People come to New York City for a lot of different reasons. Ultimately, it boils down to two sides of the spectrum: Either you came here with a plan or you came here without a plan.
I’ve met a variety of people since I moved here. Everyone has a unique story. Everyone has their reasons. Usually, they’ve come here in search of something. There are other times when they’ve come to get away from the place they were before; for a change of pace.
Yesterday, while I was sitting at Starbucks, I met a man who came to the United States only two days ago from Israel. He came straight to New York City. When I was speaking to him, he told me that he was looking for a place to stay for the night. I suggested that he try looking on Craiglist because there are always available rooms posted there (Plus, I found my apartment that way) He shook his head in disagreement and said that he was interested in a place near Wall Street that he wanted to check out. He, then, asked me how to get there by walking. We were in Union Square at the time, and honestly, I had never walked from Union Square to Wall Street, so I had to look at my iPhone to map out the best route.
“I’ll figure it out,” he told me.
I was shocked at how nonchalant he was about not having a definite place to stay. He reassured me that he was going to be okay. I smiled and wished him good luck. I had a feeling that he would be just fine. People eventually find their way in New York City.
As he left, I reflected on all of the people that I’ve met so far. Some have come from every corner of the United States: California, Florida, West Virginia, North Carolina, North Dakota, Maine, Massachusetts. The list goes on.
What I love so much about New York City is how you can come here with a fresh start. It doesn’t matter where you came from. You can redefine yourself. It’s a place of self-discovery. Here, we all have a clean slate and it’s a common thread that unites everyone who lives here.
The other thing about New York City is how much it can tear you down. It can make you feel more alone and lost than you’ve ever felt in your life. And if you let it, it can swallow you whole, which is why many people also feel the need to get out. Endless waves of people are constantly coming in and out of this city.
New York City has beaten me up many times since I’ve been here, but I can’t say I’m ungrateful for it. Originally, I came here with a plan. I came here for work. I came here to run away from home. I’ve realized, however, that my problems just came with me. No matter how far you run away, the things that you’re running away from will always catch up to you.
I spent a lot of time alone this weekend, which is exactly what I needed. I slowed down my life a little from going out so much the past few weekends. I came to understand that New York City is making me strong so that I can face these problems.
The reasons for why I originally came here have changed. I, now, know that I came here to do soul searching. There have been times where I felt like I couldn’t handle this city. I wanted to get out, like a lot of other people. But, I’m not even halfway done with my journey.
Every day, I’m getting a little closer to finding myself. This is why I came here.