At the End of the Day…

I can’t tell if this is just a phase that I’m going through right now. This phase of lonliness. If it’s the same phase that any person goes through in their twenty-somethings. Who am I kidding? Of course this is just a phase. At least, I hope so.

This is how we relate to other people. We experience certain things at certain ages that other people our own age can relate to. And when we get older, we look back and realize how silly we were during that period of our life (which is why our elders look at us knowing that it will pass)

I always got frustrated whenever my Mother would lecture me on how ridiculous I was acting towards a particular situation. (She still does that) My immediate response was always, “You just don’t understand.”

Well, that’s a ridiculous thing for me to say because she was my age once and she has most certainly gone through the same, or similar, experiences as me. It’s human nature to be able to feel certain emotions when we see someone going through a familiar struggle that we’ve once been through. It’s called empathy.

People write songs about it, make movies, television shows, etc. We produce these things because we want to make people feel a certain way. We all want to relate to one another.

It’s difficult to go through this life without being able to really connect with someone. This is exactly what I’m constantly searching for. And I’m almost positive that it’s what everyone else is searching for as well. Even if they don’t want to admit it, or if they do a remarkable job at portraying that they don’t care; what we need in this world is to connect, to relate, to feel.

Ever since I’ve moved to New York City, I’ve found it much more difficult to really get to know someone. Everyone wants so badly to have their space, yet we all seem so lonely once we get it.

It’s a fast life here, living in a large city. To constantly be surrounded by thousands of people who don’t really care to get to know you.

Ever since I moved into my new apartment, though, I’ve become very attached to certain restaurants, bars, coffee shops. I’ve found a comfort in seeing familiar faces and being recognized. What I have noticed is that it truly makes someone’s day when you acknowledge them as an individual; when you notice them, when you make an effort to get to know them. It’s an amazing feeling to be noticed.

At the end of the day, it’s just good to know that someone is thinking about you. In a large city like New York, it’s easy to get distracted by other things and people.

I hope to never lose the ability to connect, to relate, to feel. If I did, then this city would just completely absorb me. I can’t give in.

Forced Togetherness

A subject that I’ve been trying to avoid writing about is love. I’ve drifted very far from understanding the idea of it.The concept of it. The meaning of it.

Last night was one of those nights when you’re out with your friends and the conversation revolves around relationships. Unfortunately, I had nothing to contribute from my personal life because it’s been a while since I’ve been close enough to someone to consider it a relationship. Lately, I haven’t even reached the point where I didn’t have to wonder if the guy was going to text me that week.

What I was able to contribute to the conversation was a quote that I saw on someone’s Instagram. It went something like, “How lucky one must be to have someone that makes it so hard to say goodbye” I’m not exactly sure if that’s the correct wording, but hopefully you can comprehend the gist of it.

I miss the feeling of having someone who makes it hard to say goodbye.

Ever since I’ve been single in New York City, I’ve learned how easy it is to forget about someone. The hard part has been getting to the point where it’s hard to say goodbye. They say that the recovery time of a break-up is half the length of the relationship. Well, I’ve been long past my recovery time from the last relationship that I was in.

Since living here, anyone I’ve dated hasn’t even come close to retrieving relationship status. They’ve all been cut short…by me. It’s become too easy to drift away from someone, especially if your paths don’t typically cross on a daily basis.

Yesterday, I watched a Youtube video by Buzzfeed that said that many relationships grow out of “forced togetherness”. I 100% agree. It makes sense that the more time that you spend with someone, the more they grow on you (of course, it can go in the opposite direction as well; you can end up hating each other)

The more time you spend with someone in the beginning stages, the more you get to know them. Then, when you get to know them, you can decide how you feel.

However, if you cut it short, you’ll never know if it could have grown into something more.

I think what the problem is, is expecting the magic to come first. We want to dive right into love and obtain it right away. This is one of the many problems of my generation. We want quick results.

Well, what I have learned from my past is that you fall more and more in love with someone as you spend more time with them which is why it takes so much longer to recover from long-term relationships. This is also why it’s so easy to get over someone if you’ve only been on three dates with them. You don’t really have much to lose.

