I feel like the start of this post is going to make my mother cringe. Do you ever just take notes about something and not want to edit them? She would say no. As the rebellious middle child, I am going to do just that.
The other day, I was taking the path home trying to prepare for this post. I have started giving myself prompts and seeing where the keyboard takes me. I have not yet, successfully, written the post about what I thought the prompt intended, but I feel like that makes for more raw ideas to share with you. Somehow the prompt of “NYC: Things To Do On a Budget” has led me to this. Don’t worry, I am going to re-try the prompt to actually share things to do on a budget.
Now, please do not critique my note-taking. After re-reading, I do understand some of these are vague or repetitive.
My Raw Notes:
The beauty in the subway
Feel at home
The gorgeous architecture
Small but creative spaces
The community of people who don’t talk
Proud to be a New Yorker
Nothing is weird
Everything is accepted
It hard not to be me
I understand there are certain traits that are stereotypical of New Yorkers. If I had written this post pre-Covid, I am not sure I would have had the same appreciation for it all. The first time I was able to walk back into a subway I think I smiled and thought “We’re Back”. It is hard to imagine how a dirty underground location could make someone feel so happy until you take a look at what it represents. Being in the subway meant that I was going somewhere.
It has been a really weird transition back into having a social life or even the possibility of one. I was able to see one of my best friends that I had seen once in the past year. I almost cried. The emptiness and confusion, the fatigue and loneliness I had been feeling started melting away with the gray snow on the ground. For those of you who have never seen snow in NYC, it is disgusting, but also beautiful.
So yes, I missed the dirty subways. I missed the random people doing curious things. I missed the loud teenagers and the crying babies. I missed all of it. It is hard to imagine how I was able to fall asleep in the suburbs. How does one sleep soundly without a siren going past your apartment? Every night, I hear a new sound of my new neighborhood. It is far from the sound of a woodland creature like at my house, but it reminds me that I am back in the city of life. I am home.
I was worried to be back in New York if the streets were going to be bare. If the spirit of the city that I loved had been silenced during the pandemic. As someone with great rhythm once said, “I get knocked down, but I get up again. You are never going to keep me down.” If cities had anthems, this would be ours.
I have to admit, I was not sure if I would like to live on the west side. I really loved my apartment in Gramercy. The eastside subways were always cleaner. I was close to the bars and close to work. Now, the streets are louder and filled with more people which also means dirtier. I have to take the 123, but there is also more beauty. The architecture on the west side has me drooling over staircases leading to ornate doors. The buildings are not the tallest, but they have so much character.
“Small, but creative spaces”
I’d like to take this moment to applaud the people who have been reading along with my raw notes as you read along with my written word. There are always a few notes where I have no idea what I meant. What could have been a genius idea is now lost because the best way I could think to write it down was “Small, but creative spaces”. I will try better next time.
New York is one big community of people who don’t talk to each other. Strangers do not say hi, but if they did, or if they needed help, we would still be there for them. New York is filled with some of the most inclusive thinkers. True. Also true that New York is filled with some of the most exclusive cliques. These two statements shouldn’t make sense, but they do.
I have yet to meet someone who is not proud to be a New Yorker. I have met a lot of different people throughout my travels and everyone has an opinion about their own state. Not one New Yorker has ever said they wished they were from another state. If you are reading this, and from New York, but wish you weren’t, let’s chat. I am curious to see why because I love New York.
What is not to love? We are proud. We are strong. We have endless opportunities. New York is a diverse community in the truest sense of the word. We are diverse in class, in race, and in ideals. We have debates and grow through conversation.
Why not weird?
If the above was not enough to convince you to love New York, how about the fact that nothing is considered weird? Everything and everyone is accepted. Of course, there will be areas or people who judge or exclude you, but the majority of New Yorkers do not care. If it makes you happy, it is not hurting me. It is possible they won’t want to hang out with you, but they will not make your life worse for being exactly who you were meant to be.
**If this is the first time you are hearing about this groundbreaking concept, take notes. If it makes you happy and it is not hurting me, then WHY DO YOU CARE?
Since I moved here, the first time, I have grown immensely as a person. I have figured out when I need alone time and how to spend it when I get it. Time alone helped me figure out what kinds of people I want to be surrounded by. I have learned to be myself in every situation. It helps determine which people you should hang out with again and which you should not waste your effort on. I have found it extremely hard to not be myself when I am here. The city invigorates me. I am happy to be back.
If I hadn’t decided to share my raw notes and my stream of consciousness with you, I definitely would have re-organized my thoughts. I do not like that I ended my notes with some negative aspects of the city, but in an effort to stay true to this task, I will continue on.
New York City is filled with power. No, I don’t mean there is a lot of electricity flooding the streets, even though there is. People in this city have real power. If you go anywhere in the world, they know about NYC. If you want to work in most industries, you can do it in NYC. There is not much you cannot do in NYC. I guess if you wanted to be a farmer, but fire escape farming has become a more popular hobby these days.
I do not believe that everyone having power is a bad thing, but we have seen too frequently that power leads to corruption. The power of the people is awesome. The power of a few select wealthy people is not.
Another negative aspect of this wonderful city is temptation. While there are certainly ways to live here on a budget, there are far more ways to spend your money. There are too many delicious restaurants, too many bars with unique cocktails, and too many spots to spend your time. After living in New York, if you have done it successfully, I think could leave a strong financial future and expertise of self-control.
There is a cupcake shop around the corner that has the most delicious cupcakes. Constant temptation, but for my health, I do not need a cupcake a day and for my wallet, I cannot afford one. I will be sure to report back on how I am balancing this temptation. I have told myself that self-care Thursday is not cupcake Thursday, but isn’t treating yourself part of self-care?
On a different note, I hope you enjoyed my raw notes explained. If anyone has any suggestions for writing prompts, I am open to hearing them.
Challenge: Give yourself 20 minutes to walk around outside and just take notes. Observe and see what you come up with. This was a fun post to write!