On taking care of yourself
It is seemingly impossible to drink enough water, drink less-than-too-much wine, eat vegetables, socialize, manage a career, maintain something that hopefully resembles a social life, and read books all at the same time.
Checking all of the necessary boxes to call yourself a functional person without sacrificing the bulk of your sanity is among the most difficult tasks we face -- and attempting to do so in New York is all that much harder. As someone who often fails spectacularly in this regard, I can only explain where I repeatedly fall short.
There is some synapse in the back of my brain that forbids me from saying no to plans, even when they sound utterly miserable. Do I want to take the ferry to Staten Island in the snow to meet your Hinge date’s baby cousin? Why yes. But this eccentric tendency to overcommit often leaves me without sufficient time to spend with the people who actually matter to me, and without the space to commit myself to things I actually enjoy. I used to go for runs of my own volition! To read somewhere that wasn’t the subway! These things are important, and it is an ongoing project in my own psyche to make space for them. I suggest you do the same.
Beyond that, New York City is shrouded in cynicism. In the summer, we complain about the heat. In the winter, the cold. All the rest of the time, rent prices, the MTA, our favorite bodega that’s recently been replaced by a Whole Foods with a vermouth speakeasy stationed underneath.
In the interest of your equanimity, find some things that offer some respite from the cynicism. Sunrise at the Smith-Ninth Streets subway station on the F line. Chess in Union Square. Street musicians playing jazz for quarters in Columbus Circle. The toxic, glorious experience of doing anything at all, at any point, on a rooftop.
If your bliss has something to do with yoga, I commend you. If it has something to do with doing crossword puzzles while eating a baguette on your fire escape, I commend you, too. And if you’re still looking for your bliss and wondering if it’s anywhere to be found in New York City, take comfort in the knowledge that you have 8.5 million neighbors doing the same thing. -- Eliza Dumais