Things NYC Has Taught Me

As I pack up my things here in New York City and say goodbye to my favorite pizza place (Stella’s on 9th Avenue in Chelsea- the white pie is delish), I’ve been thinking about everything I’m leaving behind. I went to the South Seaport yesterday with my also departing roommate and we reflected on the things that we’re going to miss most. I don’t want to sad and think negatively for I know I will move back to Brooklyn one day (hopefully within a year, if everything works out). Instead, I want to think about the things I’ve learned during my time on the East Coast. I’m going to do a big 180 lifestyle switch when I get back to Reno, trying to focus on finishing school and paying back my student loans. I feel like I know myself a lot more now and I’m trying to take into account my newfound knowledge and apply it to bettering myself and my future…

1) I’m an introvert, a true INFJ- but there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m quiet and like spending a good chunk of my day all by myself- and there’s nothing wrong with that. Strangers scare me, as well as large groups (which leads to the fact that I have a hard time making friends. This I recognize)- it’s something I will have to work on but eventually, there will be nothing wrong with that.

2) I’ve learned to stop caring so much. New Yorkers walk around with pride, showing off their feather haircuts or zebra pants. They don’t care if their bike looks funny or if they are sporting a laundry bag instead of a Fendi. They dance at the subway platforms and scream at the top of their lungs while making a phone call. I’ve noticed these little details and realized that I’ve spent too much time obsessing about the way I look and desperately trying to fit in. Maybe it’s because I’m older now and I finally do like the shape of my body and how my face looks in boxy glasses. I don’t carry a cute purse and I wear the same tan boots everyday. I have a deeper vocal tone for a woman and I listen to my iPod incredibly loud at inappropriate times. Who cares?

3) Spending time in the sunshine, out on a patch of green grass, does wonders for my soul. It clears my head and gives me plenty of interesting looking tan lines. I have to remember to visit the campus quad when I’m feeling too stressed or anxious this fall.

4) I want to help. I don’t know how to apply this need to my life. Maybe make it a career but I discovered that helping is one of the few things that make me happy. Volunteering at the animal shelter. Making my sick boyfriend some soup. Assisting a mom with her stroller up the subway stairs. With this new venture and my attempt to make things right and become a ‘grown-up,’ my thoughts about the future include grad school- maybe teaching or social work. I had both inspiring teachers and social workers who helped me get through some difficult moments and I want to help those who are struggling like how they helped me. Sure, I can’t save the entire planet but I could maybe save one person’s world.

5) And with the job front- I’m not meant to sit behind a desk from 9am to 5pm, digging through Quickbooks or badly attached Adobe files. Nor telemarketing. Nor nannying.

6) Even at my loneliest bits here, sometimes I felt like the city would wrap her arms around me and tell me everything would be okay. I hate to leave the friends I’ve made here in the city and the family I have nearby and I do hope that we remain friends. But even so, I am thankful to have met the people I’ve had. I’ve learned something from everyone. I have to remember the love I have surrounding me, here and on the West Coast, and that I’m never truly alone.

RISK (not the board game)…

“One cannot refuse to eat just because there is a chance of being choked.” ~Author Unknown

Where does faith come from? I’ve been wondering this lately, as I stress about my upcoming move and starting school in the fall. The anxiety of things failing sets in and leaves me with sleepless nights in front of the television, snuggling with my roommate’s elderly cats. I’ll admit that I worry about everything. EVERY LITTLE THING. Not just my move back west. I worry about my mom and grandmother, the homeless guy on the subway, the African babies on the Save the Children infomercials. After doing this constant, stressful worrying for 25+ years, I’ve finally recognized these times when my anxiety grows beyond belief. With some mindful practice and a lot of journaling, I can calm my mental demons that slowly start to build up again for tomorrow’s thought process.

