I’m sure you’ve heard naysayers explain that everyone in NYC is out to get their “piece of the pie”. I bet you’ve heard New Yorkers are always tired because they’ve been climbing their way up the corporate latter, or that we value money and status over family. You’ve probably heard the young people in Brooklyn are all wannabes, and that we have an unrealistic view on the real world. And I’m 99% certain someone told you everyone in Manhattan is living off daddy’s dime.
Most of that is true.
There is a weird pressure here. It isn’t felt in any particular moment throughout the day, but there is a constant weight. It’s not just feeling like you’re small, or that your goals are insignificant (that’s a given). It’s a pressure to break the mold of the average New Yorker – even though you have to take on some aspects of that lifestyle. It’s a realization that you can’t turn back. It’s understanding that you won’t be happy until you finish what you came out here to do.
Sure, you could afford a 2,500 sq. ft. home with a basement and garage in the suburbs. You could live a happy life there. You could let your dog poop in grass without hearing someone yell, you could cross the road without fearing for your life, and you could promise to make occasional trips into the city in an effort to rekindle your creative drive.
But it’s not the same.
There is something about the fight – about the steady grind – that makes the end goal stay in focus. There’s something about not making rent, being too afraid to buy a two dollar slice of pizza, and refusing to turn the lights on between the hours of 6am – 8pm that somehow pushes you to find a way to make it work.
(I hope you read that in Tim Gun’s voice)
That constant pressure to keep up enables you to achieve things you probably thought were way out of reach. It forces you to not only understand gumption, but find it buried in your core.
Some people here don’t know how to actively fight for what they want. They confuse being forceful as having power, and they mistake kindness for weakness. A lot of up-and-comings try to drill their way into a “power” status, but they are only missing the larger cause.
We shouldn’t be out to tear each other down just because we are after the same things.
We all have somewhere we want to be, and it’s probably nowhere near where we are now.
Nearly everyone I meet here is chasing after something. There are actors, writers, web designers, rappers, producers, set designers, opera singers, dancers…the list is endless.
The ones I cheer for are the ones who seem to be looking out for each other.
There is a saying about how it’s lonely at the top, but it’s only lonely if you suck. If you trampled everyone down during your climb, I imagine that top is pretty shitty. But if you encourage each other and build on each other’s strengths – the top would be like a roof top party in DUMBO.
Being forceful doesn’t make you powerful, and being kind doesn’t mean you’re weak.
Realizing everyone has a past, a dream, a passion and a place is vital. We can’t get anywhere without someone else, and we can’t help each other out if we are too caught up in justifying our own significance.