This Year, I'm Thankful for New York

When I first sat down to write this post I was feeling anything but grateful. It was just one of those days when getting all “om” and “centered” was proving to be extremely difficult. Work was frustrating, my schedule was overwhelming and I was feeling generally run-down and uninspired. Needless to say, I didn’t write that day.

I did, however, take some time to step back and try to reset myself.  You know the routine: take deep breaths. Identify what it is that’s stressing you out. Then, find the positive side to it. Voi-la! All problems magically solved... LOL. If only, right? Usually, that process also includes a full-length, childish argument that I have with myself inside my own head. Lots of dramatic despair and cantankerous whining involved.  Sounds really healthy, doesn’t it?

Anyway. Slowly but surely, I pulled myself together and began to snap out of it. I could deal with my troubles and worries while still being present enough to live thankfully. After all, having the capacity to think and to feel anything at all is certainly something to be grateful for. And having the ability to think and feel in New York City? Well, that makes this whole “life” thing even better. At least, it has for me.

Here are my top 3 reasons why I’m grateful to live in New York City.

Exposure to Culture

Recently, I saw a Facebook status of someone (who, naturally, has never lived in the city) touting how they “hate New York” and “don’t understand what the huge appeal is.” Coincidentally, I was reading that status on the way home from a dinner in Chelsea where I sat around a table next to a Doctor/Designer from Amsterdam, a “Scent Architect” from Spain and an App Developer from, well, New York. How’s that for appeal? On any given day, 800 languages are spoken on these streets. On any given night, every cultural cuisine imaginable is being consumed in some corner of the city. The people’s taste for music and art has literally no limits. If you want to get swept up in being alive, there is, quite simply, no place like New York.

 

Exposure to Humanity

In a mass mixture of stories and lives, this city’s heart beats hard and fast – both for the good and for the bad. I remember a friend once telling me how he was on an unfortunate-smelling subway cart due to a homeless person. We’ve all been there. He was outraged, however, not by the homeless man but by the two 20-something tourists who found it necessary to grumble aloud with an “OMG is this real life right now? UGghhhh. Gross!”

Actually, yes, this is real life. We live in a world where people are homeless and they sleep on subways. Don’t like it? Do something about it. Empathize. Volunteer. But don’t bitch about it.  Sometimes, I think Pandora’s box may have taken the form of all 5 boroughs. If that’s indicative of anything, however, it is that New York is not simply a plethora of despair, but also a center for hope. No one binds together like New Yorkers do. That’s a fact. So, if you want to contribute to the positive progression of the human race, New York isn’t the only place to start, but it’s a damn good one. After all, we exist on the crest of the wave of the future, continually developing as we always have.

 

Fear and Possibility

Fear and Possibility - humanity's two greatest drivers. No place encompasses the fear of failure and the possibility of success quite like New York does. Sure, we all know the Frank Sinatra tune. But “making it” here isn’t just about climbing the ranks in your industry of choice. “Making it” in New York is about something a little more intangible and a lot more important and personal. There’s an Avett Brother’s song that advises us to “decide what to be and go be it.” So simple, but yet so poignant. Given the nature of New York, one genuinely has the opportunity to do just this on any given day or night. Take one step outside and your world is cloaked with a sense of unparalleled anonymity. Without a strong inner compass, this notion can be very scary. But, still, we need this - this audacity to take a chance. Whether it is changing careers, trading lifestyles, or crafting a new and improved sense of self, New York holds all the possibility in the world. The only question: how much do you fear it?