Monday, November 12, 2007

On NYC: What gets rewarded

NYC is a tough place to live. On the surface it may appear to be all fun and games. It's not - this city and living in it is serious stuff, not for the faint of heart. People manage it in all different ways - after thinking they can hack it in the thick of it all, they grow tired and weak. Some move to a new borough, or a new state if it's really bad. They get new roommates, a new job, new friends, new hobbies. They cry, scream, join a gym. Some just hide under the covers hoping tomorrow they will wake up in a more polite, less crowded, quieter NYC, only to be disappointed that overnight the city seems to have grown more rude, more crowded, and nosier.

And don't forget how damn expensive it is to live here! I won't even tell you what I pay in rent - it's horrifying, and I have the best deal in town. I recently went to Disney World for the day with my sister, Weez, and brother-in-law, Kyle. (They live near Orlando.) You know you've lived in NYC too long when you think the prices for Walt Disney World concessions are cheap.

So what's a girl to do? I've tried all of the strategies I listed above. I have had horrible roommates, and even more horrible bosses in years past. I tried to moving to a borough, and several other states. I got new friends, and saved my good old ones too. I've tried new hobbies, volunteering. I'm quite adept at hiding under the covers, and I consider myself to be an expert screamer and crier when the tension gets too much. I have never joined a gym here - I put initiation fees on par with broker fees. "Oh, please, let me give you an outrageous sum of money to have the right to pay you an even greater sum of money on a monthly basis for the privilege of being in your presence." No thanks - I'll take to running on the streets of NYC.

The best remedy I've found for surviving and ultimately coming to love NYC - keep showing up. Truly. Falling in love with this city is a long, slow, and very painful process. It takes deep commitment. It plays hard to get better than all of us combined. And it wins every time. The harder you fight its freakish, bizarre happenings, the more it will throw at you.

And then one day you turn the corner to your apartment, or fly over Manhattan to land at one of the city's airports, and you realize there is no place in the world like your New York. You meet good people. You find that dream job. You nurture and develop hobbies that complete you. Sometimes it takes a few tries - it took me 3. And now I know I could never call another place home. It's true that if you can make it here, you make it anywhere. Trouble is that once you've made it here, you'll have a hard time wanting to make it anywhere else - you fought too hard to make this work. And just when you're ready to throw in the towel, it relents. Anything worth having is worth fighting for, right?

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