” Somewhere between living and dreaming. there’s New York.”-unknown.
To love this bustling city full of skyscrapers whose lights mingle with the sky, turning into stars of their own is to love yourself. The city will test your strength, test your resolve, and give new meaning to manifest destiny. Rent isn’t too expensive, it’s simply the admission price you pay for a ticket to the best ride of your Life. This “town,” will present you with hurdles to access the most ordinary of activities, and then reward you with inumerableopportunities. The streets have worn down the rubber soles of my shoes like hungry children eating cake at a birthday party. It is not so much a glamorous life here, as it is a rewarding one. The apartments overflow with interesting individuals, that possess all levels of potential. However, there is no vacancy for mediocrity! If there is a diamond to be produced from a lump of coal, New York City will squeeze it out of you. If you’re open and willing you’ll climb the ladder in an upward direction. Here there aren’t streets of identical little box homes with cars in the driveway, and manicured lawns. Instead, everything is jumbled, different, and there’s a subway entrance that can take you around more than 665 miles of track. Laid end to end the Transit train tracks would stretch to Chicago. Riding a subway train opens up more opportunity to you than any car ride you could ever take around an identical block of houses! You see, there’s no special club you must join to live here. One only needs a heaping helping of ambition. If you find the prospect of getting groceries, washing laundry, or a trip to the Post Office becoming more arduous too much to bear, I’d be quick to point out that just as the mundane becomes ever more so, the same can be said of enjoyable activities. Suddenly there are oodles of openings in your chosen career field, leisurely and cultural events are within walking distance, and they happen frequently, often even for free. If you’re a person that can see openings where others only see closed doors, this place is for you. I don’t love New York for its image or even for the food, but for what it has contributed to my Life. I’ve learned that hitting the pavement, talking to everyone, and binge willing to hustle harder than everyone else, means your reward will be greater than what everyone else is getting. If you allow it to be, the city will be the stone that sharpens you. So, I’d suggest wherever you are don’t be afraid to put yourself in the uncomfortable position to be sharpened. However, it’s something that will happen a lot faster in New York City!
“First, I have to thank God for giving me the gift that he did as well as a second chance for a better life.” –unknown.
I’m only 33, but I’ve lived two lifetimes. Currently I’m on my second. In the first one I was a fiercely independent twenty something living in New York City, keeping busy, and working in a promising professional career.It was the beginning of my “adult,” existence. Living in a tiny roomthat I rented in a nice apartment in the best city in the world. I had a 401kunder my belt, and nothing but big plans for the future in front of me. But of course, as they say“ Life happens while your busy making other plans.” And in my case, that saying proved to be true. Because I unexpectedly had a massive stroke and all those big plans suddenly fell through. In my second life I’m now a fiercely independent thirty something. Living in a pretty house in the woods, trying to figure things out, and life this time around has a lot less noise in it. However, despite my first go around I’m still making plans but they’re in a different vein. Rather then building on top of what I already have, I’m in the process of rebuilding.I used to despair over the loss of my former plans, but slowly I have begun to realize that in the new plans I can do anything. It’s similar to the joy I felt in moving to a new neighborhood where nobody knew who I was. I could go to the grocery store under dressed and not run into a soul I knew. The freedom of that was rather nice. Except, this time around that new neighborhood is practically the whole world. After the stroke I was thrust into a new plane of existence. I had a past but it did not define me, in fact I could choose to omit the parts of my past I did not favor. After the stroke it was as if most people were meeting me for the first time. There were no expectations or preconceived notions. I could tell them what I wanted and in being able to choose the past I liked, that eventually also meant I could choose whatever future I wanted as well. The massive stroke cleared the game board of my life so I was now free to set it up again how I liked. This by no means has been easy. In fact it’s the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. I am just now beginning to see the freedom in what I previously thought was a death sentence. My future is still bright, and this one single event does nothold true for every area of my life. Because, although life is short there is still plenty you can do with it. Therefore, aim to live yours to the fullest.
“It’s so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas.”- Paul Cezanne.