I bought my plane ticket to Nevada yesterday and I did so with my chest burning, thinking about all the great things I’m leaving behind here in New York City: riding my bike around Prospect Park, the cute cafe a few blocks from my apartment that serves amazing French donuts, a certain guy with lots of tattoos that I think I could fall madly in love with. I hesitated before I hit the purchase link. Is losing all of this worth the risk of moving back to Nevada? Why am I chosing to start over all again? What if this happens? What is that happens? Why am I risking so much, especially when I’m just only imaging the outcomes (both positive and negative)? The mental demons spun around in my head as I clicked, ‘buy.’

Before I decided to move, I thought about hitch-hiking across the country (even though, as a woman, I imagine the dangers that could occur while out on the road; dangers that equal crazed serial killers). As I packed up my books, getting ready to donate most of them to the Salvation Army, I reread my copy of “Into the Wild.” Despite his death at the end (sorry to ruin the climax of the biography for those who haven’t read it), I’ve always admired Christopher McCandless, the hero hitcher. The choices he made were brave. They may not have been the wisest but he didn’t let fear get in the way. Even when things got tough for him, when he ran out of food and money. Okay, this is speculation, after all- he may have been completely terrified but he continued to press forward, risking it all and setting his sights on the Alaskan wilderness (which he conquered and there lived for the rest of his days).

I guess you just have to know that when you risk, you win. True, things may not turn out exactly the way you pictured them in your head but there is some kind of satisfaction with that risk you made. The fear will always be there. I don’t think there’s anything you could do about it except grit your teeth, take that chance and move forward. At least you have the guts to do so.

I Guess This is Growing Up

“We grow neither better nor worse as we get older, but more like ourselves.” ~May Lamberton Becker

I have a confession to make: I still watch cartoons… with an unstoppable passion. And I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. Send me to rehab, AA, whatever. You can’t take SpongeBob SquarePants away from my heart. Because I now work the afternoon shift, I like to spend my mornings in front of the tube with my bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, flipping through channels. It isn’t the most productive thing to do in the morning. especially when I have a million and one things to accomplish on my to-do list. But it’s like one of lessons I learned from the movie, “Zombieland,” I savour the little things (thanks for the suggestion, Woody Harrelson. You’re a babe). Savoring is what I do every day before noon; curling up in my roommate’s Snuggie, with the gang from “Adventure Time.”

I know that there are plenty of twenty-somethings out there getting their daily animation fix out there, whether if you consider yourself an adult or not. Let’s face it: I don’t consider myself an adult at all despite rolling into my  official late twenties three weeks ago. Sure, I can drink alcohol (like a champ, I might add) and cook for myself but when it comes to make a grown-up decision, my brain twists and turns and one can’t be made. When this happens, I usually call one of my parents and take the advice they give me. My parents do give me great tidbits of information to chew on, which I’m thankful for. I’m sure if I were living closer, my mom would help me chose what to wear in the mornings, everything from my undergarments to my footwear.

With this new set of issues that have recently sprung up, my fingers are itching to call my folks and wait for their lectures. But something is holding me back. I can picture my dad on the other end, haphazardly roaming the bottom floor of his home, explaining that I’m an old enough of an individual to make this decision. I would cry and want to hang up and once I do, I call my mom who will instruct me to listen to my father and make my selection based on what he says.

It could be considered a bit pathetic to whine like a two-year old about this but I’m honesty scared. I have two different, but equally as amazing opportunities placed before me. I spend half the day, convinced that Answer A is the best thing for me right now but I turn my back and change my mind once more. I can commit to being a girlfriend, spoiling the crap out of someone, but I can’t commit to my future plans. Maybe that’s what I need to do- approach this problem like I do with relationships. Stick to one single though, nurture it slightly and develop a deep passion for it. Perhaps then, I’ll eventually fall for one of my two plans and love the pieces out it, finally being satisfied with my decision. Yes, I think that’s the plan… Pick one and adore it like a boyfriend. I think that would be the grown-up thing to do.

(NOTE: When I was younger, I always imagined being an adult, being almost thirty-flirty-and-thriving, wearing a fabulous pair of Manolo pumps. What was I thinking then? I never thought it would be this hard. Complain, complain, complain. Thank you, dear reader, for following along. Now, back to jamming out some angry Kanye rants.)