Let It Bother You

Writer: Grace Noh

“That will be 47 dollars.” Yes, that was how much I paid an unfriendly bartender for two glasses of Martinis. Surprised? You should get used to it if you’re living in New York City, city of big dreams.

Big cities like New York attracts myriad people each year, no, each day, whether it’s for work, school, travel, or family visit. What an attractive city where there seems to be something going on somewhere all day, all night long! Gallery openings, music concerts, film festivals, outdoor events, special festivals… It truly is a sleepless city.

While I was calculating the tips on the 47 dollar martini bill, something stroke me out of the blue: I considered paying 10 dollars for a mediocre sandwich normal and had my bank account almost empty after paying the ridiculously high rent.

Having moved to New York in 2011, the late summer of 2011 to be exact, I was excited to be in one of the most famous cities to continue my study in a prominent art history graduate school. I was hungry for knowledge. I wanted to explore the world. I wanted to meet new people. I wanted to be wild. Four years after, I’m still here. I somehow managed to stay and live in the city with a paid job.

On the train ride home after those 47-dollar-martinis, my head was full of thoughts. Forget about the martinis, it wasn’t about the drinks, but my life in this city itself. 'How long do I want to continue this way of living?' I needed a moment to take a step back and think.

For the past four years of living in one of the most exciting cities, I learned a lot and met incredible people I probably would not have been able to meet elsewhere. I was truly thankful to this city for giving those opportunities, but… there’s always that “but”moment, isn’t it? That moment came. I thought it was time to take it slow and give myself a moment to think about my life in New York: living far away from the family, starting to build my career, getting used to the fast changing circle of people and the high cost of living.

Perhaps the thought occurred to me not because of a sudden contemplation, ‘it’s time to think about my life!’ but because of external and internal, psychological and neurological reasons. My close people began to move out of the city after several years of school and work, new people came into life, they left, and new people entered… It was a cycle that I began to not enjoy much. This not only happens in New York, but also in numerous other places around the world. It just tends to happen more often here and noticing these changes is faster.

So?

This is not to rant about a 26-year-old’s survival after college or tell the readers, ‘that’s life, c’estla vie, life goes on.’ After all, is it really possible to control and prevent yourself from having those thoughts and worrisome? That was the thought that went through my mind.

What do you do when these thoughts occur to you? If that’s the state you’re going through in life, let the thought bother you for some time. From one moment to another, everything is just happening. None of us know how we arrived at this moment in our lives, except the fact that we are here.

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