At the beginning of the summer, I began writing the book of my life in the city. So far, the story is incredible, but I admit that it isn’t anything like the story I planned on writing. Life decided to take the pen, scratch out most of what I had outlined for future chapters, write in a few minor setbacks and obstacles, point me in a new direction entirely, and finally hand back the pen when it felt that I was good and ready. One can only imagine how this felt as a writer, not feeling like I was in full control of my own life, the story I was writing, or the character I was trying to create.
But, as we often do, I looked back and in hindsight I understand the reasoning behind all of this. Someone told me that the city pushed me to the edge, and I stood my ground. I did stand my ground, but I also came full circle and realized why the city pushed me to the edge in the first place. It was two-fold, with the first reason being that making it in the city isn’t easy. In fact, it is one of the most difficult things that a self-made New Yorker will ever have to do. Therefore, no matter how easy I thought it would be, as much as I felt I always belonged here, it wasn’t going to be easy. Nobody gets here, makes a name for themselves here, and stays here on accident. Everybody who has established a life here has worked really hard to earn that life. That reason was the easiest to accept, and the only one that came to mind initially. But, the second one is debatably the more important of the two, because it involves me growing, and finally learning a life lesson that I’ve been hearing about for almost a decade.
Someone special in my life used to tell me that I had tunnel vision. I looked at the world in such a narrow way that I could only see what was right in front of me, instead of the big picture. It was like I had my hands cupped around my eyes, and could only see a fraction of the world, the possibilities, the opportunities, the happiness, the options. He used to tell me that I needed to learn to remove my hands from blocking the view of everything else around me, everything else that wasn’t in my direct line of vision, and really open up my eyes and look. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that this is how I approached living here in the city, with tunnel vision. I had this narrow-minded, clear path that had been set in stone in my mind for months, and when my life began to veer off that path, I got nervous. From the moment I stepped foot on city soil this summer, things started going in a totally different direction, out of my vision and what felt like out of my control, I couldn’t see and therefore I didn’t understand, I was scared.
Finally, I have removed the hands from around my eyes, and I can really see for what feels like the first time. New York pushed me to the edge so that I could finally see the view. I thought I had seen the view a thousand times this summer, but it wasn’t until I stopped looking at the world around me with tunnel vision that I really, truly saw the city for the first time. There is so much more than what I was seeing before, it has so much more to offer than I would have ever seen before. There is much more to the city than the small street corner that I lived on, and the intersection that I interned on. New York isn’t a city, New York is a world. It is a world full of opportunity, the city of dreams, where people come to start fresh and find themselves, pursue and succeed in the career of their dreams, it is a world that is so much bigger than the street I work on and where I live, and before I even arrived, I closed part of it off. Now that I can finally see, I’m exploring different parts of the city, and discovering who I am, and what I like, and what I want to do in life, and who I want to be as a person. I didn’t even come here to find myself, because I thought that I already did, but I was born again here in this city. Change isn’t always quick, and it is seldom easy, but I know that as long as I continue to fight for my dreams, work harder than I ever have, and don’t look at life with tunnel vision, there are amazing things in store for me, even if I don’t know what they are right now.
There is only so much that I can do to plan and control my future, because at the end of the day, life might have something entirely different in mind, something that I never would have thought of or found on my own. I have learned, and I’m still learning, not to not always resist it, but to embrace it. We’re not always going to be able to see what happens in life before it happens, because that is part of life is the element of surprise and unpredictability, and no matter what, fate will always find a way. But, that doesn’t mean that the future is totally out of your hands and out of your control, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you don’t have to try and great things will fall right into your lap. You have a say in what happens in life, even when it decides to steer you in a different direction. Life isn’t going to hand you everything you’ve ever wanted on a silver platter, partially because what you want is probably going to change, and you are only going to truly figure out what you want through hard work and dedication. So, even if I can’t see what my future holds, I’m going to continue to continue looking long and hard. I’m going to practice my passion, chase after my dreams no matter how wild and crazy, never settle, and take in the world around me, and I’m almost certain that if I do that, then I’ll find it what I want to do and where I want to be, or by a twist of fate, it will find me.
Sometimes life can be terrifying, and confusing, and we don’t always understand why things happen to us or affect us how they do. It is normal to be confused and scared, but at the end of the day, remember that everything happens for a reason. Put your trust into life, fate, and the universe, and remember that it won’t take you anywhere that you don’t need to be. Remember that even if it is nothing like you expected, there is a reason, a lesson to be learned, a person to encounter, a life-changing epiphany to be realized. Life isn’t always about the final destination, but the ones that inspire us to keep going on our journey, incredible views that we wouldn’t have seen if we would have stopped and settled. It isn’t about where we’re going, it’s the climb.