Get Your New York On

I assisted in the activation of Runner’s World‘s participation in the New York City Marathon Expo and race for the past two years. I experienced the devastating natural disaster that was Hurricane Sandy in 2012. I watched the terrible disappointment and deep sadness that overcame participants, supporters, the entire community of New York City, and those who came from all over the world. Then, I experienced the revival of the 2013 New York City Marathon where runners came back even more passionate and fired up than in previous years.

This year, I left my job at Runner’s World and I will not be there as a Runner’s World representative. Instead, I will be there running as an individual – representing myself. There are a vast amount of reasons why this race means so much to me; reasons that specifically have to do with the fact that this is NEW YORK CITY. This race takes place in the city that shaped my post-college experiences and has made me the person I am now. New York City has beaten me down, discouraged me, brought me joy, and uplifted me over the course of the past three years. This year, in particular, has been overwhelming to say the least, so I couldn’t be more excited to run this race for those reasons.

I haven’t trained as long or hard as I have in prior races, but I will use every ounce of pain, sadness, and discouragement that has struck me this year.

I know that there are endless reasons for why people run marathons or even run at all. In the end, the finish line is what matters. Getting through something difficult, whether it be a marathon, a sickness, a loss, or any type of hardship is never easy. Sometimes, you want to just give up. Just trust me when I say that making it through is and will be the most rewarding feeling in the world. In the end, this is why we endure any pain at all – getting through it and coming out stronger than before.

Tomorrow, I’ll be ready to give everything I have to finish this race. Although I’m not as prepared as I’d like to be, I know that I can push through. Though it may seem cliche, life is like a marathon. You’re as prepared as you can be, but a lot can happen during the miles in between. You just have to get through it.

New Beginnings

In the wise words of Semisonic, “Every beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”

It took me a while to truly understand the meaning behind this. Even now, it’s still difficult to comprehend in many scenarios.

A part of me has always been a big fan of tradition and keeping things the way they are. However, the other part of me thrives off of change. The main reason behind this tear in beliefs comes from the way that I was raised; coming from immigrant parents and being a first generation American. On top of that, I was born in this particular generation of rapid technological development where I have seen the fine break between the old and the new. I think that’s why it’s so much harder for me to let go of things. Although, in the end, I know it’s always for the better.

I’ve undergone many changes this past year. I’ve dealt with many periods of adjustment and uncomfortableness. It was never easy in the end stages, nor was it easy in the beginning. But, there was always that sweet spot where everything was working really well.

I started a new job at a new company today. I left behind the first job I had out of college, where I was an employee for about two and a half years. To emphasize my earlier point, it was not easy. It’s just like going to a new school, moving to a new town, or dating a new person. There is a lot to get used to, but eventually it becomes normal.

It’s terrifying to take a leap of faith and take a risk for something potentially greater. Sometimes, it works out in your favor and sometimes, it doesn’t. But if you never try, then you’ll never know. It’s terrifying to leave the familiar behind. We just get too comfortable.

We mustn’t get too comfortable until we reach that ongoing sweet spot in our lives. Even then, we must continue to grow. I’m not a life expert, nor am I psychologist or psychic. However, in my experience, I can speak to this:

Don’t settle where you cannot grow.

Don’t be afraid to take risks.

Don’t be afraid to get hurt.

Don’t be afraid to fail.

Don’t give up.

Life gets hard. We go through difficult times. But we must move forward. This is how we’ve come so far in the past. This is how we will continue to grow.

Never Forget

I’ve been working in New York City for almost two and a half years now.

I started working here on June 4th, 2012.

I moved into the city on December 1st, 2012.

I moved out of the City on May 31st, 2014.

With all the changes that have happened in my life and the lives of others over these past few years, the city seems to always remain the same. However, there are still certain days that have an impact on me and at this point, will most likely continue to have an impact on me for the rest of my life; those significant days that bring crashing waves of memories because it changed your life.

As I commuted into the city this morning to go to work, there was a difference that I felt.

Today is the 13th anniversary of the day that New York City’s twin towers were attacked. I was in my sixth grade English class at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Edison, New Jersey when it happened. The impact of this event never hit as close to home as it has in my recent years since I’ve had an attachment to New York City.

When I entered Penn Station this morning, there was a memorial ceremony taking place in remembrance of 9/11. I was going to continue on my way to work, but I stopped to watch for a few minutes and my suddenly eyes began tearing.

