I’ve grown up in a very rural area. I didn’t really mind it until I got it into my teenage years. Once I got to high school, I began to despise it. I wanted that city life. The thought of having anything and everything at my fingertips was so inspiring. I dreamed about it and made it a future goal to get out of here and never look back.
That feeling and dream is still very much alive, but in a different way.
I began my New York City journey a month ago. Each weekend for 8 weeks I would be spending in the city. This excited me like you wouldn’t believe. Eight whole weekends in a place like NYC, a place that’s the complete opposite of my little middle of no where town in western PA. I planned out all of the things that I wanted to try, see, and experience. So many new things that I could do! It was great.
Well the first weekend came and went leaving me excited for the upcoming weekends; but also leaving me exhausted beyond belief. I spent the whole day Monday just lounging around in bed. I still do that every weekend I come home! But it’s not all physical exhaustion, a lot of it is mental exhaustion.
Going from somewhere as low key as my little town to somewhere as fast paced as NYC is like going from one extreme to the next. Instead of walking out my door to trees and chirping birds, I was walking out onto dirty streets and sirens. Culture shock.
It was really hard for me the first few weeks to really enjoy myself in the city. I wanted to love it, I really wanted to, but I just didn’t. That frustrated me. It was something that I’ve dreamed about for years and I was finally getting the opportunity to make it happen, but I wasn’t liking it.
I knew that I had to do something to change it or at least to make it better.
After my realization I began to brainstorm one Monday while I refused to remove myself from my bed. I knew that I needed an escape. Something to “recharge my batteries almost.” But what would help me do that? I thought about this for a while with nothing special coming to mind. Maybe a trip to Pittsburgh would help? I was very familiar with Pittsburgh and I loved it. Maybe going there for a day would flip a switch, I thought to myself. But that didn’t seem right. What about getting up earlier and working out a lot like I used to? No. That didn’t seem right either.
Then it just came to me. I knew what I needed to fix the problem.
The city drained me so much each weekend, I needed to submerse myself into nature to gain back what the city took out of me.
I began going for walks in the woods a lot. I love nature so much. I love to explore, to take pictures, to just be a part of it. Each time I did this I felt such a boost of happiness.
After I started surrounding myself with nature and truly appreciating it; I also started enjoying my weekends in the city a lot better as well.
It was that easy for me.
Each day I look forward to “escaping” my life, even if it’s just for a few moments, and enjoying nature. Listening to the rustle of the leaves, chirping birds, snapping branches, and just the peacefulness of the land.
You might not even realize how much of a positive impact that “escaping” the hustle and bustle of your daily life can have until you try it.
The great thing about it is that it can be different for everyone. Maybe your escape is taking a hot bath, going for a run, going to the beach (this would totally be mine if I lived near the beach), or writing in a journal. You never know what works best for you until you experiment with different things! Once you find what works for you, you’ll just know. Trust me.
Having a place to unplug and let go each day has taught me a lot about myself and inspires me to keep learning and exploring each day.
I still dream about the city life, but I’m not so sure that I’d want to live there anymore. I’d like to live closer to a city than I currently do, but I have plenty of time to do that.
Now that I found an escape from the things that tired me out, I’m no longer trying to escape my life and that’s one of the greatest things that I’ve achieved.
What is your escape?