I’ve been expecting the magic to come first. Instead of putting in the work early on, I just want to get to the “being in love” part because I know what it feels like. I want that feeling so badly.

Many of us have had that one person that set the standards for all of our future relationships. There’s that one person that really got to you. That one person that hurt you more than you’ve ever been hurt. That one person that you’ve been so head-over-heels for that you would do anything for them.

Unfortunately, those of us who have been traumatized by that one person have been so affected that we’re incapable of feeling like we’ll ever get to that point with another person.

This is the place that I’ve arrived to.

I don’t know if I’m just not trying, or if I’ve become jaded, but I’d just rather not put in the effort of getting to know anyone anymore. It’s not a place that I want to be and I didn’t hope to be here.

Right now, I’m just waiting for someone to prove me wrong.

23

Lately, life has been moving too fast for me to be able to sit down, collect my thoughts, and put them out in the world. I’ve been holding everything in, which has been quite noticeable through the lack of writing I’ve been doing on this blog. It seems that time goes by much faster when you’re not watching it. From my last entry up until present day, I’ve gone through enough changes for it to feel like it’s been a whole year. Now that I’m looking back, the vast collection of changes that have happened to me since I’ve moved to New York actually does add up to a whole year. Yesterday, I acknowledged the fact that I moved into this city exactly one year ago on December 1st, 2012.

A whole year of my life has been devoted to this city; experiencing it, learning from it, growing from it. This past month alone, I’ve transitioned from the very first job that I obtained as a college graduate to a new job in which I was recently promoted to in November. Within the same week of adjusting to this new role, I also found out that my roommates decided to not re-sign the lease on our apartment (my very first New York City apartment). This is a lot to digest in just one week.

In the span of one month, I’ve managed to transition into a new job, move out of my first New York City apartment, and move into a new apartment. The phrase that I’ve been using lately is, “When it rains, it pours” and I’ve found this to be completely true.

The entire month of November, it has been pouring and I just wish I was more prepared, but I guess there’s only so much you can do but roll with the punches. Life throws these things at you and that’s the beauty of it. You can never predict what’s coming next.

Most of my close friends have seen me through this time of transformation. On the outside, it may have appeared that I was keeping it together, but on the inside, everything was falling apart. Piece by piece, I’ve been shedding a lot of layers in terms of finding out how much I can handle before I completely break. I’d say that I was pretty close to breaking this month.

But I didn’t.

On a more positive note, I believe these changes were necessary. Change is always necessary. Chuck Palahniuk had a quote in a book that I read a few months ago called, “Invisible Monsters”. The quote went like this:

“The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open”

Well, I’ve been trying to find true happiness for quite some time since I’ve moved into New York City and I like to think that I’m getting a little closer with every obstacle that life has thrown at me.

I never imagined to be where I am today, at this young age of 23. I really had no idea what to expect. From observing my friends’ personal experiences at this age, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it. A lot of the songs that were written about the age of 23 aren’t the most up-lifting, but I couldn’t understand why. Now that I’m here, I get it.

This is an uncomfortable age. They say that people in their 20’s have a hard time dealing with this period of “quarter-life crises” This is when the big changes happen; it’s the most confusing, lost, and vulnerable time of your life.

It’s exciting in a way, though; the unknown. I suppose this is also why your 20’s are also regarded as the best time of your life. Our lives are still in the making. We haven’t settled yet. There are still more surprises.

In the short amount of time that I’ve been in my 20’s, I can tell that I still have many more changes coming my way.

23. I’m ready for you.

It’s a small world after all…

It seems, as I’ve gotten older, that the world becomes much smaller. As I begin to meet more and more people throughout my lifetime, I’ve realized that the six degrees of separation is really more like two degrees of separation.

The last place I thought I’d be saying this about is New York City. I thought that coming to a large city with millions of people would minimize the chances of me ever running into anyone I know. On the contrary, it’s enhanced the chances.