I had no idea what came over me, but a wave of emotions took over and I was completely filled with sadness. As I got on the subway, I started thinking back on my life in New York City and how much it has changed me. I started thinking of all the past and present struggles in my life. I thought about why in the world I even chose to work in such an overwhelming place. As I looked around at the people who were next to me on the subway, I wondered if they were thinking the same thing.

I never thought that I would end up here. To be honest, I hated the idea of even being in the city when I was younger. I hated the smell, hated the crowds, hated the speed of everything.

Not until I started working here did I embrace this lifestyle.

This morning, I thought about how strong of a city New York really is and moreover, how strong the people inhabiting this city are. I thought about the impact that it has on millions of people.

I remembered why I fell in love with this city, with all of its seductive qualities; its chaos.

Then, realized why I became so sad this morning. I started to think about how close to home 9/11 really does hit me now and how close to home it hits to not only the people who live or work here, but to those who are outside of New York City; It hits not only just the United States, but the entire world.

New York City is made up of an endless combination of human beings. There are people living and working here who have come from every corner of the Earth. In the few years that I have been here, I’ve been moved by so many people who all have a unique story and attachment to New York City. To me, this place, this concrete jungle is my home. It’s no surprise that when I traveled all the way to Australia, I introduced myself as being from New York City instead of my actual hometown in New Jersey.

Everyone has some sort of attachment to this place. For some reason, it attracts all types of people and we will never fully understand why. It’s dirty, loud, and overall stressful to be in. But I do love it.

I’ve fallen in love a few times before – three to be exact. But the one love that has changed me the most is the love I have for New York City.

I know it’s a little melodramatic and exaggerated to say, but I fell truly, madly, and deeply in love with this place.

I watch television shows like Friends, Sex and the City, and How I Met Your Mother and I can fully understand and relate to everything that they reference.

To my friends who haven’t experienced the city the way I have, who haven’t worked or lived here, believe me when I say that you can never fully understand. There’s just something about being in New York City constantly; something that keeps us on our toes and wanting more. But, it’s definitely not for everyone.

So, on this day, when I think about the attack that happened on 9/11, I’m overcome with emotion. Because how dare someone attack something I love so much?

There will always be days that I will never forget. The day I started working here. The day I moved in. The day I moved out. And today.

Today is one of those days.

Fight or Flight

Lately, I’ve been really questioning my effectiveness in dealing with my problems.

I’ve been continuing to do a great deal of self-evaluation ever since I’ve been back from my trip to Australia and I’m realizing that I’m, slowly but surely, returning to my normal state of reaction (in the form of panic) towards certain situations – specifically stressful situations

My prime method of problem-solving has typically been to remove myself from the harmful situation.

Easy enough, right? It’s a common solution that almost everyone uses.

If you’ve ever heard of the term “Fight or Flight”, then you’d know that we, as humans, share this common response mechanism with all other animal species.

In a perceived “dangerous” situation, we must protect our own safety and either stay and tough it out or leave and avoid the bumps and bruises.

I agree with the saying, “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger?” but how much do we risk at the cost of causing ourselves pain and heartache?

I don’t want to call myself a wimp, but I’ve been leaning more towards the option of flight when it comes to my more recent problems.

I’ve dealt with a significant amount of obstacles this year which made me question my abilities to tolerate stressful situations.

I had to fly 20 hours from my home just to get away from the things that were causing me stress. Yes, it was a much-needed and uplifting trip, but to my disappointment, it’s now over and I’m right back to where I started and have to deal with the same exact problems that I left behind.

How do you decide what is worth fighting for or fleeing from? For example, do you fight for the one you love or do you let them go? Do you continue to work at a job that pays well, but you’re not passionate about?

Where is the threshold in which we need to remove ourselves from a given situation? How do we choose?

I suppose that’s up to the individual. After all, the decisions we make shape who we are.

“Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you.” – If I stay

Countdown to Melbourne

Whenever you make plans much in advance, you never really feel the weight of the reality until it comes down to the last final days before the big event.

Well, I’m officially less than one week away from my long-anticipated trip to Melbourne, Australia.

This is my first trip overseas and I couldn’t be more excited, A week ago, however, I was whistling a different tune.

