It is often in moments when I step outside the city walls for a weekend that I think about my own life choices, and exactly what it is that inspires me to stay in the middle of this mayhem. The truth is, it is a very personal and perhaps at times selfish attachment. I center my life in New York because it is exactly what I need to center me.
People for centuries have been referring to the magic that is New York City. When I think about what I define as its magic, I think about the people it connects, the boundaries it removes, the challenges it sustains, and the pace at which we as individuals evolve in the midst of it. I think about the resilience it brings to one’s character, by giving you the freedom to explore. I am perpetually amazed by my everyday.
Perhaps the most formidable trait the city empowers is the thinking (and flourishing) outside of American societal norms. It redefines normal, in the most refreshing way. Normal in New York is lugging your laundry bags up your five floor walk-up to the lingering stench of your neighbor’s drug habit. Normal in New York is living with roommates at any age. Normal in New York is finding a cheaper and healthier meal at the restaurant downstairs then the one you cook yourself. Normal in New York is grazing dozens of strangers while navigating the rush hour maze, and not finding it weird. Normal in New York is using the bed you sleep on in your studio apartment as appropriate seating for guests at your house party. Normal in New York is crying profusely on a crowded subway after a rough day, and being allowed to do just that – without any judgement. That’s New York’s normal. It isn’t for everyone, but for me, it is a life worth living.
I am not so foolish as to be blind to the City’s downfalls, and acknowledge they are abundant. But the beauty behind those of us that remain here is that we persevere against them. What is life if not full of obstacles and the small successes we celebrate in the overcoming of them?
So I would like to raise a glass to New York — thank you for being my home.