New York is a dangerous place for people without a plan. I knew this, disregarded it, and got lost as was to be expected.
The City. People come here from all over the world to “make it big” in Art, Music, Money and more. Twenty-four year olds and forty-two year olds alike work their asses off in the City as managing directors, junior ad executives, or baristas/actors, all chasing different shades of the same brass ring. Sweat and dreams, failure and success, make New York feel like the center of universe as soon as you pop out of the subway. I love it.
Problem is, that in the race for the rings, many of us run like rats in a maze, forgetting that simple pleasures such as having breakfast with our grandparents, climbing something tall, and seeing the sun for more than 30 minutes a day are even options. Why? Among other reasons, it’s much easier to prioritize one activity above all others when faced by the infinite possibilities the City offers us. To do otherwise is to risk paralysis by analysis.
The collective tunnel vision of its residents makes NYC a particularly dangerous place to be without a plan. All of these driven people are likely to run you over if you don’t know where you are going. Even if you are fleet footed, you’ll probably go mad trying to convince your peers to stop and smell the roses. Even if you are nimble and stoic, you’ll still probably go broke. Dodging, Processing, Surviving… In NYC, treading water is exhausting. It’s easier just to start swimming. Many chose to do SOMETHING, ANYTHING, in order to feel like part of the club.
I feel that incredible pressure but continued to be paralyzed in the big light of the big city. Should I get a Ph.D in business? Should I get a VC job? Should I take a stab at one of my 50 business ideas? Can I even do any of those things? After all, if this life is the only shot I’ve got, I don’t want to make any rash decisions.
That’s why I moved home to put a nail in this Fulbright project and to clear my head for the next chapter. The respite has treated me well and I can honestly say I’m getting closer to making the right move. When it happens, it’s going to be big. I can’t wait to get back to the city.
Here’s a link to a Tim O’Reilly article that I find inspiring: