It was a rainy evening on Martha Avenue when the topic arose between my housemate and I about living in and around New York city. We talked about the advantages of living closer to the city and the veiled disadvantages of living in nicer places further upstate. I played Fifa 18 for the fourth straight hour that day. In a few hours I would have to leave for the night shift at work. At one point in the conversation, my housemate said, “I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else!”. I mentally scoffed as this housemate doesn’t do much bar the same routine week in and week out. The idea of calling that, “living”, was preposterous to me. It wasn’t until I scored a fifth goal and the game was growing boring that I realised what irony was unfolding. In my almost ten months “living” in the States, the most I had done to break routine was to receive different shifts in work. That was completely out of my hands. Incidentally, this is happening again in the coming weeks and I refuse to sink into that routine and do nothing but work, eat and drink.
I turned off my game of Fifa, feeling bad for inwardly mocking my housemate. It was and is true that both of us, and many more in New York and around the world are more existing according to a job and routine rather than living for ourselves. I try not to sound preachy and holier-than-thou when thinking this in my head and writing it down but a lot of us are slaves to what we think life should be like. I have many people telling me to go on and manage my own building in a few years and make money and settle down and move up the corporate ladder. Forgive me for being a bit dramatic but if that ever happens I will be found swinging from one of the light fixtures in one of the penthouse apartments. “Oh don’t mind the foreboding sense of dread and the ominous presence of anxiety in your living room. That’s just where the old manager did away with himself when he found himself in a well-paying job in one of the toughest cities in the world.”
I guess I just don’t want to be measured by my money, title or position. I want to write and tell stories. Even if my life is spent in an office doing that I wouldn’t mind. It’s the hostile, time sensitive and rat race office world that I don’t want to live in, or exist. I’d rather take a stab at something I love or like than melt into my desk after so many years of promising that this year I would chase the dream.
It’s not even about chasing the dream. It’s about doing something worthwhile. I know there are people out there who do enjoy the corporate world and are ready for the sacrifices. However, when I see disheveled and tired faces stumble into the building at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday morning only to leave the building again at 7 a.m. to catch a train, I feel better about mine and my housemate’s routine of enjoying our time in NYC.