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Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

Eight New York struggles that are actually blessings

By Aja Nisenson
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New York can be a pretty tough place to live. But sometimes, the struggles that we encounter every day can actually be blessings in disguise.

1. The speed at which you're required to walk can count as a workout. A good "brisk" pace might be considered "running for your life" in other cities, but in New York it's just the norm. Sure, it's no easy feat to run a marathon or outrun a bear, but neither is parting a sea of tourists during rush hour while in heels.

2. You can learn a lot about yourself when dating someone just for their apartment. Come on, don't tell me you haven't done it too? It's cheaper to break someone's heart than your back working to pay a ridiculous amount of rent. And even if it doesn't work out (it never does), you'll at least have the opportunity to reflect on your priorities. 

3. Having friends in far away boroughs puts your organization game on point. Getting together for a drink involves weeks in advance of planning and scheduling when you live downtown and your friend lives in Astoria. It's rare if not unheard of to just "pop in" on a friend at home or at work.

4. The amount of money you spend on rent gives you amazing budgeting skills. You're spending 70 percent of your income on rent? There's no problem with that, at least not when you manage to spend as little money as possible on everything else while still enjoying yourself.

5. Your super successful friends are actually inspiring. Does your circle of friends include writers, lawyers, real estate agents, accountants, doctors, accountants and artists? Sure, they might have their shit together better than you do, but they're diverse, intelligent, witty and downright inspiring. Plus, most of them can speak like five languages, play three instruments and raise three kids all while riding a tricycle.

6. Timing the crosswalk sign gives you an innate understanding of physics. When that sign turns from flashing red to "oh, no you're gonna get run over by a car," you're able to stay calm throughout because you know how fast the car is accelerating, how far it is away from you and somehow calculate how long you have to get out of the way.

7. Your tiny kitchen makes your cooking skills remarkable. You can cook a delicious five-course meal for 10 people in a kitchen the size of Harry Potter's bedroom with a stove that you have to manually light with a lighter? Why aren't you on the Food Network?

8. Your knowledge of public restrooms will make your visiting friends think you're the coolest. You can tell which ones have the best view and the softest toilet paper. Plus, you know how to sneak into them without getting noticed. The secret is walking into the joint like you own the place, and never looking back. So when your friends are visiting and really have to go, you turn into a Yoda-esque genius. 


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