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Dwanna

Her name was Dwanna – a twist on Dwayne because her father had really wanted a boy. She was my sales rep for my catalog printing for some time, and I had occasion to meet her once in person while she was on a business trip to the city.
When she called to tell me she was moving to New York City, I was quite happy. This could become a nice friendship. She would even be living with her boyfriend in my neighborhood. She had that southern charm but was also an aggressive business woman, and she had plans to make some serious money here.
But she was gone before I even had time to meet her here once. When I asked her why she was leaving so quickly, her answer could be summarized in two words – too hard.

I was shocked, really – this was not an unambitious woman at all. But she said it was just too hard. Every little thing which used to be easy, whether laundry, getting groceries, traveling, etc. was just more work than she ever imagined. It wasn’t worth it to her.

If you live in New York City, you know exactly of what I speak. If you want to live here, you had better be ready for an adjustment. Unless you have enormous wealth, you will be making a number of big changes – you will be walking and lugging, unloading packages from a car or taxi in the rain, walking up flights of stairs, suffering unbearable heat on a subway platform in mid summer, and worrying about your valuables wherever you go.

The typical, successful New Yorker who has adapted to life here is a survivor – resourceful, tough, and able to switch gears quickly and turn on a dime. Someone who can see and leverage opportunity. That’s why when the weather breaks for one day, musicians will gather in the park just like it’s a summer day. We had a 50-degree sunny day on Sunday, and these musicians turned up in holiday red. Today’s photo captured them doing a spirited rendition of Jingle Bells.

The question is not Clint Eastwood’s “Do I feel lucky?” but rather “is it worth it?” Luck won’t go that far here when it comes to day-to-day life.

Whenever I have a tough time, tire of the machinations of ordinary tasks, or think of leaving New York City for an easier lifestyle, I think of Dwanna

5 Responses to Dwanna

  1. It's true. New York is hard – but it's also glorious. Unless you've got something to compare it to, it just "is". I look back on my days of schlepping stuff around without a car, up and down subway steps, back and forth to run simple errands. It may have been easier because I was younger, but I got used to a softer, easier day-to-day in the 'burbs. If I had enough $$ to move back and do it right, I'd be back in a flash.

  2. Clueless in Boston says:

    Interesting post on urban living. It's probably similar living in any city. Luckily, I don't live right downtown, so my situation is a little better than your heroines. Have a safe and Happy New Year.

  3. One of my first NYC impressions was: "it's nuts, fast, vibrant and I love it!"… even driving wasn't bad, I guess we drive crazy enough here to consider NYC driving normal :) . Most of my friends (from Zagreb) adapted amazingly well in NYC, but I do know several people from Seattle who said just what you wrote – too hard. I'm not sure how I'd adapt, but one of my wishes is to try life in NYC, just as it is, in all its glory and hardship.

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  5. Well said! I'm a 30-something artist-type not only adapting to subway steps, but living in a tiny NYC apt. with roommates, trying to eat mostly for free at the restaurant where I work- but what you get to SEE and be a part of, and the opportunities for collaborating (for me) and possibly achieving …


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