"There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless. Perhaps it is that the heart beats faster here than elsewhere." ~ Simone de Beauvoir, America Day By Day
Spoken like a true insomniac. I don't know for sure if Simone de Beauvoir had insomnia, though I do understand her sentiments about New York as she made her way across the U.S. in 1947. Her diary from that year long trek from one U.S. coast to the other became the book America Day by Day. Her first step that journey was off a plane and into New York.
There does seem to be an energy here in this city that I have not found in other places. Maybe it's the subway rattling underneath the pavement or the soaring buildings that mask the city in a unique pattern of shade and light. I think though that it's the people that are attracted to New York that give it its famous zing.
The trick to living here and staying sane is to take advantage of the energy while not wearing ourselves out, to find activities to fill our time that give us as much energy as they require. I've struggled with this idea at various times in my 11 year love affair with New York. While I've moved in and out of the city 4 times since first coming here in 1998, this last time I hit upon the magic combination: a stable income, lots of green space just outside more door, and confidence in who I am. I spend equal time with friends as I do alone. I found an activity I love, writing, that has nothing to do with how I pay my rent. All this combined has made for a magical life. Now all I need is a dog - and he'll be arriving at my apartment this Fall.
Even when I wasn't living here, New York was the center of my world. New York was really it for me. It always was; I just didn't always know that. It's the place where I feel most alive, where I feel most my true self. It's the place where I can dream and imagine and wonder. It's the place where I can appreciate and love the life I have, while also aspiring to be something more.
As it is with so many relationships, it took time away to realize what I had here in this tiny set of islands. New York is a place of constant improvement, continual opportunity, and hopeful exuberance. You really can be anyone here, all it takes is time and commitment and on occasion, a little patience. Lucky for us, Simone de Beauvoir was right: our need for sleep is less here, making accomplishment, and thereby happiness and fulfillment, all the more likely.
The photo above is the New York City skyline at night. You can find this photo at: http://nycwrites.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/nyc_manhattan_night.183194354_std.jpg