Back in my hometown, the likelihood of running into someone I went to high school with was about 80-90% depending on the day. Of course, in any town, everyone shops at same grocery stores, goes to the same movie theaters, and eats at the same restaurants. What I’ve learned is that the same can be said for a large city.

This past weekend, I traveled to Chicago for the 2013 Chicago Marathon. I went for work to help out at the Runner’s World booth at the Marathon Expo. I was so excited to travel to a new city. It’s always nice to get away from New York for a little while.

I boarded my flight on Thursday morning at Laguardia Airport. I was scheduled to leave at 9:40AM, but of course, my flight didn’t depart until around 10:30AM. While I was on my flight, I sat next to a man who was originally sitting in the seat that I was ticketed for. I kindly asked him to move, and so he did. After that, we began conversing as we waited for our plane to take-off.

I told him that it was my first time traveling to Chicago and how excited I was about going. I told him that I was traveling to work at the Chicago Marathon Expo and that I worked at Runner’s World Magazine. “Runner’s World?” he asked. “What’s the company that publishes that?” he added.

“Rodale” I replied.

“That’s funny…my daughter is interning at Organic Gardening,” he told me.

I was in absolute shock when I heard this. He continued to tell me how she also used to intern for Men’s Health Magazine in the New York office, where I am currently working. Furthermore, she happened to intern on the same floor as me while she was in New York. My level of amazement rose as he texted her and she listed names of people that she worked with, whom I know very well. I couldn’t believe it. “I somehow happened to sit next to someone whose daughter is interning at the same exact company that I work for, and used to sit on the same floor that I sit” I thought to myself.

“What a small world” he said.

I smiled and nodded in agreement.

He was holding the New York Times newspaper in his hands and flipping through the pages as he browsed the articles. He pointed to an article with a large photo of several people sitting at a dinner table and smiling.

“Hey, this guy works at Rodale,” he commented and pointed at the photo.

I looked over at the picture and was in even bigger shock to find out that it was an article written about another person who happens to work for my company and also sits on the same floor that I sit.

My mind was officially blown. I couldn’t tell if this was pure coincidence or if somehow, the universe meant for this happen. I like to believe that everything happens for a reason. We meet people in our lives for a purpose. I like to think that there is some lesson or meaning behind it. Maybe it’s because I feel that things happened to me that way. Every person we meet, we can take something from, whether it be good or bad.

When we finally arrived in Chicago, I thanked the man for the great conversation and let him know that I hope to meet his daughter in the near future. He went on to explain how much she would love to work at Rodale after she graduated college. We said our goodbyes and I went my own way.

As I look back on it and think about this encounter, I realize that one small connection could make a world’s difference. It gives me inspiration and hope that one person really can make a difference in someone’s life. It’s these small day-to-day connections that create portals, doorways, and opportunities to great things in our future.

As they say, it’s a small world after all. And you never know who you’re going to meet where ever you go.

Iron Strength Workout Recap

I’ve been expanding my horizons lately and trying different types of workouts in the past few weeks other than running. For example, last Thursday, I went to a Hip-Hop dance class with my sister for the first time.

As much as I love running, I also love other variations of exercise that challenge me to utilize different muscles in my body.

Earlier this morning, I participated in an Iron Strength Workout that was held in Central Park at 6AM by the well-known Sports Medicine Physician, Dr. Jordan Metzl. This event was held in conjunction with my team at Runner’s World due to the high demand of participation for this type of workout.

I have never done a workout like this before, so I was curious as to what was in store for me. A colleague of mine had warned us, prior, that it was not to be taken lightly, and for him to say that definitely rattled my bones a bit.

I woke up this morning at 5AM on the dot. My first thoughts were, “I can’t believe I’m waking up this early for a workout” (I’m more of night owl when it comes to exercising) I got ready in only a few short minutes and headed over to Central Park.

When I got there, the sky was still dark and my eyes were still heavy. As the sun began to rise, more people started coming in waves and I was finally waking up. Once it turned 6:15AM, Dr. Metzl made an announcement, introducing my colleagues from Runner’s World and myself. Shortly after, we dove right into running.

