Since moving to NYC, I’ve definitely experienced some big changes in my life. There’s the obvious things, I’ve started budgeting, wear different clothes, and to some degree I’ve started adulting. It’s also clear that I have grown as a person and adapted to new situations. Maybe this topic doesn’t seem like the most important or fun to read, but I view it as a necessity. Why? We never give ourselves enough credit. We always focus on the big accomplishments instead of the little ones, when they are equally important. I’m writing this today to show you the small changes in me that I’m proud of, so maybe you can realize you have grown too.
Events in our everyday such as where you go, who you talk to, and when you do parts of your daily routine are often overlooked. I personally think they shouldn’t be. Looking at your everyday allows a degree of introspection into who you are. It lets you see the changes that you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise, and allows you to appreciate yourself and your capabilities.
The first thing that I barely noticed was how I coped with homesickness. I think a majority of people miss their families and the experiences of home. But for me, it just felt like an ordinary day to day experience. I didn’t feel much despite the fact I had traveled across the country for college. After reflecting on it, I realized it was because I changed my definition of home. Home was no longer a place, but in fact people. One of my best friends moved with me to NYC, and my partner of three years lives here. So in some ways home traveled with me when I moved here.
Another subtle yet important change is overcoming my fear of independence. Prior to moving, I was always afraid of making mistakes when I was independent and needed to make my own decisions. However, after moving to NYC I realized that independence is good for my growth and self discovery. Now I feel more grounded on who I am and what I want to become.
Because I grew into my independence, I also developed better communication skills. Not only am I better at asking for help when I need it, I can also explain my thoughts more clearly than before. My improved communication has helped me network, make friends, and maintain relationships with others. In addition, it has helped me with my mental illness. As someone who has always experienced anxiety, I’ve learned that communication is extremely beneficial. Now, I don’t internalize my stress as often and allow myself to take breaks (from the death march we call college lol).
Similar to communication, I’ve learned that self-care is essential to maintaining relatively stable mental health. In high school, I always thought that I had to work hard to get into college. But now I have to work even harder to graduate and get a good job. And I have to work even harder to maintain a job to support myself? How is that sustainable to my overall health? It left me thinking that education had little reward compared the amount it would steal from my lifespan. After this realization (which hit me harder than the late grade on my essay), I started taking more breaks from work and engaging in therapeutic activities such as knitting or doodling. If I’m having a particularly rough day, I’ll go out for some boba and do a face mask while watching my favorite movies/TV shows. The realization that I needed to take a break was huge, but I didn’t notice my shift to self care till I was unconsciously doing it.
The last, and maybe most important thing that has changed within me is that I actually started to love myself a little bit more. Noticing how I interact with my everyday — the people and places, my routine, etc — has allowed me to appreciate the things I’m good at instead of the things I can’t do. There are little things I can do, even if there are many big things that I could never accomplish without years of effort. I’ve become more in tune with myself, and therefore love myself a little bit more than before. Now I don’t compare my accomplishments with others, and understand it’s okay to go at my own pace.
I guess in summary, I’ve matured a lot since moving to NYC. But opposed to contrary belief, it isn’t because I know what I’m doing or that I’m good at adulting. I’d think most of my growth is because I’ve noticed small things that normally I wouldn’t care to see. And seeing the little things, like how I’m just a little better at communicating my thoughts, or that I know to take breaks for self care, is good enough. I am changing even if it is barely noticeable. That alone is enough for me to love myself a little bit more than I did before moving here.
My hope in writing this is that you will learn more about who you are. I want you to appreciate yourself too. The key is to see what you’ve done, not what others do and truly notice your own accomplishments even if you haven’t before. Many of the largest changes in our lives actually occur in the everyday, but we don’t notice it because we focus on the special, one-time events. Looking into your everyday routine lets you see the value in something that normally wouldn’t be significant.