The Complexity of New York Favors the Clever

“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.

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Adapting to the cold 🙂

From NC to NYC.. Becoming a New York Woman

Everyone knows that where you are from in large part makes you the person you are.  The person you become is a result of where you choose to take your life.  Being from a small town in North Carolina, I was brought up exactly how one might suspect.  I was taught religion, good manners, and how to be a lady.  Coming from a family of good, hardworking, respectable people meant I had a solid foundation towards a nice future.

As I mentioned in my first post, I had wanted to move to New York from the time I was a child.  This dream stemmed from a family vacation with my friend Heather.  Her family took me with them to New York when I was eleven years old, and from that moment I never saw the world the same.  My town was so small, and as much as I loved it there, I had been exposed to something so much bigger and I was forever obsessed.  It was so glamorous and larger than life.  I didn’t know why, but I wanted to be a part of it.  I remember seeing the women wearing sneakers with their suits, carrying their heels in their handbags, and thinking, “I want to be like those women.”

Both my parents are college educated which set the tone for that course of my life. There was never a doubt that I would go to college.  I wanted to be in a city, so I chose to go to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  I spent eight years in Charlotte, four in school and four working there after I graduated.  I certainly needed Charlotte as a buffer for the most culturally diverse city on the planet.  Prior to Charlotte I had very little exposure to other cultures.  In my hometown, it seemed everyone was Christian, and either white, black, or Latino.   Charlotte has a mix of all types of race, religion, and culture.  My time spent there prepared me insurmountably for my move here.  Without that buffer I do not know if I would have adjusted as well as I have.

I find my personal evolution quite interesting, which is a major part of why I started this blog.  My foundation was built on morals and manners- so no matter what changes I go through, that part of me stays the same.  I always try my very hardest to do the right thing and be polite.  My time in Charlotte educated me on different types of people and how to relate and adapt.  I adjusted my Southern accent to be more neutral.  In addition, I worked there in sales for 4 years, so I learned how to be a woman in business.  Now that I am in New York, I have already noticed some changes.  I’m more assertive and opinionated for sure, but I still practice good manners and wear my heart on my sleeve.  I give to the poor when I can, I smile at everyone, and  I offer my seat on the train if someone seems like they need it more than me.  That’s just how I was raised.

I am still evolving and hopefully always will be. You have to take life one step at a time, and the key is to keep dreaming.  Don’t ever think it is silly to believe in your dreams, because they do come true.  I know this because I am now a New York woman who wears sneakers on her walk to work and carries her heels in her handbag- and I can’t help but smile when I see a little girl watching me as I pass by.
IMG_5472                                                         Me with my mama circa 1991

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