Going to college, as ripe an opportunity for growth as it was, pales in comparison to moving to New York. No team, no coaches, no built-in friend group…
Wait, no orientations, classes, tutors [what? not me!], or school-sanctioned social functions either.
Nope, just me, the city, and roughly eight-to-ten million people I had never met, still haven’t met, and will never meet.
New York is an inherently humbling beast. You think things are going your way — you can finally give nagging tourists directions, you’ve stopped smiling at strangers when you make eye contact on the subway [because that really fahhreaks people out up here], you know all the Jewish holidays and their traditions by heart, you’ve even taken part in all the Jewish holidays and their traditions…
And then New York comes calling. It knocks you down. Way down. Further than you thought possible. It reminds you that you’re hundreds of miles from your family. Oh, and most of your friends. It tells you all about how expensive life can be and how competitive and ruthless some people are.
Along the way, basking in the glory of those highs and bitching and moaning through those lows, I’ve learned a thing or two [let's be real, I was never going to stop this list at 'two'].
1. How to budget. Budget like WHOA.
2. How to get a bartender to totally forget I have a cash tab [see #1].
3. How to get other patrons to pick up said tab without infringing on my sexual/moral/personal integrity [or theirs].
4. That knowing your limit does not necessarily make you weak.
5. And obeying that limit does not necessarily make you smart.
6. The less you want to ask a question, the more important it probably is.
7. If someone ever asks your permission to date, court, or sleep with the man you love, tell them no.
8. They will probably do so anyway.
9. They probably already have.
10. Loyalty is important.
11. But when you get down to it — down to that golden nugget of truth hiding at the center of the universe — very few people are loyal.
12. This does not negate #10.
13. But, still, not everyone deserves yours. Keep an eye out.
14. There are very, very few reasons to ever hurt someone. Ironically enough, these times are also when you want to the least.
15. People grow apart.
16. People leave.
17. In both scenarios, it’s okay to miss them.
18. Sometimes, it’s okay to tell them so.
19. They are not obligated to care, or reciprocate.
20. Holding on to something that no longer works, be it a relationship, partnership, friendship, or job is unfair to everyone involved.
21. Being sorry usually means more to you than to the one you’ve hurt.
22. Be honest.
23. Life goes on.
24. But really, it does. Whether or not you want it to.
25. Everyone has something to say.
26. It’s best to let them say it.
27. Being sensitive doesn’t mean you’re desperate. It’s not a flaw, no matter how many times people may try to convince you it is.
28. Sometimes people you really love — really, really love — will end up hating you.
29. It hurts.
30. After a crisis, it might feel as if you lost part of your soul.
31. Don’t worry, you’ll get it back.
32. Theme parties still exist. They’re still fun.
33. The city is beautiful at night.
34. Also, during the day.
36. If you buy earrings from a sidewalk vendor, wash before wearing.
36. Be yourself. Be your weird self as hard as you can.
37. Becoming jaded as you get older is something people have said and written about forever. Know this is optional. Bad things happen; things you never wanted to happen, to you and/or to those you love. You’re going to like things you shouldn’t, love people who don’t deserve you, and miss opportunities you should’ve valued. Rather than cast those experience aside, chalking them up as stupid mistakes, feel them. The pain, the stupidity, the loss. Feel them as passionately as you feel the good and great things. Then, move on, and work to make happy the person you were before things got all twisted and torn inside.
38. Have fun.
39. Lots of it.