Happy New Year!

New Year, new Post; same old clichés, apparently!
Some changes have happened since May: I have been doing freelance editing/writing and working at the restaurant 2 days a week; therefore, I have learned even newer ways to thrive in NYC without money. I know, the joy!
One way, I lowered my rent by moving; I have gone back to shopping at Trader Joe’s; and I also ditched my beloved gym membership. I spent an entire post rhapsodizing about how I would give up everything but my endorphin factory. I am going to cover this in a post further down the road. Today, I will be very honest and admit that I am getting my New Year’s goals started by dedicating time to something I believe in, writing this blog.

Recently, I have heard people asking “What is your New Year’s resolution?” This question irks me. I feel like it is worn out. I understand that the sentiment comes from something good, connecting with others. And I participate in setting goals for myself every year. I just don’t like the notion of saying resolution, because it immediately makes me feel like it should be broken.

This made me think: What are good questions?

Do you have questions you like to be asked? Questions you don’t like?

What questions do you like to ask?

Survival of the Fittest

 

As Winter(and this very long and chilly Spring) come to a close, I am feeling S.A.D.  In order to combat this leaden feeling, I dragged myself to the gym to get that extra spring in my step. One impromptu spin class later, I had a twing in my left buttock, chaffed inner thighs, and a really red face. I felt more energized and less anxious than I had in a while. I could internalize that Summer would happen; the sun will shine again, and my Dopamine will fire away without my prodding!
I am lucky to have my gym within walking distance to my apartment. This is one indulgence that I allow myself, even as I cut back on other expenses. This was not always the case.
When I first arrived in NYC, I was completely broke and I did not know anyone.  Luckily for me, my sister had found herself in a similar situation when she landed in the city 3 years prior. She directed me to the Tony Dapolito Center, part of the Parks and Recreation centers of NYC (http://www.nycgovparks.org/programs/recreation-centers/membership). The gym was 50 dollars for 6 months! It was not, though, Amy Poehler’s perky and charming Parks and Rec; the old adage “You get what you pay for” sums it up. There is though, a certain pride I took away from my parks and rec days: I could tough it out in a weight room that resembled a prison gym from a vintage ’80’s movie, complete with rusted, metal dumbbells and bars on the windows. The track was small, yet offered a cool above-ground view of the goings on on the basketball court below. The treadmills, probably 12 years old, were reliable and always available. The heat was at times insufferable, however, it did make me feel like G.I. Jane.
Another reliable and inexpensive way I worked out when I first arrived in NYC, and still do, was yoga at Yoga to the People. This yoga studio is donation based–I have given 1 dollar and I have given 10, depending on my cash flow that week. I have seen people chuck a quarter into the tissue box that the instructor holds out as you file through the exit.YTTP is wondrous. You don’t sign up, or pre-register, you simply look up a time and show up about 20-30 minutes early, as the room DOES fill up quickly at EVERY time slot. I had never consistently done yoga before and for the first 3 classes I felt frustrated and incompetent. After the 3rd class, IT happened. I slowly began to love how stretched out, toned and cleansed I felt. You have the option to rent a mat for 2 dollars and a towel for 2. You can also buy a bottled water for 1. Bonus, once I started talking about where I did yoga, people became interested and I had many friend dates for curious future Yoga to the People fans, which turned into lasting friendships. So even if I was broke, I could still participate in one of NYC’s hip social scenes.

http://yogatothepeople.com.

Of course, I also utilized the old heel-toe-express to get my blood pumping. I discovered that by navigating an unfamiliar city on foot, I killed two birds with one stone: I aptly found my way around plus racked up those 10,000 (plus some) daily steps.

 

Beginnings

In the bitterly cold January night, death felt imminent. I stood on the curb, lost, alone and wondered what the hell I was doing.

My current possessions: one rolling suitcase with a broken wheel; a backpack, and my inner dialogue, which was screaming at me alternating between the rational, “you’re an adult, find your way!” and the fearful,  “what the hell are you doing here?!”

As I would later discover, “here,” was the corner of Waverly Place and 6th Ave or what proves to be the Bermuda Triangle of the West Village. Time and again, cabs drop off people at this seemingly innocent and idyllic corner, with the smells of the nearby bakery wafting in the air, where they are left wandering aimlessly before frustration takes over. That’s when I received the call: “Where is your apartment!?” Eventually, I became adept at directing cabs to my front door; mastering New York City, however, has proven to be a non-stop journey!

I believe in empathy and love and the complete randomness that is life. In an effort to fully embrace these beliefs, four years ago I flung myself out of my comfort zone, home: a sleepy Southern beach town, and flew to NYC. No job; no plan; very, very minimal money, and one apartment that I had not yet seen, you might say I was leaving a lot up to chance! Thankfully, I survived. That’s not to say that it was easy. Along the way, thanks to some amazing people, and experience, I have picked up juicy survival tidbits and slices of knowledge that I wish to write about, knowing that there are many poeple who are  feeling lost and wondering why the hell they moved to NYC. I’m going to share my 4 plus years of trial and error, hoping that they will make someone feel less alone, and, still others may feel empowered knowing that they are better at planning, and at almost everything!