2014 has been a very significant year of transformation for me. In fact, many of the major life events that have happened to me this year have revolved around my trip to Australia. I moved out of my apartment, moved back home, broke up with the guy I was dating, didn’t get to run the San Francisco Marathon, (which I spent $150 on) and cut way back on going out with my friends. On top of that, there were also hardships that occurred at the most inconvenient timing.

A week ago, I still had not received my passport (which I applied for in May). Trying to stay calm, I tried to reassure myself that it was in-transit and everything was going to be okay. Naturally, I began to panic the following day. The weight of the realities that have happened in the past few months all started catching up to me like a wave approaching the shore.

Fortunately, in these last final days as I’m getting closer to my trip, things started falling into place and my panic turned back into excitement once again. I received my passport, finished up last minute plans, and began to breathe again.

It never ceases to amaze me at how worried I get when things aren’t going as planned.

It’s been a rough year, but I’m banking on this trip to salvage all the hopes that I had lost for 2014. I needed something to look forward to, and now that it’s finally happening, I’m just crossing my fingers that everything will be okay.

After all, everything has always worked itself out in the past.

To follow my journey through Melbourne, follow me on Twitter or Instagram (Lindseyruns)

#australia2014 #lindseyinaustralia #lindseyrunsinaustralia

The Travel Bug

Recently, I’ve been noticing an abundance of articles being written about the growing trend of leisurely travel within Millenials. I, myself, can see this trend occurring throughout my own close friends and friends of friends. The more people that I talk to, the more that I see a pattern of people my age having an overwhelming desire to escape from wherever they may be at the moment. Even more so, a lot of people that I know have actually taken the initiative to pack up and leave.

They say that birds of a feather flock together. Well, it’s no surprise that some of the closest friends that I have made in New York have all escaped from wherever they were to be in New York City. It’s also no coincidence that a lot of the people that I’ve encountered in New York City are from the other side of the country, California in particular. I mean if you’re going to make a move, it better be a big one, right?

A few days ago, I mentioned to my sister that I wanted to try to see what it was like on the other side, over in California. I’m not exactly sure what I’m looking for or why I think I would find it over there, but I’ve been curious to find out.

In around two weeks, I’ll be leaving for my first big international trip. Back in March, I earned a bonus check from my job and had no idea what to do with the money. Sure, a wise thing that I should have done was to put it away in my savings account or use it to pay off bills. Instead, I wanted to reward myself and splurge. And what better way to splurge than to book a flight somewhere and enjoy a nice trip?

Well, that trip ended up being a flight to Melbourne, Australia with one of my closest childhood friends. We just sat down one day, went on the computer, bought the ticket and that was it.

Only recently has it finally dawned on me that it’s actually happening, and the more that I think about it, the more excited and anxious I become. At the same time, I’m also scared. Scared about loving it there and not wanting to snap back into reality and never coming back.

It’s easy to run away from your problems; to leave everything behind when things are getting tough. I do that a lot with running (and I mean literally running) Whenever I’m frustrated, upset, or angry, I go for a run with the mindset that it will magically solve my problems. It does, but only temporarily. Of course, it’s never a permanent solution. No matter how far or fast I run, my problems are always back at home waiting for me, silently sitting in my mind.

So this makes me wonder about my generation, the Millenials. Where is the sudden boom of travel desires coming from? I hate to make assumptions or say that everyone is like me when they get the itch to go somewhere, but I also refuse to deny that it’s not a part of the reason. We have to be running from something. Maybe it’s growing up, or maybe it’s the fear of missing out, but it has to be something.

Are we all just running away from our problems whenever we catch the travel bug? I like to think that I’m not the only one with these feelings. I like to think that I’m not alone in this and that there is really something lurking in the waters of my generation. There has been a shift in the mindset of Millenials. We’re making moves. And it could be a good thing or a bad thing, but I hope that we all find whatever it is we’re looking for.

Sure Things

It’s strange how distorted memories become when you look back at them. In that exact moment, you may have been so sure of yourself. Everything seemed just right. Then, when you reminisce, those moments seem so hazy and you can’t separate what was good from what was bad.

They say, “there’s no such thing as a sure thing”, so how do you ever really know what’s right or what’s meant to be?

If sayings like these are so accurate, such as “anything is possible” or “anything can happen”, then how can someone ever put all of their faith into something or someone?

