Last night I went to the Bohemian Hall Beer Garden in Astoria to say goodbye to my friend Jacob Vanags. He’s moving to Los Angeles in a fews days with his brother to become the hottest duo to hit the travel industry and pursue music. My roommate Erin Willett is leaving today to pursue her dream and she is this close to making it.
Both friends I met at Hofstra University, a school notorious for having students accept admission only because of the close proximity to New York City, the epicenter of the world and full of opportunities. Why are my most talented friends talking about leaving then?
There is a great article by Holly Brubach in the October issue of W Magazine called “A Place Apart” that counteracts all the nuances of New York City, specifically how it is the center of the universe (it’s really not) or that if you want to make it, you need to do it here (not true). I think of the past few years and the truly outstanding and unique people I have met, and they have all left New York for Los Angeles, Portland and South Carolina.
Last night Jacob was talking about what he needed the most in order to get productive was a change of environment, which is partially the reason why he is moving to a place that hopefully won’t stomp out the last of the Ohio boy in him. I guess if New York couldn’t, no city could. I think about myself living in this environment and from time to time needing to escape periodically, but since my normal life keeps me traveling all over the country, I may need something more.
Sometimes I think we blame outside sources when it comes to not doing what we want to do. We need a change, work gets too demanding, New York City is over. Opportunities should appear before us instead of relying on ourselves to create them. For some, they know what outside sources affect their state of mind; sometimes it is a change of scenery or making a daily commitment or letting some things go. There is no one tactic that works for everyone. The prospect of having to look inside yourself to start chasing your passions is challenging.
There was another great guest post yesterday on Zen Habits by Dave Ursillo about “Starting Slow” and about how we get used to a life of rushing through and not enjoying the journey. People get anxious and (especially my generation) never want to settle. While on one hand I know the importance of enjoying this time now in my twenties in New York City, because of the nature of this metropolis that gets more ambitious and competitive at every turn, taking a break never seems to be an option. I want to discover what this hidden balance could be, but from what I hear, questioning my purpose in life at 23 is a pretty good start.
Best of luck to Jacob Vanags, Erin Willett and all my other friends who refuse to settle or let the city get to them.