My miracle on 34th Street
That’s what I had this summer. Over the past few weeks, I have been trying to take time to just process how amazingly fortunate I’ve been. “How did I get to be so lucky?” has been ringing through my head. My experiences this summer are nothing short of miraculous, if you ask me.
On the most basic level, just getting to spend a summer in New York is lucky, and I’m so lucky that I survived. I never got horribly lost. I didn’t lose anything or have anything stolen. I made it around the city safely. Same can be said of all my friends.
I’m also not coming back broke. I began the summer with an idea in mind of how much I’d be ok spending and figured out about how much that gave me for each week, and I did a great job of sticking to that. It helps that the only thing I paid full-price for was food. The TV shows, fitness classes and outdoor movies were free. I only went to beaches that were free and accessible by subway. I went to museums on free or donation (for me: $1) nights. I got super-discounted Broadway tickets. I hardly shopped — only when my stores had big sales (and there’s no retail tax here!). So food was by far my biggest expense, and if you go to the right neighborhoods, that can be found for the same prices as back home. (The same can’t be said for alcohol, so being underage also saved my lots of cash.)
But my luck is so much more than that. I have had many, many things go my way this summer. The weather has been horribly hot but not rainy. Contrary to my mother’s fears, my apartment did not have cockroaches. My groceries are going to run out almost exactly on time.
Regarding bigger things, my internship has been great. I’ve gotten to do a lot, work closely with two great women, and meet some fun people. I’ve also had the time and flexibility to build my network with people at other magazines around the city. Their finding gaps in their schedules to meet with me was pretty lucky itself.
The fact that I made it through my to-do list is also nothing short of miraculous. I have done and seen so, so much and been so fortunate in those experiences, too. There are obviously lucky things, such as getting picked in ticket lotteries, but there are more surprising things, too: choosing to go to Coney Island on the day of the Mermaid Parade (without knowing), getting into Regis & Kelly just for sticking around after they cut off the line, and randomly being picked to be on camera on The View and Jimmy Fallon.
I could go on and on, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that I’ve had so many amazing experiences and met so many amazing people — and I know it. I have tried to not take a second of this adventure for granted. In some ways, it would’ve been easy to settle in and do so, but when I’m not enjoying my hot and crowded walk to work, I remind myself that I’m walking through Midtown Manhattan to Shape magazine — and that’s pretty awesome.
But for the most part I haven’t had to remind myself. My friends and I have what we’ve dubbed “New York moments.” When I get a great view of the Empire, when the orchestra starts up at a musical, when I hear a new language, when I come across a new street I love, when I taste something I’d never heard of, when the sun sets over the skyline, it all of a sudden hits me again: “Holy cow. I’m in New York. I’m here.”
How did I get to be so lucky?
(Note: I do, in fact, live on 34th Street)