If New York was an album, it'd be Duke Ellington and John Coltrane's from 1963. "The Feeling of Jazz" would play while birds dive in front of five story walk ups on a busy street.
The romantic appeal of the city is there, of course. But the reality of my first week has been far from idyllic. I've had more coffee than food and laying awake, thinking about my budget and finances on the cot of my Airbnb "microroom" has become more of a regular habit than I care to admit. My start hasn't been glamorous. I now cringe at the mention of broker fees and will never again take for granted a couch to crash on- never in my life did I think finding one would be so impossible to come by. My human contact has shifted from my London community to realtors and my Airbnb host, and I've found myself spending more money in a week and a half here than I did an entire month in London. Welcome to New York.
Admittedly, I'm tired. The tension of the first days has moved to a low level of fatigue. And though I certainly wouldn't have complained were I handed an easier transition, I somehow feel okay about it all, despite my rough introduction.
In Paulo Coelho's "Like the Flowing River," there's a passage where he discusses the 'mountains' of our life:
"Don't be influenced by what other people say: 'that one's prettier' or 'that one looks easier'. You are going to put a lot of energy and enthusiasm into achieving your objective, and you are the only person responsible for your choice, so be quite sure about what you are doing."
I read Coelho's words on the subway toward Upper West Side. I was on my way to yet another viewing and second guessing basically every decision I've made in the last month and a half. But when I read that last sentence, I felt at ease.
I am quite sure about what I'm doing. I don't have all the answers, but at least I know what I want.
New York wasn't the original plan, and leaving London and starting here certainly hasn't all been kicks. But I'm certain about my pursuit- the career I want and the sacrifices I'm willing to make to get there. The feeling of New York is a good one because I know what I aim to achieve here.
In time, my Airbnb staying, house hunting days will be behind me. I'll be settled into a place and building a community here. I'll still miss what I made for myself in London. But the beauty of creation is that in creating something new, you don't have to destroy that which you already created. With the right time, effort and discernment, I can create something wonderful here too, in its own right- something that doesn't detract from what I've already built a few thousand miles away.
New York may not meet my romantic ideal just yet, but I'm quite sure about what I'm doing here. So, I'll keep playing Ellington & Coltrane as I walk these streets and keep at my climb, thanking Mister Coelho for his words of wisdom as I go...
"Don't keep repeating, 'I'm going to do it.' Your soul knows this already. What it needs to do is to use this long walk in order to grow, to reach out as far as the horizon, to touch the sky. Obsession will not help you in the search for your goal, and will end up spoiling the pleasure of the climb."
Enjoying and learning from this chapter as the pages turn