you get the picture. Brokers are some of these people. If you’re moving to New York, like I did, you should hire a broker. There are too many scam artists and bad property managers to get caught up being cheap and finding a place on your own. Yes, you may pay a little more, but you’ll save yourself from stress, fraud or anything worse that might come your way. Hire the broker. Accept help.
Figure out what makes you happy.
I think I’ve figured out some things I like by this point in my life. Walks in the park make me happy, so I’m making sure to hit every nearby park in the first week. I love scarves, so I may/may not get ready for fall to assuage my stress and impending terror. Scented candles are my jam, so I’m finding a department/specialty store to do some testing before I move in, and then candles will be all over my apartment. (Unfortunately, it won’t be these candles, which makes me terribly sad.) Take a page out of the book of Donna and Tom and treat yourself… but try to stay on-task.
Making mistakes is hard. If you’re anything like me, making mistakes is really hard. Growing up, I had parents who ardently (and sometimes too gleefully) believed in the difference between supporting me and bailing me out of my own mistakes. Even so, I’ve made plenty of mistakes since I got here. Here is advice that I can hopefully take myself: take a breath. Figure it out. You have to move forward, so put the emotions aside and get it done. Attack in another direction when the first does not work. You can cry about it later. (You will probably cry later.)
You get one chance at this–seriously. Sure, I may move around plenty after the first move, but I will never be in this place for the first time again. So I’ll be annoying; I’m taking photos of my food, my friends and buildings that inspire me. I’m spending too long at Grand Central because I like it, and dammit, I’m going to meander around Central Park at an agonizingly slow pace. I’ll spend a little too much money on drinks or a great meal with friends, because I didn’t move here to penny pinch–I moved here to start my life. So here it goes.
When did I become so wise, you ask? I didn’t. I’m literally stumbling around in the dark and can’t see past my own nose. Fortunately/unfortunately for you, I am really good at reminiscing, so you wind up with posts like this.