It’s a brisk wintry night and I’m safe, cozy and warm indoors; staying at a friend’s house. She is the true meaning of hospitality and friendship. So many people will say they are there for you whenever you may need them. But in the end, who actually lives up to these promises. All I know is that, in my time of need, she was there.
The last few months have been a test and I am undoubtedly still making my way through. But it’s all these obstacles that make the journey that much more worth it.
I’m currently reading the most wonderful book titled “The Last Lecture”. It’s written by Randy Pausch, a man dying of pancreatic cancer. It’s a book about living, the things that matter and simply appreciating life. I recommend that you all read it.
“It’s not about how to achieve your dreams, it’s about how to lead your life, … If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you.”
“When you’re screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore that means they’ve given up on you…you may not want to hear it but your critics are often the ones telling you they still love you and care about you and want to make you better.”
“It took a long time, but I’ve finally figured it out. When it comes to men who are romantically interested in you, it’s really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do.”
“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
A couple of days ago, I lost my phone. Meaning (funny story) it fell in the toilet while I was at a holiday party and now it won’t turn on. I was only upset for one reason. The first thing I though of? My pictures, all of my beloved pictures… If there is one thing that keeps me going on a daily basis it is my self-documentation through the photos I have taken. I’ve had that phone almost as long I have lived in New York. Almost two years and over 3000 pictures later and here I am, almost devastated to lose that part of my journey, my vividly illustrated memories.
Perhaps it was just another brick wall. There will be many more days, different adventures, countless new journeys and plenty of new pictures to keep my passion alive. Tomorrow is always a brand new day.
When we are young, our capacity for dreaming seems unlimited, pure and without many boundaries. Possibilities are endless because our canvas is still mostly blank, the future is waiting to be written. We have very few mishaps embedded into memory and nothing can stop us. We are children. We are innocent. We believe in everything and everyone.
Eventually we begin to develop more direction and start to shape our lives into what we want and need. There is definitely that moment when everything seems to make sense and we really do believe that we know exactly what we want and are even certain that what we want is also what we need.
Throughout my twenties, I was so sure that I knew what I wanted. I could not have been more wrong. I never put my needs first and somehow I always let someone else make me feel like I wasn’t good enough for them. Well none of those people ever deserved to have me in their life in the first place.
This new chapter and decade of my life has already changed me dramatically. I know what I want, even if sometimes I don’t know how to get it. I know when enough is enough. I know when to fight and when to let go. I know who I am. I have become my own best friend.
There’s a great lesson to be learned when you don’t get what you always, always wanted. There’s a reason for that. You deserve better. The main thing that I could never understand from the time I was a child until very recently was that if I loved someone and they supposedly loved me, why did they not choose me, why were they not with me? Such a dreamer I was and so fucking blinded by love. I deserve more. I deserve someone who will fight for me. I deserve someone who will take care of me. I deserve someone to be there for the good and bad. I deserve someone who will let me grow and change and make all my dreams come true. I deserve someone who is proud to say they are with me. I deserve it all. I deserve the world.
I have only just begun. My future will be a beautiful symphony of moments that most will never see. I will celebrate silently.
Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated.
Watch a sunrise at least once a year.
Never refuse homemade brownies.
Plant a tree on your birthday.
Learn three clean jokes.
Return borrowed vehicles with the gas tank full.
Compliment three people everyday.
Sing in the shower.
Keep it simple.
Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
Leave everything a little better than you found it.
Think big thoughts but relish the small pleasures.
Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
Never leave the toilet seat in the up position.
Floss your teeth.
Ask for a raise when you feel like you’ve earned it.
Be forgiving of yourself and others.
Over-tip the waiters and waitresses.
Say “thank you” and “please” a lot.
Buy whatever kids are selling on tables in their front yards.
Wear polished shoes.
Avoid negative people.
Remember other people’s birthdays.
Commit yourself to constant improvement.
Carry jumper cables in your trunk.
Have a firm handshake.
Send lots of Valentine cards. Sign them, “Someone who thinks you’re really wonderful.”
Stop blaming others and take responsibility for every area of your life.
Look people in the eye.
Strive for excellence, not perfection.
Be the first to say, “Hello”.
Use the good silver.
Return all the things you borrow.
Make new friends but cherish the old ones.
Plant flowers every spring.
Have a dog (or cat).
Always accept an outstretched hand.
Wave at school kids on buses.
Be there when people need you.
Feed a stranger’s expired parking meter.
Don’t expect life to be fair.
Never underestimate the power of love.
Drink champagne for no reason at all.
Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation.
Don’t be afraid to say, “I made a mistake”.
Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know”.
Compliment even small improvements.
Always keep your promises.
Marry only for love.
Rekindle old friendships.
Call your mother.
After my time here I feel so much more balanced and educated on life. New York has taught me so much. Sometimes you have to learn things the hard way but in the end it is definitely worth it:
Never underestimate the importance of a restful nights sleep.
Take your vitamins.
Treat yourself to a solo lunch date at least once a week.
Always make the time to be there for your friends.
Diversity makes life so much more beautiful.
Take every opportunity to experience something or somewhere new.
Talk to strangers.
Stop and smell the flowers.
Your worst enemy could someday be one of your best friends.
Go to the park. Lay in the grass. Relax.
Take a nap on the beach.
Laugh at everything.
Keep in touch with those that matter most.
Stand up for yourself.
Make a fool of yourself.
Know that you are always meant for something greater.
Never stop actively searching for your “dream job.”
Walk in the rain.
Have picnics in the park.
Cross bridges. By foot.
There is nothing like a bike ride through the city on a perfect spring day.
Its great to be a Barista. Coffee equals survival.
Make friends with bartenders. Free alcohol is awesome.
Don’t sleep with co-workers.
Black men can be so sexy.
People will always make conversation if you’re walking your dog.
Trust your instincts.
If you have to cry, the rooftop is a great place to do so.
Don’t hold back when saying goodbye. It could be your last one.
My past no longer defines me and I start every day with a clean slate. I can laugh at all those mistakes and silly things that used to keep me awake at night. I’m not wasting any more of my days.
I haven’t really been saying no anymore. Dating, sure. Quitting a job because it makes me unhappy, yes. Buying tickets to all the amazing concerts I want to see even though I can’t afford it, hell yes. Traveling the world with new friends, yes please.
Life was meant to be wonderful and happiness is a choice. Make it count.
Lately I’ve really started living. I have taken every opportunity that arises, I’ve stared every challenge in the face, I’ve become much more outspoken and I’ve focused on always keeping a level head and a positive attitude. I feel like I have made a lot of personal progress and that is what is most important to me. In the past there have been times when I might have sat here and said everything was great when, in reality, it really fully wasn’t. I didn’t say it to impress anyone or look good, I just really wanted to believe. This time it really is. Life is good.
Working my two jobs proves tiring, as I had expected. But it has also brought me out of my shell even more. I am working at 3 separate restaurants and parts of the city on a weekly basis and this means I have contact with so many different people and surroundings. I honestly think this has restored my faith in New York in certain ways. The people I work with and that I have as customers are really wonderful. The expose me to many new things. The best part is that although I work 7 days a week, somehow I have still found plenty of time to have fun lately. I am trying to see all the areas of New York that I possibly can while I am here. I really have no idea how long that will be. Anything could happen and that’s the best part. Surprises are in my future. I am so sure of that.
There is one important lesson that this year has brought me. When someone has their mind made up, you cannot and should not try to change it. We all make our own choices, it’s our own free will. I finally understand how important it is for me to respect that.
My birthday is approaching very, very soon. Only more positivity to come from me.