While I was growing up, I wanted one thing and one thing only: to escape the humdrum perils of suburbia and make my way to a big city, where life would be exciting and I could order a different style of pizza on every corner. As I made my way through college in my amazing but mid-sized college town, this desire only grew stronger– until I actually graduated.
You see, there is nothing more terrifying than actually moving to a massive city when it comes time to pack up all your bags and leave your college town in the rearview. What if you get to the city and fall flat on your face? What if you don’t make any new friends?
And how, exactly, are you supposed to be able to navigate the bus system without ending up in the worst part of town by accident? We all get scared, and we all wonder if it’s not more prudent to move back in with our parents or set up shop in a smaller, safer town where we know more people and are more certain we’ll succeed– myself included.
After acclimating to living in the city, however, I’ve got some good news: It’s really, really, really awesome (and you will take the wrong bus several times). So what’s so spectacular about city living? In the words of Shakespeare, “let me count the ways.”
1. It’s Exciting
Have you ever seen Sex and the City? Carrie Bradshaw spends most of the opening reel looking around in amazement for a reason. Big cities are, in a word, alive, and there’s always something new happening around the corner.
I live in Chicago, a city in which it’s completely impossible to be bored, and I spend most of my time in a flustered panic about which craft beer bar I should spend my Friday night at. It’s a rough life, guys.
2. You Never Have to Drive
Maybe it’s just me, but there can’t be anything more efficient and spectacular than being able to take public transportation everywhere you could possible want to go. Not only does this mean I never run the risk of drinking and driving (or missing happy hour), but it also means I save a ton of money on insurance, parking and gas costs. I never have to worry about finding a spot, and if I’m truly in a rush, an Uber is just a few minutes away.
3. One Word: Food
I live in the deep-dish pizza capital of the world, which is enough to keep me here all on its own, but all big cities are home to an immeasurable number of world-class restaurants. It doesn’t matter what you’re craving– you’ll be mere minutes away from Thai, Mexican, Lebanese, Italian, Polish, Jamaican, and any other style of food you might happen to be craving. There are bacon bars, raw food cafes, pizzeria/brewery hybrids and so, so many brunch spots.
Are you hungry yet? Because I am.
4. So Much Room For Activities
Because big cities are so diverse, there are a million and one different clubs and activities you can try out. Paddle board yoga? We’ve got that. Home brewing? We have that, too.
There are organizations for everything from coding to cooking, and nearly every sport in the world is represented in a big city. Literary readings, improv troupes, and an overwhelming number of live music venues are all here as well. What’s even better? If the activity you’re seeking doesn’t exist, you can just start it yourself. You’ll be amazed by how many people will join you.
If that’s not enough to get you excited about city living, then think about it this way: Major cities are the regional hubs of entertainment. Concerts, plays, standup comedy, world-famous zoos and aquariums, famous shopping avenues and major sports events are just a few of the things people travel far and wide to see.
As for me, I live in the Belmont Theater District of Chicago, in close proximity to four or five major comedy clubs, five blocks from Wrigley Field, and a mere three blocks from Lake Michigan. It’s no big deal or anything.
5. It Shows You What You’re Made Of
It may sound cheesy, but big cities are not like tiny towns. A very small percentage of the people here know who you are, care how you’re doing or want to help you– and it all makes you seriously self sufficient.
You’ll spend time outside your comfort zone every single day and learn a million important things, such as how to re-ignite the pilot light on your ancient gas stove, how to stay more aware of your surroundings when you’re taking the train late at night and that you should never, ever stand stationary on an escalator. City life is hard, but it’s certainly rewarding.
6. City Living is Fabulous For Your Career
Big cities are generally where major companies are located and, based on their sheer size and density, offer you a huge range of job options. It doesn’t matter what you strive to do with you career— when you’re living in the city, you’ll have the resources you need to achieve it.
Networking is simple, thanks to the number of events going on around you, and if you decide on a major career switch, guess what? You’ll be located near half a dozen major universities to boot.
7. You Meet So Many People
Best of all, living in a big city means you’ll meet more new people than you ever thought possible and make the most diverse, fun and wonderful friends along the way. Between work, neighbors, hobbies, nightlife and the daily Dunkin Donuts line, it’s almost impossible to go a day without meeting someone.
There are also many more options on Tinder than there are in smaller towns. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing. My words of advice to you? If you’ve always wanted to move to the big city, you just have to take the plunge. You’ll be so glad you did.