I had no time to loosen up, so I just had to shake it out during the run.

Below was the structure of the entire workout:

  • Hill Sprints

– Skip up, jog down, sprint up, jog down

– Skip up, jog down, sprint up two (2) times, jog down

– Skip up, jog down, sprint up three (3) times, jog down

  • Plyometrics

– 6 sets of 15 jumping squats, rotating abs in between

– 3 sets of 15 hill climbers, rotating push ups in between

– 3 sets of 10 burpees, rotating one-legged toe touches across (5 on each leg)

– 3 minutes of planks (1 minute plank on the left forearm, 1 minute plank on your the forearm, 1 minute on both forearms)

(Iron Strength Video Feature on the Runner’s World website)

I’d say that I was feeling the burn right after the 3rd set of jumping squats.

My overall assessment of the workout is an A+ rating. This workout incorporated all parts of the body with enough rest in between for recovery. It included cardio as well weight training, balance, and flexibility.

I was extremely satisfied with how I felt afterwards because my muscles were in pain (which is a good thing) I always love testing my limits and breaking new barriers. I was able to evaluate my current fitness level through this workout and I know now what I need to work on to become a better runner and overall athlete.

What I have taken away from this is the following:

Never be afraid to try new things. You never know if it might be something you fall in love with. And if it’s not, at least you learned something new. Knowledge is power. Expanding our horizons helps us grow.

The Runner's World Team in New York City
The Runner’s World Team in New York City
Group Photo
Group Photo

Soul Searching

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.

Live with Passion

I’ve always been curious as to how people choose their interests. I often wonder whether it was by accident or maybe through a friend. Maybe they saw it on television or on the streets. Either way, I love seeing how far along they come with the time that they invest into that particular hobby or interest.

All throughout my life, I’ve had friends that have their own unique skills and talents. Dancers, gymnasts, skaters, musicians, singers, you name it. I’m constantly inspired by my diverse group of friends because they all lead such different lives and are passionate about different things. I surround myself with these kinds of people because of their drive and determination to succeed. There’s a saying that goes something like “the friends that we choose are a reflection of ourselves” I’m not sure if that’s how it actually goes or if I just made that up, but regardless, that’s what I believe.

When I dissect my friends by their personality type, I have a pretty clear understanding of why they are good at the things they’re good at. It’s because of the time and effort that they put into those things.

As we get older, it’s easy to lose sight of the things that we love. We grow up, get jobs, re-prioritize what’s important to us, and fall out of touch. Looking at my friends now, I’m seeing that a lot of them now have jobs, but are still attached to the things that they love and they’re all doing pretty well for themselves. They’re happy.

As I said earlier, I love to see how far along people come with the things that they love. If we work hard enough at the things that we’re passionate about, it will eventually manifest into something great. The time that we invest into our daily tasks is directly correlated to our success.

All of the decisions that we make in life are a reflection of ourselves. Similar to the way our friends are a reflection of ourselves, the same goes for the hobbies we choose. And this also goes for our work. We should never lose sight of our passion and interests because someday, it can and will define us.

Live with passion. Always. Something great will eventually happen.

Weather and Change

To add to the list of things that I’ve learned since living in New York City, I can say this:

Weather amplifies whatever mood you wake up in (by x100)

Side Note: For those of you who don’t live in New York, New Jersey, or the East Coast in general, it’s no surprise to get all four seasons in one week. Actually, it’s no surprise to get all four seasons in one day. Today is a prime example of that.

This morning, I woke up already feeling the rain in my joints.

I got out of bed, looked out of the window, and grunted. I didn’t want to predestine that it was going to be a lousy day because a day is only what you make of it. This morning, however, was a bit lousy and I only blame the weather.

New York City in the Summer is a wonderful time of year. There are hundreds upon thousands of sights to see and activities to partake in. This past weekend, for example, I spent an entire day walking around Williamsburg in Brooklyn and it was one of the best Saturdays I’ve had recently.

