Upon first moving to New York City I had this idea in my head of the person that I would be whilst living here. An outgoing city girl with many new acquaintances and a new friend or two. I would flounce around the city without a care. I had visions of myself spending my time á la Blair Waldorf gazing round the Met on the weekends and spending my afternoons gorging on macarons from Ladurée. Whilst the last part is basically how I have actually spent my time, the first bit…not so much.
I’m naturally shy around new people rather an outgoing social butterfly. Once you get to know me though, I don’t shut up, but before that I’m about as introverted as they come. New York City is a difficult place to be the new kid in. It felt as if I were back in high school and everyone was grouped off in cliques and I was out on my own, hoping just one person would take pity on me and say hello.
It’s an odd feeling to be in a city with so much going on around me and yet feeling like I had nothing to do. Coming from having loads to do with friends on my free time to having loads of time to do things alone was an odd and unexpected transition. But after a time and actually doing things out on my own for a bit, I found that spending time alone was something that I rather cherished. I came to realise that I almost preferred to be alone in some cases.
I spent my time going to the Met on an almost religious basis. Wandering round it’s endless galleries for hours. I walked and sat in Central Park with only myself, a book, and the birds chirping for company. I visited shops that I’ve always wanted to and discovered unique coffee shops. In doing so I oddly developed a taste for matcha lattes again. I had a lot of time to really think, learn about myself, and got very good at “staying in” on a Friday night. The odd thing I discovered was that I enjoyed my solitude and that I found myself almost wanting to avoid people in a city where it is virtually impossible to avoid people.
But in truth I started to feel lonely after a time and a bit envious of the groups of friends I would see headed for a girls night out. I started to get annoyed with my situation and then even more annoyed with myself that I am not as outgoing as I would like to be.
I began to think of opportunities of how and when I could do what I love to do at home, but out amongst people instead. On the days where I was truly aware of the fact that I was enjoying my solitude a bit too much, I would force myself to go out. Go to a coffee shop and read instead of staying home or visit a new part of town that I hadn’t discovered yet. Every time I did this I felt better and as though I had conquered my shyness.
Four months have passed and I have met some great people that I have had the opportunity to go out with and explore the city. I found that yes, New York is much better when you have people to share it with, but it’s also a nice place to discover yourself out on your own as well.