I learned that the city has resilience like no other city during natural (or man-made) disasters, and that the people of New York generally coexist peacefully, which is impressive, considering there are 27,352 people per square mile.
But it is a class-divided society. It’s a rich cultural environment, full of galleries and incredible restaurants and museums and shows, but unless you’re wealthy, the city requires sacrifice to enjoy those things. Unless you are rich, you struggle every day. You grind. You ride the subway for two hours just to work at Starbucks. But there’s also nowhere else to be for professional networking. You can access the movers and shakers. You can be a mover and a shaker if you work hard enough. Just plug yourself into the scene, whatever your scene is.
But what ends up happening— or what ended up happening to me— is an unplugging from family life,an unplugging from the things that make you feel whole and rooted. While living in New York, I eventually came to realize that for every good thing about the city, there was also a dark side.
Love never dies, it just changes form.
It will flow, waiting to be discovered or tapped into, in someone, something, someplace else…but its never destructed, only rearranged…
When you pause, and eventually discard, the narrative you craft of what the world, people, or circumstances have done to you or what they mean about you, there is a beautiful, glorious silence. A pause before the breath of the new voice begins to speak: the voice that tells what you bring for the world and that you are of the world.
My history studies fueled my fascination (some might say obsession) with information. Reading it, recording it, sharing it, loving it. I’m convinced that I chose 20th century American history as my specialization because of the sheer amount of primary sources with which I could interact - speeches, books, photographs, film. Ancient Greece? Tougher.
We can all now create and preserve the primary sources not just on ourselves - but the ideas which influence us. For me, that’s the seemingly vast swathe of pages I glance at each night online - only a drop in the data deluge. Tabs? I’ve got them.
After I sent my best friend a metro map visualization of wine regions in France, she asks me half-amused, half-curious: How do you find such cool things?
I readily answer with the channels I look at- social media, publications, et al. In a typing tangent, I uncover a nagging back end to this question. I’m not worried about finding cool things. I’m worried about sharing, saving, and remembering them.
"I’ve been obsessing lately about content curation and finding and saving inspirational, enlightening, & informative things that I come across. I’ve wondered about what the best way is to curate and archive everything in a way that’s searchable and meaningful - and maybe even beautiful? There are so many amazing information & articles, things that you know would be of use to someone else at some point in time or might even change your life at another…and it’s so easy to lose track and forget about it."
I visualize moments of inspiration as little sparks. Whenever an article or quotation lights up my imagination I’m determined to keep the spark burning as long as possible. Bookmarks helped first. Then Facebook and Twitter. Tumblr is the best bellow I’ve found so far. I’m hoping to find or even create an amazing space for these sparks: scattered sparkling data pieces and glowing bytes. For now, I’m grateful to at least collect the ashes of these sparks right here rather than letting them blow away.
Who cares when it’s due?
If you’re on the critical path, if someone is waiting for your contribution, ship now.
Too often, we find ourselves using the deadline as the lever to overcome our fear. If you’re relying on drop dead dates to push yourself, the project is paying a price.
Pursuit is fun. We all pursue opportunities, places, and people. But sometimes we’re too quick to chase.
I’ve played around with this idea for a while, around the time I read this article on Marry Him! in The Atlantic. It conjured up images of friends sitting together writing out lists of the qualities their dream man would have. Spontaneous, kind, funny, ambitious, etc. You’ll notice this exercise of projecting qualities extends to just about everything - career (stimulating), vacation (relaxing), friends (loyal).
For someone who plans and thinks too often, this exercise exhausted me. Why think about, wish for, and list these qualities? Why demand this of other people or experiences? Why not bethem?
Internal resistance to this notion flares up quickly. The qualities we list that we need from something else in our lives? These rarely apply to ourselves - or we rarely think to describe ourselves in this way. It’s unfamiliar and uncomfortable to think we can embody these traits.
You want your partner to be more spontaneous? Plan something new or take a walk outside. Do you want more excitement in your job? Make your own development thrilling and challenging. Do you wish your friends were more interesting? Start reading and start new conversations.
The next times I’ve found myself considering what I would like from someone or something else, I realize that I’m capable of bringing these same facets into my own life. Which in turn leaves me more open to the gifts that other experiences and people can give us. Try embodying instead of demanding. Shift your discontent with others and your life circumstances into contentedness with your power.
Heading off tomorrow to General Assembly in Flatiron for the first time for an NYC Tech Cocktail Mixer! Looking forward to seeing the space, which incidentally happens to be next door to my last internship - a nonprofit which supports high impact entrepreneurship.
Open floorplan, tech talk, new people - what’s not to love?