Whenever I hear stories about people moving in Manhattan or their horror stories about how Manhattan has chewed them up and spit them out, I can’t help but think about myself. And why I haven’t had any of those experiences.
Maybe it’s because I’m still only 23 years old. Maybe it’s because I still live at home with my parents. Maybe it’s because I live in an outer borough of New York City. But then again, who really knows?
The more I think about it, the more grateful I am to have grown up in one of the most challenging cities in the world. Growing up in New York really shaped who I am today. That’s why when people tell me New York has been harsh to them, I get confused. But then I realize that it’s because they didn’t grow up this way. They didn’t grow up with that us vs. them mentality – which kind of sounds bad, but it’s true: New Yorkers are a different breed.
The reality is this: New York is a tough place. I can see it when I’m walking through the streets and people are throwing their bodies into one another just to make it across the street in time. I see it when people are struggling to pay rent all while being miserable at their job. I can see it when recent college graduates have to put their dreams on hold because they want to move to Manhattan, but can’t due to entry-level pay.
And let me tell you: I feel for these people. I really do. Because for me it’s the complete opposite. And I’m truly lucky to not have these types of hardships. It’s the little things that help you make it here. For example, I know how to walk around people at a fast speed to avoid contact (and possibly a verbal fight). I know this city pretty damn well. My paychecks don’t have to go to a studio apartment rent. And I love my job more than anything. New York is good to me.
All of the things I learned growing up in the city aren’t really “things I learned growing up in New York” anymore. They’re a part of me. A really big part of me. And like I said before, who knows? Who knows where life will take me in a few years or what kind of hard times will be thrown at me. But for right now, I think this is exactly where New York wants me to be.