I have a love-hate relationship with New York. I’ve said that before and I will say it again, and again, probably for as long as I live here. There are some people who are in love with this place. There are some people who can’t stand it. I am somewhere in between; I never fell for it, but I appreciate it as much as I complain about it. It’s too crowded, it’s too loud and it’s too stressful. Anyone who lives here and stays even-keeled learns how to take precautions against all of the above. We’re a city of contradictions: those who live here also know that the secret to surviving this town for an extended period of time is to get out of it as often as possible.
But the contradictory nature of it may be what I love most about it: this is the one place I know of where it’s possible to live multiple lives at once. There is no set path here for any career, there is no recipe to follow, there is no “way it’s done.” It gives its inhabitants permission to lead double lives, or to have two parallel careers at once. I know successful TV actors who still work at hedge funds, and financial advisers who choreograph modern dance pieces in their off hours. My boyfriend is a musician, a published author, a teacher, and imports Brazilian spirits. In most places these lives would be considered schizophrenic, whereas here it’s par for the course. New York has depth because its people do; spare time is something that New Yorkers do not squander lightly.
I am no exception. It’s always been hard for me, upon meeting someone new, to succinctly answer the question “What do you do?” Not because I don’t know, but because I don’t know where to start. Even now I wade through corporate business development during the day, but don’t consider that my identity, which lies somewhere in the event planning and theater work I do on the side. I’ve always been a hybrid, a combination of descriptors, and most of my friends here are too. We are not often satiated by one passion, and our passions rarely satiate our bank accounts.
Our close proximity to others who share our—no, not plight, but maybe situation— is our main reassurance that we are not abnormal. This is what life becomes for many of us here, and you get used to it after awhile.
It’s where a book like this ==>
was born and where I read it and where a bunch of others read it too, because there are a lot of us. And I stick this book in my cubicle for a reminder that—when I am not stealing a minute to copy a script on an office copier or visiting a venue on my lunch break—there are many others who get what it’s like to not be one thing. To be an artist in an office and a businesswoman in a theater. To resist pigeonholing with the knowledge that what we strive for isn’t necessarily to be an artist or a businesswoman all the time, but for our worlds to peacefully coexist with each other. Because this is New York and we make it work.