In your heart of hearts, you may be a small town girl or a farm boy. You like peace and quiet, a big sky full of stars and the smell of fresh air.
But, before it’s all said and done you should spend at least a year or two seeing what all the fuss is about in a big city. And no, Kansas City and Cleveland don’t count. I’m talking about the big boys…New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston…the likes of which make places like St. Louis look like a small town.
Why, you ask, must you live in a big city? Read on to find out.
1. It Builds Character
Let’s get one thing straight: Living in a big, bustling city is not easy. By definition, a city is tough. There are lots of people all trying to get the same jobs, apartments, parking spots, eligible bachelors/bachelorettes, and that last empty seat on the subway.
Sure, this can be exhausting and totally frustrating at times, but this is the stuff that rites of passage and character strength are made of. Learning how to hack it in a big city makes you more resilient, brave, creative and persistent, which are all qualities that will serve you well the rest of your life.
2. They’re Bursting with Culture
There’s nowhere like a major city for culture. And I don’t just mean museums. World-class cities are chock full of amazing ethnic cuisine, fantastic live music of all genres, original theatre and art experiences, festivals, international events, and residents who hail from all over the world. Even if you only live there for a year, you’ll see, hear, do, eat, smell and experience more in that year than you would in a decade in a small town.
3. You’ll Form Unlikely Friendships
When you live in the same place that you grew up or in a place with a small population, you tend to fall in with a pretty likely crowd. That’s all fine and good, but it’s also important to get to know people who are totally different from you. When you live and work in a big city, you come in contact with people from all corners of the world and all walks of life.
Some of them you’ll even become friends with. And in that process, you’ll get an up-close-and-personal view into another reality by learning about them. Whether these friendships are short and fleeting or long and lasting, the unique people you meet will have a lifelong effect on you.
4. You’ll Become Resourceful
Resourcefulness is one of the most valuable qualities you can be armed with in life. Essentially it means that you’re able to make lemonade out of dirty, rotten lemons. When you’re an urban dweller, that’s sometimes just what you have to do.
You can’t afford a decent-sized apartment, so you rent a tiny studio and find creative ways to fit all your stuff inside. Cities make you work for it – you’ll be presented with problems you have no idea how to solve…and then you’ll figure it out and you’ll learn something from it. Plus, you’ll be pretty darn proud of yourself and that feeling of accomplishment will feed your confidence and self-reliance.
5. You’ll Find Your Niche
Whoever you are and whatever you’re into, a big city has something for you. You’re into punk rock and high quality espresso? Oh you should totally check out that cool coffee bar with the 80s punk theme on 8th St. You like knitting and folk music? There’s a Meet Up group that gets together every Sunday to listen to Dylan and make sweaters.
You may have to go out and look for it, but when you do, you’re sure to uncover a neighborhood, restaurant, bar, shop or community group that feels like it was made just for you. And there’s no better feeling than that of being exactly where you belong.
6. You’ll Have Fun
There’s always something going on around you when you live in a metropolis. No matter what time of day or night, regardless of a blizzard or a national holiday, you can find something fun to do and people to do it with you.
If you’re overwhelmed, you can stay in your apartment, have a Netflix marathon and order all manner of takeout. But when you want to get out and do something, you’ll never be at a loss…if anything, the problem will be narrowing down all of the amazing options.