It’s hard not to become jaded lately now that we live in a time where people are constantly re-locating, changing jobs, and refusing to settle down.

It’s common now for people to put off the serious stuff. Instead, we just want to stay young and be free. It’s becoming harder and harder to find people who want the same things.

So, how do we keep up with anyone these days?

We meet hundreds of people who come in and out of our lives. All of them somehow contribute to our experiences and growth. We pick and choose which ones we want to hold onto and which ones we should let go.

Often, we try to hold on as long as we can. We don’t want to let go of the feeling, the connection. Then all of a sudden, when it’s gone, we don’t know whether to go back or move forward.

Because nowadays, it is much harder to really connect with someone the way people used to.

It’s rare.

I used to think that I had a pretty clear vision of where I wanted to go and who I wanted to be. It was easier when you were young; to think that things won’t ever change. You envision that you’ll end up with a certain person or live your life a certain way. But it’s never that easy.

It makes me wonder if I ever really knew what I was doing.

Small Changes

We often tend to only focus on the changes that happen within our own lives. What we don’t realize is that the changes that happen in the lives of others affect us too – especially those who are a part of our daily lives.

I’ve touched upon the subject of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable (https://lindseylazarte.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/getting-comfortable-with-being-uncomfortable/) . Change is never an easy process. We have to adjust and readjust until we feel normal again.

Ever since I moved to the Columbus Circle area from Harlem, I’ve had to make many adjustments; getting used to a different subway line, going to a different supermarket, running in a different location. After about a month, I finally had everything down pact. I found myself getting familiar with the cashier at the CVS around the corner from my apartment and recognizing people who live on my street. My life felt balanced again. And despite the chaos of our wildly opposite schedules, my roommates and I have even developed a weekly routine of going to our favorite local bar several times a week. We’ve formed relationships with our bartenders and have actually become quite good friends with them.

Then, something strange happened yesterday.

After making a slight alteration to our normal routine of going straight to our favorite bar, my roommate and I deviated from the plan and decided to stop somewhere else first. It was exciting to do something different, but it was only a matter of time before we decided to leave and go to our regular bar.

Once we arrived, we found two available seats and made ourselves right at home. We said hello to our Bartender-friend, who we always talk to and I noticed that the other one wasn’t there. I waited until it was brought into conversation and when it was finally mentioned, I learned that he no longer works there.

Here comes the strange part…

I was legitimately upset. I found myself becoming very uncomfortable at the thought of getting used to a new person. And then it dawned on me; this actually affected my life.

This morning as I was walking to work, I came to realize that this small change is only a freckle in my life, but for him it was a complete change in lifestyle.

It’s hard to think about how much one person is currently going through. We really only stop to think about how it affects us. Regardless, these changes that affect our lives also affect the people around us. Even something as small as getting used to a new bartender…

Roots

I wouldn’t say that I’m the most experienced person when it comes to traveling, but over the past few years, I’ve definitely broadened my horizons in terms of drifting away from the place I call home (New Jersey) I’m most grateful to my ex-boyfriend for inviting me to be more open-minded about venturing into the unknown. The first plane I ever got on was when I went to San Diego, California for my cousin’s wedding in 2009. I was 18 and a freshmen in college. Leaving for college itself was overwhelming enough and I was only a 45-minute drive away from my parent’s house. Even then, I didn’t make the cut with sticking it out for all 4 years there. I eventually transferred to Rutgers University, which was about a 5-minute drive from my parent’s house. So much for venturing into the unknown.

Now, getting back to the first time that I was on a plane; it was a pretty frightening experience for me to be honest. I was overly excited to even be inside of an airport. Growing up, my parents weren’t extremely wealthy and we didn’t have the luxury to take summer vacations like all of my friends did. As a child, I had never even gone to Disney World. DISNEY WORLD (A sad realization when I think back on it)

Going to California for the first time was one of the most memorable trips of my life. I was blessed enough to have relatives that took it upon themselves to pay for both mine and my sister’s plane tickets. We just had to take care of our own expenses once we were there. That trip opened my eyes to realizing that there was so much more than what I sheltered myself to.

