My First New York-iversary

Considering that this year has been so inspired, I feel ironically uninspired while setting out to write this.

Maybe it’s because New York has now become my life. The novelty of living here has worn off, and although there are still moments when I stop in my tracks, and look up at the skyline in awe, most days I’m still tired in the morning. I don’t always have a hop in a step. I don’t always feel like spending 30 minutes choosing an outfit to look like a fashionable New Yorker. I gawk every time I receive my rent bill. And I’m still disappointed that my life, somehow, hasn’t ended up like an episode of Friends.

Living in New York is nothing like I had imagined. Of course, I’ve always been the idealistic type, imagining the figurative next step as something grand, idyllic, romantic, literary. Built up and written down through expectations set through the media, New Yorkers, and society in general. The Greatest City in the World, they all say.

And sometimes it is. It is the greatest city. The greatest city with the greatest food, the smartest people, the prettiest places, the toughest days. A city in which challenges abound.

I don’t love New York for New York’s sake. I don’t love it because of the cool places, or the museums, or the cocktails, or the shopping, or the Jake Gyllenhaal sightings, or the macaroons, or the pizza, or the rooftop bars  (though these are all seriously wonderful).

I love it because of what it’s done for me. It has tested my limits, taught me the importance of good people, and helped me understand the value of a real career — one that brings passion & excitement back into every day. It has made my relationships stronger, my confidence steadier, and my skin thicker. It’s helped me realize that when you find someone you love, you stick with them, because they really are one in a million.

And although I miss being closer to my family, my cozy (and unrealistically large) Chicago apartment, and the lovely feeling of the Midwest, I am pretty damn proud of myself for making it here (especially without getting kicked to the curb at work or going broke).

Here are some of my favorite memories from the last year.

Attending the US Open with BF

Bike Rides and Picnics in Central Park

Mornings at BBH New York

Afternoon Viewings at BBH New York

Birthdays Experiencing Sleep No More

Christmas-time Walks (and SantaCon HA)

Pizza Party Birthdays

Eating Macaroons with K

Soaking up the view form my first NYC apartment

Highline Funs with the Sis

St Patty’s Day with the Cuz

New York Art Crawl

Tribeca Film Festival

Boat rides on the Hudson with favorites

Rekindling Best Friendships

It’s been a doozy of a year.

XO,

AG

 

Jennifer Egan at the New Yorker: Short Story Revealed via Tweets

Have you guys heard of “Black Box?”

It’s a new short story by Jennifer Egan, author of Pulitzer prize winning “A Visit from the Goon Squad.” My friend, and fellow bookworm, Sanjana shared it with me this morning, and I think the concept is totally brilliant:

A short story, revealed piece by piece, meaning 140-characters at a time, on Twitter. One tweet per minute, from 8-9pm. Follow @NYerFiction to tune in.

What a great way to get Internet Snobs (who can’t tear themselves away from their digital screens long enough to read a chapter of a book) reading proper literature again! There’s also something really old-school about it. Like when families used to gather by the radio to hear stories revealed in the same piecemeal way. Love it.

For those whose social agenda is simply too demanding to carve out an hour for Twitter-reading, you can follow the entire story here, daily.

Have a lovely Friday!

xx,

AG

How To Be Alone

I borrowed this from my sister’s new blog. And I love it. I’ve listened to it twice and read the poem once. There’s so much validity in what this woman says. I’ve italicized my favorite parts, but the entire thing is beautiful.

 

How To Be Alone

By Tanya Davis

If you are at first lonely, be patient.

If you’ve not been alone much, or if when you were, you weren’t okay with it, then just wait. You’ll find it’s fine to be alone once you’re embracing it.

We can start with the acceptable places, the bathroom, the coffee shop, the library, where you can stall and read the paper, where you can get your caffeine fix and sit and stay there. Where you can browse the stacks and smell the books; you’re not supposed to talk much anyway so it’s safe there.

There is also the gym, if you’re shy, you can hang out with yourself and mirrors, you can put headphones in.

Then there’s public transportation, because we all gotta go places.

And there’s prayer and mediation, no one will think less if your hanging with your breath seeking peace and salvation.

Start simple. Things you may have previously avoided based on your avoid being alone principles.

The lunch counter, where you will be surrounded by “chow downers”, employees who only have an hour and their spouses work across town, and they, like you, will be alone.

Resist the urge to hang out with your cell phone.

When you are comfortable with “eat lunch and run”, take yourself out for dinner; a restaurant with linen and Silverware. You’re no less an intriguing a person when you are eating solo desert and cleaning the whip cream from the dish with your finger. In fact, some people at full tables will wish they were where you were.

Go to the movies. Where it’s dark and soothing, alone in your seat amidst a fleeting community.

And then take yourself out dancing, to a club where no one knows you, stand on the outside of the floor until the lights convince you more and more and the music shows you. Dance like no one’s watching because they’re probably not. And if they are, assume it is with best human intentions. The way bodies move genuinely to beats, is after-all, gorgeous and affecting. Dance until you’re sweating. And beads of perspiration remind you of life’s best things. Down your back, like a book of blessings.

Go to the woods alone, and the trees and squirrels will watch for you. Go to an unfamiliar city, roam the streets, they are always statues to talk to, and benches made for sitting gives strangers a shared existence if only for a minute, and these moments can be so uplifting and the conversation you get in by sitting alone on benches, might of never happened had you not been there by yourself. 

Society is afraid of alone though. Like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements. Like people must have problems if after awhile nobody is dating them.

But lonely is a freedom that breathes easy and weightless, and lonely is healing if you make it.

You can stand swathed by groups and mobs or hands with your partner, look both further and farther in the endless quest for company.

But no one is in your head. And by the time you translate your thoughts an essence of them maybe lost or perhaps it is just kept. Perhaps in the interest of loving oneself, perhaps all those “sappy slogans” from pre-school over to high school groaning, we’re tokens for holding the lonely at bay.

Cause if you’re happy in your head, then solitude is blessed, and alone is okay.

It’s okay if no one believes like you, all experience is unique, no one has the same synapses, can’t think like you, for this be relieved, keeps things interesting, life’s magic things in reach, and it doesn’t mean you aren’t connected, and the community is not present, just take the perspective you get from being one person in one head and feel the effects of it.

Take silence and respect it.

If you have an art that needs a practice, stop neglecting it, if your family doesn’t get you or a religious sect is not meant for you, don’t obsess about it.

You could be in an instant surrounded if you need it.

If your heart is bleeding, make the best of it.

There is heat in freezing, be a testament.

XO,

AG