“By comparison with other less hectic days, the City is uncomfortable and inconvenient; but New Yorkers temperamentally do not crave comfort and convenience — if they did they would live elsewhere.”
— E. B. White, Here Is New York
People who move to New York are (or should be) ready for incessant challenges. If New York is the Olympics, adaptability is the sport- and the ones who make it win the gold medal. The City is relentlessly trying to beat you at everything, and the clever find a way to to escape defeat. The not-so-clever usually cry everyday until they go back to where they came from… back to where life is easy, and cities are kind to their citizens.
Living in New York will make you fight for all things normal. Need groceries? Hope you practiced not having to make two trips to the car in your past life, because now you’re about to carry your groceries down to a packed subway and then for half a mile home. You used to heat your car up before leaving for work in the winter? Now you’re going to be walking to and from work in 17 degree weather against wind and snow (uphill both ways :)). These are true struggles at first– but you get yourself a collapsable cart for your groceries, and a really warm coat for the winter. These are the easy ones.
Then you have the challenges that break the faint of heart. One day you’ll have a huge presentation at work. You’re up, you’re excited, you’re early… and then the L train stops at Bedford– requiring everyone to get off for no apparent reason, no other train in sight, resulting in the MOST anxiety. This could ruin everything; even if you make it to the presentation you’ve already lost your composure. Then, you finally get close to work, and as you stop to check your phone, someone decides to water their flowers from a window right over your head, soaking your hair and ruining your make-up… (this actually happened to me).
This is the time you decide whether the City has beat you before 9am, or just given you an opportunity to outwit her. The ones who win the gold get over their delayed train, fix their make-up, come up with a new hairstyle & witty explanation– and deliver the presentation. If you don’t present, the City has won, and you have been and will feel defeated. The more losses you have, the more likely you are to just give up.
The people who make it here are dreamers who love overcoming adversity, even if they don’t know that about themselves. Generally, they do not seek comfort or even stability. To them, comfort and stability are chains to a routine resulting in a mediocre life and a killer of dreams.
Perhaps the greatest way to overcome any obstacle, no matter where you live, is with a sense of humor. After all, stories of adversity are the most entertaining. People who tell them have the most interesting lives. Nothing here is easy- learning the subway system, making friends, feeding yourself, getting to work… it’s all a struggle. But if you can adjust, you will emerge on the other side a stronger, smarter, and more interesting person– surrounded by the most clever and fascinating people on the planet.