In my opinion, the definition of a meaningful life involves being content with what you currently have while looking forward to coming days. In my case, what keeps me happy are my close relationships and being able to do stuff with them every now and then. What I look forward to often involves accomplishing something I thought was beyond me, like travelling to foreign places and learning about new cultures. But just like most things in life, what satisfies me and keeps me motivated can be very different from the next person.
For other people, a (meaningful life) can mean getting that dream job. As a local of “The City That Never Sleeps”, I can assure you that I’ve met people from far and wide who came to (New York) with that golden ticket in mind. From interns who made it big as manager in big brand names, to art scholars who’ve had their masterpieces displayed in world-famous art galleries, everyone seems to have a fair shot at succeeding in this big city. But of course, it goes without saying that they’ve worked hard and smart. If you plan on taking your shot, here are some reminders I’d like to share:
1.) Plan with expenses in mind
An empty pocket is an unhappy pocket. If you come from a place where living is less costly, you might be in for a shock when you transfer. A loaf of bread can cost $4.00 and every other living essential comes pricier in this city. Practice sketching out your finances on paper so you won’t be having a hard time managing your budget. Spend some time finding means to acquire things at a lower price like discount stores for clothes, cosmetics or even food. When looking for an apartment, don’t just grab any opportunity made available to you because some landowners might rip you off.
2.) Make new friends
It’s not hard to meet friends here. As a melting pot of different cultures , a short conversation can lead to long-term friendships. Locals can give you advice on fitting in and finding what you need when you can’t do it yourself. Grab the opportunity to improve your street smart skills and learn how to think on your feet. Expanding your network will also increase your chances of meeting potential mentors, clients and supporters of whatever it is you are passionate about.
3.) Do what you do best
Whether it’s singing, writing or developing other people’s skills, don’t be afraid to show off what you have. A friend of mine once told me over lunch that “if things don’t work out, there’s only two possibilities: they become a good lesson or a good story”. Try to always improve yourself because you are your strongest advertisement. Nothing can be truer.
4.) Stay grounded
It’s a place known for its bright lights and fancy institutions. Getting the experience under your skin can be elating but it can also disconnect you from your purpose. Don’t get too caught up in chasing after more than you can handle in terms of commitments and events. You don’t want to be on Cloud 9 just to earn a slap back to reality from failing to do what you set out. I often find that when there’s little to no information for me to base a decision on, I look to my intuition.