The sky is cloudless, the kind of blue Crayons hope desperately to be. Light pours directly into the intersection of 57th Street and 8th Avenue, spilling gold onto the asphalt. The air is cool on my legs and I worry I should be wearing tights of some kind, but it’s too late now. I click-clack on my heels across the street, eventually running on the tips of my toes to beat the light and make it across the street on time.
Sometimes I ask myself if I shouldn’t try living somewhere else (gasp! I know, me of all people…), just to try out a different life for a while, to explore somewhere else, to have new experiences, start a blog about living in another new place. I think to myself, New York is just a city, right? You can do the same things here that you can do anywhere.
Wrong. Absolutely wrong. Completely wrong.
Because, for me anyway, New York is where absolutely every opportunity exists. It’s in a park, it’s in a boutique, it’s at a conference, it’s on a damn street corner. Because this city is just crawling with ambitious, exciting people who do fascinating things for a living, many of whom are more than happy to tell you about it, and you can meet them anywhere. By some stroke of weird luck—although they say luck is when preparation meets, you guessed it, opportunity—they will maybe even like you and offer to help you with your goals. They’ve worked hard too, and they know how difficult it is to make it. This city is full of people who understand karma.
It gets to a point where you can prepare yourself into oblivion, but if you aren’t exposing yourself to any opportunities, then all of that preparation is lost on you. New York offers the opportunities. It is the center of industry after industry after industry, all waiting for little people like me to come in and just knock on their doors and say hello.
Too many people don’t think you can do that, though. You want to talk to someone at the top of their field? Who are you? A semi-recent college grad? Yeah, right.
I used to think that, too. But New York has taught me guts. Just reach out. Because in this city, sometimes you will be on the same street corner as Robert DeNiro or Judith Thurman or Ivanka Trump. These supposedly untouchable people walk around on the same streets that everyone else does. They put their pants on the same way. As the great Penny Arcade once said to me, “I’m just a person.” I learned another lesson from my mother a long time ago—the worst thing anyone can ever tell you is no. So why not say hello?
I ascend the escalator in the shiny, modern Hearst Corporation building. A glass fountain runs down either side of me, shiny metal beams crossing far above my head. I look at myself in the mirrored edge of the escalator and thank myself for having guts, for seeing an opportunity and going for what I wanted. Look what you did, I think. Look where you’re going.
I am headed to the floor of one of the most fantastic fashion magazines in the world, to have a meeting with a top editor. She had been kind enough to make time in her day to speak to me. I was, and continue to be, honored and humbled at the same time. What a gift to be given, by such a person. If you are reading this LB, there are not enough words. Thank you so much.
I open the door to the features department and step inside. I simply think, yes. This is why you live in New York. I make a mental note to remind myself of this feeling. This is what an opportunity feels like.