Monday, September 19, 2011

Tough town.

There's a popular phrase down under: "Toughen the fuck up". I have had cause to think of this phrase often, living in this town. Moving countries isn't easy. Moving countries and changing jobs is even less so. Doing it all in New York Fuckin City takes the cake. Don't get me wrong, this city is one of the greatest. It's exhilarating to be here, right up against so many amazing possibilities and amazing actualities every day. But therein also lies the problem: you're up against it. New York has a way of showing you at extremely close range just how sensational things can indeed be, while simultaneously making sure you're aware just how hard it will be to get to a point where those sensations are your own. Even when you're not trying to reach the lofty heights, just trying to get your basic shit together takes a lot of hard work. Holding down a job, getting an apartment, getting from A to B (via the L if you're me), finding people you want to hang out with, finding time to hang out, finding time to sleep, exercise, take any care of yourself whatsoever. It's a struggle. And I'd be lying if I said it hasn't been stressing me the fuck out. That's probably one of the reasons my skin has been breaking out (city grime hasn't been helping), which has also been stressing me the fuck out. I routinely wonder if I may have made an enormous mistake, or if today might be the day I discover the joys of having my first panic attack. But I keep reminding myself this isn't meant to be easy, and I'm doing okay. Next week I will move into my own apartment - my first fixed abode in six months. That's progress sister. So toughen the fuck up.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Living the dream.

It occurred to me the other day as I hurtled across the Williamsburg Bridge in my yellow cab, that right now I am in fact living out my dreams. What’s interesting though, is what the dream actually feels like when it becomes real. It’s lucky I’m writing this today, because today I’m feeling pretty ace. If I’d written it on another day, it might have been a little less chipper, and a lot more agitated. Because while dreams tend to consist of a few well chosen frames shot through the flattering haze of a Vaseline smeared lens, reality is a little more gritty. It’s a little less smooth, a little more lumpy.  As Shakespeare told us, all’s well that ends that way. And because I’m writing this story today – a happy day – we can conclude all is well. But my, it’s been quite a ride. Now in my third week at my new place of work, I have only just started to really clue in to exactly what it is I’m meant to be doing around here. I have only just managed to use my desk phone with any degree of confidence, and I’m only just starting to feel any iota of comfortable in my new surrounds. On the way to this point I have swung violently between feeling like I have found my true work home – a house of awesome brain stimulation – to feeling so alien that a visit from the F.B.I.’s department for extraterrestrials wouldn’t surprise me. Because, as I’ve said before, over here for me, almost every single thing is new. From the way people behave in the work place, to the way they express themselves, to how they order a salad, it’s all new information I need to negotiate, process and interpret. Information overload is an understatement. My brain has been bursting, my dreams have been teeming, and from time to time I have felt the hurried approach of a major freak-out. However, so far, I have successfully managed to keep the freak-out at bay. How you ask? By using my yogi-powers of course. In the same way that I credit my Bikram yoga experience for giving me the skills and determination to get to New York City in the first place, I am indebted to yoga for enabling me to keep my head. I have simply approached every challenge with the same mindset you use to survive (and even enjoy) a hot yoga session: one thing at a time. No big picture wigging out, just an in-the-moment, how-long-can-this-really-last mentality. By focusing on the one thing I’ve been dealing with at the time, and not thinking about any future or larger thing I don’t need to, this entire monstrous undertaking has been rendered entirely manageable. Even uncomfortable experiences, when they’re looked at in isolation, don’t seem so big and bad. And awesome ones, when you’re really present, can be celebrated all the more. Not to say I haven’t had some serious moments of “what the effing frick have I got myself into??!”. Only, by some miracle I’ve managed to recognize what I’ve got control over, what I can change and what I can’t, drop the stuff I can’t do a thing about and move on. It’s been wicked. And let it not be forgotten, that while living the dream might be challenging as all hell, it’s also equal parts unbelievably fun, exciting and cool. So if you’ve been thinking of diving into the dream arena, go right ahead. It’s an experience I would thoroughly recommend.