Sitting at a trendy bar in the Village that serves $14 cocktails and trying to look cool and casual while holding out on a buying drink until my friends arrive. I know I’m being an ass by spreading my meager coat, scarf and hobo bag across at least three seats near the bar as traffic ebbs and flows. People begin streaming in from the sunny day to settle into Saturday nightlife routine and I decide to secure my spot as paying customer.
“What can I get you, love?” says the bartender who’s clearly been eying my awkward attempts to look busy for the past 20 minutes. His warm smile calms my overly apologetic expression and I order something with the name “Wall Street” in it. I take the tiniest of sips try to spread out and look comfortable, which likely makes me look less comfortable. I’m donning a goofy half grin and keep glancing down at my phone and up and around, like I know what’s going on.
My friends eventually come. We have a great night. I grab some wasabi beans, a protein bar and water for the train ride home. “I hope that’s not your dinner,” says the guy in line behind me. “Ha.” I smile and nod, paying the five bucks and quickly making my way to the subway.
I’ll look back on these days when I was trying to scrimp and save while doing the freelance thing in NYC fondly, I think to myself. You have to be poor in NYC for awhile to really appreciate it if and when you’re rich, right? I think my idol Amy Poehler says something like that. I’ll look back on this night fondly, I think. Our first spring-like night the year we moved to NYC.
This city challenges me to find the beauty in the small things. The friendly exchanges. The patient moments between this event and that one. The 24-hour convenience stores that sell things like affordable wasabi peas after a late night out. The long ride home back to Washington Heights.
It’s hard, but I know it’s worthwhile. Every day we set out to conquer a new part of this enormous and constantly churning city is pure magic. Push past your own insecurities and uncertainties and you’ll find a treasure trove of opportunities. There are an infinite number of moments to be lived, places to be seen and experiences to be shared.
I’ll end with a quite the Mister wrote, which sits on our white board: “There has never been a day like this before. Better love it.”