When the sun is shining, everyone calms down more than usual. Everyone becomes a lot more tolerable. On rainy days though, it takes a drastic turn. Everyone returns to their hostile, agitated state and it’s pretty unpleasant when you’re surrounded by a million hostile and agitated people.

It was down-pouring as I walked to work this morning. My office is only a few short blocks away from Grand Central Station, but on days like today, the journey seems like it goes on for miles.

Once I got to work, I brushed off the tension from the morning commute, and settled into a more comfortable state. As I settled down at my desk, I was already re-arranging the rest of my day around the weather and adjusting my routine to work out.

It’s amazing how quickly plans can change due to the weather. It’s also amazing how quickly the weather can change.And ultimately, it boils down to…it’s amazing how quickly people can change their minds.

New York City has taught me a lot about how anything can happen. Weather quickly changes, plans quickly change, people quickly change. And what I’ve gathered from these observations is this:

No wonder why people in New York City are so self-sufficient, independent, and isolated in their own worlds. It’s really hard to depend on anything or anyone as 100% guaranteed.

In the grand scheme of things, I guess you can apply this idea to the entire world. Really, anything can happen and I appreciate New York City for giving me that open mindset.

Things I’ve learned since living in New York City

Last night, I had a difficult time sleeping. At the maximum, I probably tallied around 2-3 hours of sleep in total. I’ve been restless, stressed out, and agitated lately. A lot has been on my mind and I’ve been feeling like I’m going slightly insane. My scapegoat: New York City.

After having a heart-to-heart with my roommate, I was reassured that temporary insanity is quite normal when you live in the city long enough.

As a result of this realization, I made a short list of things I’ve learned since I moved here. It’s a random list, and most certainly on-going, but this is what I came up with so far…

– Every man for himself
– Know what you’re going to order at a deli, bar, coffee shop, etc. before getting to the register
– Personal space doesn’t exist
– One minute can make all the difference between being 15 minutes late or 15 minutes early
– It’s never been so easy to completely stop talking to someone
– The city isn’t as big as you’d think, aka, you can still run into people you know ANYWHERE
– Walking fast is necessary
– Dating sucks
– Buy groceries in New Jersey
– Happy hour is still expensive
– Cheap food, however, does exist
– There are a million free things to do and still have fun
– Have your metrocard ready prior to going through the turnstile
– Taxi drivers hustle you
– TIMING IS EVERYTHING
– It’s easy to feel completely alone even in a fully crowded bar
– Cockroaches are everywhere
– When looking for an apartment, you have to compromise no matter what (unless you’re filthy rich)

Again, this is definitely an on-going list. I’ve only been living in New York City for 8 months, but I’ve learned a lot about people and about myself. I’m still trying to figure it all out though.

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Nike Run Club Recap

Last night, I went to Nike Run Club at the NikeTown Store (on E. 57th Street in Midtown) for the first time in a few months. Judging from my last entry, I seem to be getting back in touch with things I haven’t done in a while.

(Brief Overview: Nike Run Club is held every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30PM for runners of every experience level. It’s free and anyone can sign up to run with the Niketown pacers . On Saturday mornings, they do long runs with the route varying)

I’ve only gone to Nike Run Club 2 or 3 times before. A co-worker convinced me to try it out a few months back and I really enjoyed it the first time, but it just never stuck. Last night happened to be the first time I ran outside in over 2 weeks. After my 39-day running streak, I took a break for 6 days, then started running again, but only used the treadmill due to the overwhelming heat wave that hit New York City.

I was nervous about how I’d perform running with other people. I’m typically a lone runner, but it’s nice to run with people so that they can push you.

I dove right into the 5-mile distance and was worried that I wouldn’t be able to last- After all, I had taken a short break and have recently only been logging 2-3 mile runs on a machine.

To my surprise, I kept up with the 8-minute pace group and clocked in at 44:50 for a total distance of 5.4 miles. The people in my pace group definitely made the impact on how fast I went. To be honest, that day my shins were hurting and my legs felt overall tight

However, I ended up feeling great afterwards and was happy to connect with other runners from around the city.

This, along with my singing, I hope to keep myself busy for the rest of the Summer.