I haven’t spent more than a few days in New York City as an adult. Those few days (two quick trips in the last two years) have been for work. The Adobe New York office is located right in the heart of Times Square. To be honest, the first time I visited this office, I was blown away. Times Square is the single location I always associated with New York City. Packed full of people and surrounded by shiny, bright lights. I was taken aback by the incredible view from the 17th floor office building, overlooking billboard after billboard, honking car after honking car.
This trip started off much the same. However, my outlook was a little different. Day one and two of the trip consisted of the same mesmerization of the city. So many people. So many lights. So many…things.
After day two, I was exhausted. Now, I was going around and presenting to some of the most prestigious global brands, I know some of my exhaustion stemmed from the preparation and adrenaline from these presentations. But, I began to think about how I could never live in New York. I thought about how fast it is. And how small I feel.
I’m originally from Colorado. I would say that life in Colorado is pretty slow. While I know I was in a different place in my life, there was more free time, more nature, more time to reflect and think and wonder. It was always less focused on progression and growth and moving mountains (figuratively, of course, because I do love my Rocky Mountains).
When I moved to San Francisco, I picked up the pace. I work hard, play hard. There is always something to do, somewhere to go, someplace to eat, drink, meet people. A 9-5 job doesn’t really exist (as far as I know) in San Francisco. And being in Tech means that I’m always moving quickly. Moving fast enough to keep up with changing technology, new markets, evolving strategies.
I’m in the fast lane of San Francisco.
In New York, everyone is there to make their dreams come true. Whether it’s at a big law firm, at a global agency, on Broadway, everyone has a goal in mind, a dream that led them straight to The City. These people are doing absolutely whatever they can to reach their dream. To move all the mountains out of their way and get there. New York City is fast. Hustle and bustle and people everywhere. They bump into you and don’t even care because you are such a small tiny pebble in the mountain they have to overcome. They aren’t there to make friends. They’re there to accomplish something huge. Like, HUGE. And us little people? Better get out of their way.
I’m in the slow lane of New York City.
That’s not to say I don’t have dreams and I’m not taking the steps to accomplish them every single day. Of course I am. But in San Francisco, I just feel a little more balance while doing so.
And I don’t think I can go any faster than I am right now.
Once I got out of Times Square and into “real New York,” parts of me really did fall in love with the city. While staying with my friend in the LES (like that acronym? Yeah!), she showed me what real New York is like. It’s not all about the billboards and the thousands of people packed into five blocks. It’s about the little restaurants in Little Italy. It’s about the best cannoli, the best piece of pizza, the best bagel. It’s about the little speakeasies and hidden bars, dance clubs, dives. It’s about the small boutiques and the side entrances (you know, to avoid the tourists) to some of the biggest department stores. It’s about the cobblestone alleyways and the fact that being at 2nd and 2nd isn’t really the same street intersecting. It’s about SoHo and NoHo and Nolita and other little neighborhoods that last approximately three blocks. It’s about the hot days and warm summer nights. Wearing dresses without tights and certainly without a sweater. It’s about fashion and makeup and being smart enough to wear flats and pack your heels. It’s about air conditioning and small living quarters because the quality of life is so high. Because you’re in The City. The city that some people think is the only city worth living in.
Don’t get all excited. I’m not moving to New York. But two things happened while I was there.
The first: I was opened up to a whole other side of NYC that I hadn’t experienced before. And I felt my heart opening up to this big, huge, massive city in a way that I wasn’t expecting.
The second: I have an even greater appreciation for my little, romantic city of San Francisco. It’s been four years and there are still places to go, eat, drink, explore that I haven’t been before. After four years, I’d gotten lazy. I’d forgotten what it feels like to be thrown in a world you know nothing about but you want to know every single crevasse, every single detail. There are still those crevasses and details to explore here. And I’m inspired to bring that adventure back into my life in San Francisco.