The City that Never Sleeps

I’m having what I call a “fallow day.” This is a term I use to feel less guilty about having a day to do nothing and recharge. Although I hesitate to read too far into personality types, I’m pretty Type A, which for me means feeling guilty when I’m not being productive. Guilty and anxious.

Everyone has their own version of this, but I call days like this “fallow” because words are powerful. In New York, there’s a collective consciousness of ambition, pushing blindly ahead. We are rewarded for staying at the office until 8 PM; we brag about being too busy. I am guilty of having these conversations with myself. I¬†constantly feel like time is running out.

I call days like this “fallow” because within the word lies the contradiction of doing nothing and doing something at the same time. People meditate because it makes them more able to act. I am slowly attempting to master the fallow. Admittedly, it isn’t going well. Even right now, I’m writing instead of doing nothing. I’ve felt completely uninspired all day because I was doing nothing. Now I’m writing about doing nothing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how New York affects me. I always want to make sweeping generalizations because everyone seems so unhappy here. When I’m scrutinizing my current existence, I don’t feel connected to my friends or the world. When I say that New York pushes blindly ahead, I use the word “blindly” purposefully. The people who succeed here have an iron will and thick skin. They can see homeless people every day and ignore them. They can get catcalled all day and not feel like crying. They can work twelve-hour days. They can disregard injustice.

I feel like it’s sacrilege to say I don’t love New York. It feels like having paper-thin skin. I miss my friends living in the same neighborhood as me, I miss driving, I miss the expectation of politeness. I am constantly on high alert, and I’m constantly aware that I’m a woman.

But then again…

I saw Tilda Swinton in the East Village one time. So I kind of feel like it’s worth it.



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