A Country Girl in the City: How I Survive the Concrete Jungle

For some reason, my life likes to prove to me that I can do anything; especially the things I say I’m never going to do. For example, I said I would never drive a stick-shift — yet I ended up owning a manual Jetta for 5 years. I said I would never go to a public university — Penn State class of 2016! I said I would never work in the city — well here I am. Thanks life!

My happy place, with my horse Auburn

I have never been a fan of the city life; there are too many people in a small space and no matter where you look, you will most likely not be able to find green grass. But, the city is home to a motherlode of jobs, and let’s face it, we all need them. So, when I found myself being the proud owner of one of those jobs, I needed to somehow figure out how to be a rough-and-tumble city lurker. When in Rome, right?

This was no easy task for someone who spent the past 22 years of her life living in the country. No, not the middle of nowhere country, but just country enough to develop a solidified internal need to be surrounded by nature and the sounds of birds chirping, instead of cars honking, in order to maintain any level of sanity. My perfect day is one spent at the barn with my horses, taking lessons and exploring the local trails, nowhere near the hustle and bustle of city life.

So, here are 10 lessons that helped me turn my green pastures into a concrete maze, without dying:

Lesson 1: There will be weird people in the city that make you uncomfortable, just keep walking, they don’t need your attention.

Lesson 2: It is super convenient having everything I could ever need within walking distance. Lunch? Everywhere. Coffee? Absolutely! Clothing? Just down the street. House warming gift for your new neighbor? That’s even closer than lunch!

Lesson 3: Speaking of everything being close, you can get a lot done during a 15-minute break. In the suburbs 10 minutes gives you enough time to get up from your desk and maybe take a short walk to get some fresh air. In the city, these 15 minutes are now enough to run a quick errand which means you don’t have to do it after work anymore!

Lesson 4: The noise from cars and hustle and bustle of the city is actually quite a nice ambient noise, especially for someone who hates dead silence.

Lesson 5: No one is making you live in the city. Just because you work there doesn’t mean you have to live there. My entire life still revolves around the suburbs, with the occasional happy hour in the city with friends.

Lesson 6: SEPTA is your BFF. I am so lucky to be able to take the train, which is only 4 blocks from the office, directly to my hometown. This gives me lots of time to decompress or even get some extra work done. I also LOVE passing the turnpike (AKA dead stopped traffic) and knowing I will most likely get home way before those poor chumps that drove.

Lesson 7: Philly SIPS is fun. Enough said.

Seriously, it holds EVERYTHING

Lesson 8: A good bag makes a HUGE difference. Make sure to organize your things so they are both safe and easily accessible. I adore my tote bag that has a built in protective sleeve for my computer and enough room to fit everything else that I carry. Did I mention that all of my friends call me mom?

Lesson 9: A personal hotspot is required; that hour-long commute on the train is much less enjoyable without one! It gives you the chance to get some work done, or even just do a little online shopping (my guilty pleasure).

Lesson 10: The city will not change who you are. Even after working here for 3 months, I still love my hour long commute that brings me back to green fields and fresh air.

These ten simple lessons are by no means the be all and end all, and I’m sure I will have plenty more experiences to sharpen my edges, but at least I don’t look like a lost puppy wandering the streets anymore! So, trust me, if this country girl can survive it, even thrive in it, so can you!