Making-it in New York City - The Ugly Truth
Making-it in New York City. I Googled it -- I found about 3,380,000,000 results in less than 1 second. Infinite articles on how to succeed as a New Yorker, list after list of how-to-guides on if, why, and when you should make your move to NYC, what it takes to make it in the Big Apple, laundry-lists of tips from New Yorkers, pros and cons, and so on. It's undoubtedly a popular question (whether you are a NYer or not) with answers that seem to easily roll off our tongues but which I'm afraid doesn't have anything "easy" about it.
TV-series, movies, books, even social media (nowadays) have probably done a great disservice and muddy the waters when it comes to NYC giving off this "work hard and anything is possible" vibe. That's because they tell us that it is indeed "hard" but they never really show us How Hard you truly have to work to maybe have ONE chance at making it.
Don't get me wrong, to say that New York is the City of Dreams where anything is possible is very much like saying that America is the land of opportunities and new frontiers. I think we can historically agree that both sentences are true (racial disparities notwithstanding that is.) Still, to just describe New York City and America in those lights might be a bit tone-deaf. Yes, New York is the city where dreams (some) do come true, but it's also the city where hearts get broken and wings get clipped on a regular.
I'm not writing this to "diss" on my home. I love NYC. I wouldn't live anywhere else. I'm a proud New Yorker that has been trying "to make it" in her personal life, her career, her dreams every day of her life. I guess I just want to put out there how truly difficult and frustrating it can get. I feel sometimes it's nice to let go of the pretenses and just say "Hey, I struggle too!" or "Oh Geez, I'm going through the same hard patch. Maybe we can help each other." The fact that our society, our generation especially (caught between late Millennial & first Gen Z years) only puts out there the pretty things and the successes and not our hardships and vulnerabilities, it's not really doing us any favor to prepare us for life.
I personally love the rush, the running around, the falling down and getting back up, the hysteria, hey maybe I even love the pain, and probably I wouldn't really function any other way. But there are days when I allow myself to just stop for a second, I look in the mirror, and I ask myself -- "is it really worth it?" You see, to me, it has never been about what Making It in New York entails per se, but if, in the end, it's worth it -- to me.
I don't think there is a definitive answer one way or the other. Better yet, the answer will be my life-long journey. What I try to do personally is balance my life the best way I can -- stumbling one day and getting back on track the next. I try to read improvement and motivational books that might help me in the process. And more important than what I try to do is what I try NOT to do. What I generally try to avoid -- the cliches and those cheesy "Hollywood"-type stories that I simply don't think will lead us anywhere. I believe those are the stories, yes beautiful, inspiring even, stories of the exceptions, and to bank on being the exception instead of the norm might be, in the end, suicidal.