It’s a city for workers.
As I found myself back in the hustle and bustle of New York City after three months traveling South East Asia, a rush of perspective came flooding into my consciousness.
New York City is a city where people go to make their dreams come true, their work dreams. Yes, many people move to NY and fall in love, but the reason that drives millions of people to migrate to NYC isn’t to find a partner, it’s to find a career, opportunity, and the chance to make it big. After all, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.
It’s an incredible city where you can be anyone, do anything, but falling in love isn’t necessarily the easiest. New Yorkers can get anything at anytime, and the never ending ease and excess is no different when it comes to finding a potential mate. It’s an exciting thought, but one that doesn’t translate into real life quite as well.
I’m sure you could make this argument about many major cities, but there is something to be said about NYC as it’s a city that attracts people from all over the world looking to broaden their horizons and find something new. It’s a place that pushes you harder than you could imagine to be the best version of yourself in many ways, but one that doesn’t stop and ask, “Are you ok?”
“Of course I’m ok, I live in fucking New York City.”
But the thing is most New Yorkers are tired, rent-poor, and neglecting many other areas of their lives to make their careers the thing they thought they wanted, but many times find isn’t fulfilling. Being that we are constantly evolving, it makes sense that our dreams evolve as well, but it’s an incredibly hard thing to come to terms with, and ultimately understand that this is not a failure.
Add to the fact that years have been devoted, relationships have been sacrificed, and we can’t imagine our lives any other way, and it’s no surprise that so many people just suck it up for whatever excuses they employ.
NYC is a city that doesn’t promote strong spiritual health and mindfulness the same way it promotes clothes, cars, and coffee. There’s billboards advertising the latest phones, trends, and stars, but nothing promotes love.
And not just romantic love, but self-love as well. NYC culture breeds its inhabitants to push our bodies at the gym, our minds at work, and our energy levels throughout all of this. We work hard and play even harder, but rarely is there a moment built into our lives to recharge, reset, and take stock in the things that are truly important.
What are those things?
Community, relationships with nature, and altruism are all things that have been understood to add increasingly high value to all human’s lives. As happiness becomes a scientific study, researchers are finding that human interaction, gratitude, and being in open outdoor spaces are the key to finding one’s own lasting happiness.
Ultimately, what I’ve found since leaving New York and then coming back is that NYC changes us. Sometimes for the good, but also sometimes for the bad. I’ve adopted saying hello to strangers, smiling as I walk, and making eye contact even more than I already did, and people think I’m crazy. I’ve realized that NYC is beyond expensive, and that without even realizing it I’ve fallen into being fancier than I ever thought I’d be, paying more for rent than I could’ve ever imagined, and found it was normal to pay $30 for an ok meal.
But more than anything I’ve realized that NYC isn’t for lovers. A city that makes it easy to fall for one person, and have them fall for you. A place where you get swept up in each other in a healthy way, and think long term. Yes, people find this here, and I still have hope, but NYC definitely isn’t for the lovers, the dreamers, and maybe me.