It only took twenty days to upend twenty eight years of progress, now at the age of an adult I was starting over like a child. After waking from the coma(all twenty days of it) and being cleared fora med flight to a rehabilitation hospital I had arrived. Not only was I physically back in the same location I had started from before I moved(to New York) but also mentally starting over. With no job, apartment, car, or social life, I was left with only one thing… rehabilitation. I found myselfso far down in the depths of life I had nowhere to go but up!My view from the bottom was one of complete hopelessness andloss. However, once I was farther along in my physical recovery(walking, eating, and communication skills) I began to see some light, and the burdens of the hospital were no more. I still had(and have) a mountain to climb but it’s much easier with the right tools and attitude. Once I began to shed the weight of piles of pills, a feeding tube, and the discomfort of a hospital bed I was free to breathe again. I quickly came to the realization that material belongings are meaningless, youreap what you sow, and that life is but a blur. Once I regained my determination and strength, it was clear what I had to do. It may have taken but a moment to tear down the life I had built, but now I had a chance to repair it andeven better this time! One can only be so lucky(or unlucky if you will. Now,instead of hanging outin my New York City apartment on a week day night after work, sometimes I hang out with people at a brain injury support group. Is it somewhere I ever expected to be? No, but I can still see the beauty in it. I have enjoyed having conversations with people that are usually invisible in mainstream society and very likely by me too prior to the stroke. Except that I now I see them.It’s not a place I ever wanted(or expected) to be, but I’m going to make the best of it. Because rather then dwell on the past or get stuck, sometimes we just need to tell ourselves “Let’s just get on with it!” Do I suppose I am an injured little bird stuck inmy circumstances? No, because in making the decision to get on with it I have found the hopeto fly again.
“In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. That means we have 1,440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact.” -Les Brown.
Just as the ebb and flow of a river is changed when a large boulder is dropped into it, so are our lives when we encounter the large impact of another human being.Ever since the ebb and flow of my life was radically impacted I’ve been contemplating the effectsthat other people have on the course of our lives.Are wepredestined as if by fate and have everything chosen for us? -or- are we but an energetic pinball bouncing off of different circumstances in an infinite universe? Perhaps it is a combination of the two. However, neither of these take into account the random impact thatothers can have on us. Some people will change your direction while others help spur us forward, and yet some will stop us in our tracks. While the impact from each of these is different they are allequally helpful. Why?Because,each one has brought you to where you are nowor taught you a lesson in some way. Some of these human boulders are extremely helpful while others feel extremely unhelpful(at least at the time) buteach one can teach usa valuable lesson. Besides the rivers of life being changed due to a boulder, we can also become stuck as if a dam was built to stop us. How does one get around a dam when it happens? Simple, you must find a way to open it and let the river flow again.Even rivers start witha small drip(headwaters) until they form a puddle whichwill begin to run down a slope in a trickle and eventuallybecome ariver. Althoughvery small, this is where it all begins.Nature itself hasshown us that bigthings can originate from justa smallaction. As with a river even if you’re going downhill, by beginning with a small (positive)action that accumulates into many, you too can become a mighty rushing river!
“Having hit a wall, the next logical step is not to bang our heads against it.”- Stephen Harper.
Whether the wall is a physical one(visible) or an emotional one(invisible) we all are facing a wall of some kind. These walls separate us from our goals, desires, forward movement, and even other people. It is interesting to note that thenon-physical can literally stop us in our tracks. Among the lies we tell ourselvesare fear and worry. These two things have an especially good knack for stopping us from what we really want. Because of these negative emotions and their mind games wetend to lose the ability to move ina forward direction. Beyondthis wall is a more positive self image that will spurn us upward and onward! To changethe circumstance, we need to change our self image. Thetrifecta of anger, complaints, and ungratefulness is a sure road to failure. It iswith a positive self image and thankfulness that we’ll find the keys to success. However, this is more then just positive thinking, we literally must change our self image in order to succeed. This is not an easy feat, especially when you’re caught in the midst of circumstances you hate. The trick is, by finding things you are grateful for inthe middle oflife’s storms, they will hold less power over you andtheir effects won’t be so devastating. This in turn will open up an in road beyond the wall that you face.By recognizing your strength rather then weakness, the good over the bad, and taking a reflective moment each day to see these things, you’ll be well on your way beyond the wall that is stopping you. Be the victor rather then the victim, and the healed rather then the sick!