It’s too easy to blame the malaise of your early to mid twenties on New York City: “I’m living in a closet, thanks to the entry-level position I could only attain through my parents.” “I make a ton of money, but my company owns my soul and I work so many hours I don’t even have the strength to masturbate.” “It’s so hard to meet people, and all my Tinder dates try to touch me.” No shit. We all knew what we were getting into when we moved here–if not from tales of elder siblings or friends trying to “make it” in the Big Apple, then through all those horrible Thought Catalog articles written by midwesterners scraping by on waitressing gigs and their painfully slowing metabolism. (Yes, I’m referring to Hooters.)
Aside from wondering how a Trader Joe’s line can conceivably wrap around the entire store, one of the hardest things to grasp while living in New York is not confusing our own expectations and goals with other people’s concepts of success. A lot of us were lucky enough to come from homes and school systems that supported the idea that we could be anything and do everything we aspired to, provided we put the work into it. The problem now is that we feel compelled to do everything.
Whether it’s staying up all night to work a freelance job on top of your full-time gig, blogging, or creating a startup business based on your own passions, so many of us spread ourselves too thin. We become discouraged with the end result, or lack thereof. There’s a great New York Times article on this horrible fad of judging self-worth based on how “busy” people are. The amount of time one has to spare for something other than his or her supposedly burgeoning success is just another stat to determine his or her contribution to society. The fact is, this could simply be a crutch for the crippling loneliness you’re afraid will ensue if you stop for a moment to face yourself and your demons. #FYI
I’m not attempting to say, “stop relentlessly pursuing your goals so you have more time to drink gin and play with bunnies,” but rather that the purpose of being busy is so you’ll also be able to guiltlessly take time for yourself. Whether it be with a significant other, friends, your yoga mat, the liquor cabinet, or a bastard child you fathered with the aforementioned Hooters waitress, it’s totally and completely up to you. New York is a place to dream up and execute goals, but it’s also great for spending four hours at brunch and then accidentally throwing your phone at some bitch who keeps subtweeting you. And then complaining about it to your therapist in order to up your Klonopin prescription.
It’s lovely that the city provides us with a seemingly endless array of opportunities. In fact, it’s why we all moved here in the first place, from the finance wizards to the fashion designers to the straight up gold diggers. However, there’s a fine line between taking care of your future and getting caught up in the “what ifs,” ultimately chasing someone else’s dream. Keep the pimp hand strong and your priorities in check.