The surprising lesson New York City taught me about life
We had just touched down in New York City. The Big Apple. Home to the inspiration for countless song lyrics.
It had been 10 years since my last visit to New York.
We hopped in a taxi and made our way through the traffic. Edging closer and closer to the city.
The closer we got to the heart of the city the heavier the traffic became.
Soon it was bumper to bumper. Car horns tooting. People cutting in. Multiple lanes and turn offs to different areas of the city, looping, intersecting and confusing to the eye of travellers. It was pure craziness. Even though we were bumper to bumper, there was a flow. Things had a pace. A steadiness. However not nearly as much as the overpasses above us that had fast moving and free flowing traffic zooming past.
We got settled at our hotel and went for a walk that evening.
The energy in Times Square was electric.
Neon lights up above. Congested traffic all around. The smell of street food. Thousands of people scurrying about, moving to wherever they needed to be. Car horns blared. Street entertainers vied for attention. Music from boom boxes blasted in the background.
I didn’t know where to look. It was busy to say the least. Crazy at most. A true assault on the senses.
It was in this moment, despite the noise around me, despite the hustle, it was at that moment that everything got kind of quiet. I felt this overwhelming feeling of calm. I could feel the pulse of the city around me. I could feel the flow. For the first time in a while I could see really clear.
That night I looked out our hotel window, the bustling city below. I became mesmerised by the flow, the pulse and the energy of this incredible city of lights.
I realised and quite literally saw in front of me how easy it is to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. How easy it is to get caught up in the rush. How easy it can be to be swept away with what is happening around you.
New York reminded me to be in the moment. To be present to what is happening in this moment. To consciously take life in your hands. To not get caught up in the rate race. To not get bogged down by the noise, because there will be noise. To listen to your own voice. To not be swayed by others ideas, values and frantic-ness. You can find peace and calm in any moment.
New York reminded me of one of my long held beliefs –
Find your own calm. Despite the noise around you. Because there will always be noise.
I found New York City, to be much like life.
If you do not consciously decide, commit and take action towards what you want it is so easy to get swept away.
There is so much to do. So much to see. So many people around you. So much going on.
Stand strong. Know yourself. Be your own calm.
New York and I have an understanding.
Next time, we won’t leave it 10 years between visits though.