A Year in New York

It’s been one whole year since I’ve moved to New York. I’m currently writing this blog post on a packed subway car, during the evening rush hour, trying to balance two full bags of groceries. Funny, the parallels of these bags and my experience this past year. It’s been about learning balance. You have to be more than willing to take the bad with the good living here.

Getting adjusted and acquainted with the New York way of life really took a toll on me my first couple of months here. Minor things that used to be simple had now become more challenging. Everything here takes more time and planning. I used be able to get in my car and go to multiple stores to run errands and buy groceries with ease. Now, I have to be more calculated in terms of what time I should go to the store to beat the lines and the crowds, what day I should go to the store (popular produce tends to be out-of -stock often), and take into consideration how many items I can transport from the store, on to the train, and to my home. Not to mention having to worry about the weather, I’ve had to carry full bags on hot days, and I’ve had  brown paper bags break apart on rainy days. Simple everyday tasks were now daunting. I wasn’t seeing the good that was coming from the bad so far… 

I remember I used to ask people if they would ever live in New York long before I moved here and they would always give me the same response. “It’s too crowded and too busy”, they would say. And they were right. I used to get overwhelmed and frustrated very easily with crowds until I started to realize that this was teaching me to be more patient. And you know what else crowds have taught me? Confidence. I’m more open to starting a conversation with a complete stranger. Living in my neighborhood, this has helped me practice speaking Spanish more (Spanish is my second language). I used to be afraid to speak Spanish out of fear that I would sound ignorant due to my choice of words or not knowing how to interpret particular things. This is helping me have better and more meaningful conversations and helping me interact with people I would have never attempted to interact with in the past. Being subjected to crowds majority of the time has also made me comfortable with taking selfies and shooting for this blog without worrying about who is looking or staring, this is something I could not get over where I used to live. There was some good coming from bad after all…

With all of the challenges I have encountered, it took me a while to realize that they were helping me. Helping me grow every single day. I was developing and strengthening characteristics I thought were weak and needed improvement. This was me understanding the art of balance. That with what I thought was overwhelming and frustrating, I was also gaining and learning.

I try my best to see things from both sides now. For every crowded train car, there’s a story within a passenger ready to be shared. For every late train, there’s a talented musician you get to enjoy for free because you are forced to wait. For every long line, that’s time you get to reflect on your thoughts. For every bad, there is good that comes with it. That’s balance. That is what my first year in New York has taught me.

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