Spring Semester of my Sophomore year of college, I met the man that defined my college love life. I dated him for three years, and loved him with every ounce of love that I had to offer. A majority of it was because I loved his spirit, his personality, his carefree nature. I always wished I could be like that. Throughout our relationship, he would surprise me with mini get-aways. Eventually, the mini get-aways became big get-aways. And they extended further and further. It opened my eyes, and we hadn’t even left the United States.

I’d like to publicly thank him for giving me those opportunities to explore those unfamiliar places. It gave me the courage to move to New York City and embark on one of the greatest adventures I’ve ever been on. But, it won’t stop in New York City. He planted a seed in my mind to be brave enough to travel to where-ever I wanted to go. I learned that traveling exposes you to learning so much about people, places, and more importantly, yourself.

I caught up with another high school friend yesterday and we ran through the typical routine of reflecting on old memories and then moved onto to conversation of updating him on how much has changed in my life and how different I’ve become since high school. I’d like to say that it was mostly just age and maturity that has changed me, but a large part of it also has to do with the fact that I left home to find out who I am.

I have a lot of friends from back home who like to do nothing, but tell me how ridiculous it is to live in New York City for various reasons; too expensive, too dirty, too crowded, the list goes on.

It upsets me to hear them say these things though because although many of their claims have proven themselves to be true, I appreciate all of it. I’ve been able to find myself in a place other than my home in New Jersey. I stepped outside of my boundaries, outside of my comfort zone. And for that, Brandon, I’m forever grateful. You’ve helped me become the person I am, and you’ll continue to help me become the person that I will be.

For all of my upcoming trips to where ever the destination may be, I know that I will continue to learn more about myself. The seed that was planted has strong roots and no matter how far I go, they will always lead me back home.

The Future

If there’s one thing that I can never stop worrying about, it’s the future. I think it’s safe to assume that I’m not alone in that.

I envy those people who have mastered the art of “rolling with the punches”. I haven’t quite gotten there yet.

I guess it’s fitting that I was promoted to a job in which the main responsibility revolved around planning. And it’s no surprise that I’m pretty damn good at what I do.

My entire life, I’ve chosen every path, made every decision, committed to every action in order to reach a certain goal; yield a particular outcome. The buildings blocks to the foundation of my entire life were created specifically so that I could get to where I wanted to be.

Unfortunately, your 20’s take that foundation, flip it around, and place you on a roller coaster ride that makes you question everything.

People are considered adults once we’ve hit our 20’s (Young adults, that is). Well, it’s a scary thought once you’ve reached that point. We start to question if we’ve made the best of our youth thus far and begin to examine all of the things that we haven’t done yet. Those who are brave enough, tend to act on it.

As I’m continuously going through these new experiences, I’m finding out that life doesn’t adhere to your plans, nor does it care to follow your rules. Things just happen. I’d like to say that some things happen for no reason, but I’d have to disagree with myself and admit that things really do happen for a reason. That reason is to simply gain experience and knowledge and show yourself that things don’t always work out the way you had hoped. And that’s not a bad thing.

I connected with an old friend from back home who happened to be in New York City the other day. She had just gotten out of an interview for a company that she really wanted to work for, but they’re only offering her an Intern position. She expressed her emotions to me and I could feel her frustration of not understanding why her big break wasn’t happening yet. I told her that I’ve been there; that it’s hard and it’s a struggle, but in time her big break will come.

I may be repeating myself frequently when I write about time and patience, but it’s only because this is the core of my confusion and hardship at this period of my life.

I continued to comfort my friend and explain to her that life tests us with these trials when we’re most vulnerable and scared and lonely. Eventually, it will get better. I told her what I constantly tell myself; that finding the right job is just like finding anything else in life. It’s all about the right fit, and timing of course. Whether you may be looking for an apartment, boyfriend/girlfriend, job, pet, city, hairstyle, pair of shoes, or what have you, it’s all about finding the right fit and have the timing be right.

Even if we’ve been thrown into a situation where we feel like we’re not ready, trust me when I say this: You are ready.

From what I’ve learned thus far, at this young age of 23, it’s that things happen when you are ready.

I don’t know why I continue to stress over the future. I don’t know why I haven’t learned yet, even after documenting all various major life moments in this blog. I don’t know why I still have a hard time trusting that things will come together and things will work out and will get better.

We have no way of ever knowing what life has in store for us. We can’t predict the future. We can only deal with the present. We may have an idea of where we are going, but we’ll never know for sure. That’s the beauty of life.

The future…