It was a Monday morning and I felt completely ashamed.
I’d been living in New York City for a year and half, and while I’d had my share of good days and bad days, this was not a day to be on my bad side. I’d forgotten my umbrella, and on the 0.6 mile walk to the 6 train, I’d stepped into a puddle, ruined my nylons and flats and gotten my laptop bag soaked, all before even reaching the clogged, slippery subway station. So when a woman pushed me onto the flooded street with her stroller, I wasn’t exactly feeling forgiving.
“I’m so sorry,” she said, but I kept my mouth shut. New York had become a prison to me, and if I wasn’t careful, I’d verbally take that out on a well-meaning mother. I realized then that NYC had turned me into the absolute worst version of myself, a girl who walked/yelled/talked in her sleep every single night, ignored all strangers out of fear, allowed emotionally abusive finance guys to stomp all over her, and couldn’t shrug off an honest mistake.
Some thrive in cities like NYC, but I was a mess there, and that’s why it’s so good to have a mellow existence in sunny Los Angeles now. Traffic is a soul-sucker for many, but to me, anything is better than being sandwiched, harassed or groped on the New York subway. I knew pretty early on that Manhattan was the wrong place for me, and here’s how to figure out if you should switch cities as well.
10. You’re always uncomfortable or dressed wrong.
Rainy day and you have no boots? Hot day and you’re bundled up? Snowy day and you don’t have the right clothes to keep you cozy? If you’re always uncomfortable or failing to properly groom yourself, you either need a new wardrobe or to find a city with different attire demands.
9. You hate the weather.
It’s too hot and humid in the summer, too cold and uninspiring in the winter. If you’re constantly at war with the outdoors (and this isn’t the same as simply being unprepared for it), find a city that works for your preferences.
8. You always want to get away.
We could all use a vacation here and there, but if you always want to leave town and cry when it’s time to return home, you’re probably not that happy where you are.
7. Everything angers or upsets you.
Long lines at the grocery store? Traffic jams on the roads? Perverse cat callers in the street? If every annoying aspect of life breaks your spirit, chances are, you’re not in a healthy environment for your needs. When you’re in a city you love, the negatives don’t ruin your day, but in a place that’s not right for you, they’re further confirmation that you must escape.
6. You blame all of your problems on the city.
When things go awry, you don’t say “shit happens.” You fault your city for being unlivable and unforgiving. Certain places, like New York and Los Angeles, lend themselves to ample living challenges of all sorts, and if you can’t put up with them, you belong elsewhere.
5. You don’t fit in with the culture.
If you want a busy, nonstop work culture, big cities like D.C., New York and Chicago will keep you energized and constantly hustling. For a more laid back city, you could check out Portland, Boulder or Austin. If you’re at odds with the way your city operates, you either have to change your tune or go somewhere that fits with your lifestyle.
4. It doesn’t offer your favorite food.
I used to dream about burritos and Mexican cuisine in NYC, which has great pizza but a lot of sorry excuses for tacos. I personally cannot live without good Mexican food, so moving back to the West Coast was a good decision on my part. If you don’t want to be far away from your favorite types of food, don’t reside somewhere that doesn’t sell it.
3. You hate the transportation situation.
If you despise public transit, don’t live in a city that’s run by a metro system. If you’re the opposite and don’t like getting behind the wheel, driving cities wouldn’t be for you.
2. The benefits don’t outweigh the downsides.
Every city has its flaws, but if the good stuff doesn’t make up for the bad, you need to find a city that’s going to bring you more happiness.
1. You’re always wondering what the heck you’re doing with your life.
No matter what you end up doing, this city isn’t going to help get you there. Relocate to a place that will.
Do you have anything else to add? Share in the comments section.