New York can be a really lonely place.
In a city of 8.5 million people living on top of one another, it is really easy to feel lost in the shuffle. Everyone living in NYC is at the top (or fighting to be at the top) of his or her respective field. These people have come from all over the world to be -and be surrounded by- the best of the best. After 5+ years, I have finally started to fully understand Frank Sinatra's sentiment, "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere." I really feel like living and competing in any other city in the country would feel like a piece of cake after this insanity. This also means that everyone is busy, literally all of the time, trying to do more- to be better
New York is brutal.
Even the weather is extreme. Yesterday it was 60 degrees and beautiful. Today, it was freezing and snowing! - But that's another story. This story is about people.
I have found that New York tends to attract like-minded people. Or, because NYC is so extreme, like-minded people often find one another. And when you find people with whom you feel connected in a city of 8.5 million, you cling to them for dear life.
Winter can be a particularly difficult season to maintain these relationships. It's cold. It's dreary. People are broke because of the holidays. And the Mass Transit Crisis certainly doesn't help. You've got to work extra hard to carve time out of your schedule and coordinate encounters with other humans, or you will, most assuredly, go completely insane (especially if you're an extrovert...seriously it's a problem). And as wonderfully motivated as these 8.5 million people are, 90% of them are complete flakes when it comes to social engagements. As an individual who lives, eats, works, and breathes as dictated by my paper planner (Yes I still use a paper planner. Yes I am a little Type A. No, none of this should surprise you if you know me), this drives me nuts. Once I have your name written down in my planner, that time is yours. In addition to my rigidly planned schedule, quality time is one of my love languages, so it's a big deal for me to say no to other requests or obligations and devote that time to (the hypothetical) you. If you cancel on me last minute... Ooooooooh no. Just don't. Anyway. Again. Not what this is about...
While some people are flakes, a handful of those 8.5 million people are, in the words of the Original Galentine Hostess with the Mostest, Leslie Knope, "poetic and noble land-mermaids." I am so thankful I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with some of those land-mermaids today at a beautiful Galentines celebration in Harlem. Our delightful host (and one of my absolute Besties) Katherine opened up her cozy apartment to 30+ glorious women of different backgrounds, with multiple career trajectories, in various stages of life, and with a myriad of dietary restrictions, to celebrate one another and get to know each other just a little bit better. It was such an honor to stand around with these women, sharing stories and laughing. I had a moment this afternoon where I looked around and realized that even with the brutal snow blowing outside (SERIOUSLY?!?! MORE SNOW?!?!), we were warm. Even with all of the heartbreak and evil in the world, we were united in laughter. Even with all of the challenges, headaches, and heartbreaks New York can throw, we were living the dream! I don't think there are enough words to express how important and encouraging this was to me in the middle of what has been a long and rather challenging winter.
Women are awesome.
Women surviving and thriving in New York are especially awesome today.
I am so very thankful to be one of them.
And I hope that wherever you are, you have moments like this at some point this week- moments that make you really truly thankful to be exactly where you are- where you are meant to be.
Grace Be With You,