This post may be a bit of a downer but I thought it was necessary. Since deciding to move overseas and especially since moving, I have had a lot of the same responses from people. Usually along the lines of “How did you manage to do that?”, “Oh my god you are living the life” or “I am so jealous/envious of your life”. That last one is something I have never wanted to make people feel. Mainly because, in New Zealand especially, everyone has equal opportunity. So going overseas is within reach and what I have done is not out of the ordinary. Also because, while I have had an amazing time so far, it most definitely has not been all fun and games. Hence the title of this post.
Moving from New Zealand to New York City has given me some of the highest highs and lowest lows to date. I have met amazing people, seen and done incredible things all while finding out so much about myself. But on the other side I have never been this broke in my life, I get major anxiety and am underpaid and under appreciated. I am not living a life of luxury by any means. Most of what I post about I have done for free because I don’t have the money to spend. I can’t afford a fancy brunch on a Williamsburg Rooftop so instead I go to The Met where you pay by donation (meaning you can pay 1c) and go to their rooftop garden with just as spectacular views without the overpriced Eggs Benedict. While working ladies lunch, I sit at my desk eating tuna and beans. My washing sits for weeks because I can’t scrape enough quarters together for the machine. But still, I’m living in New York so it’s okay. Well at least that’s what I tell myself.
This city tests my character daily. Wherever in the city I go, New York shows me the extremes of life. A well-dressed, young man leaving his Manhattan townhouse to get into his Mercedes, heading for his summer house. Compare this to what you find when you walk 5 meters and turn the corner. An older man, his clothes filthy and torn, leaving his small, hardly sheltered nook under some scaffolding with his shopping cart full of cans and plastic bottles looking to get whatever money he can to feed himself. It tests my character not because I am scared by the homeless people but because it makes me feel helpless and hopeless. I am confronted with this constantly which forces me to acknowledge that these people and this issue exists it shows me that we as a human race are not doing our part. I know that I could do more. It is easy to ignore if it doesn’t effect us directly. This is the main part that makes me feel hopeless. What I have also seen with these polar opposite ways of life is that those who are less fortunate are the most grateful and understanding. Then there are the people who are more fortunate that seem to live this life of entitlement. If they could remove themselves for one second and just hear the problems they are complaining about as they sip on their Venti Soy Triple Shot Espresso, or whatever trendy bullshit people drink these days, surely they would see how insignificant their problems and their ego are. Well you would hope.
My time here has been an emotional roller coaster but of course people don’t like to show their vulnerability and weaknesses. With the rise of social media it is there for people to show their highlight reel rather than their behind the scenes. I’m pretty sure that’s a Taylor Swift quote so thanks Tay Sweeze. But this is what I have done. I stand by the fact that Facebook should not be used as a diary but next time you see someone living overseas or doing something else that you may be envious of remember the above Tee Swizzle quote. There is so much more to a person than what they show online. With every photo album shared of great times, there are just as many tough times that aren’t seen. I respect and admire people who use social media rarely or not at all. I would love to be one of you, but my mother would kill without this portal into my life – Hi Mum.
This all may come across a little hypocritical and you make think what the hell is she talking about. Don’t get me wrong, this year has been an amazing opportunity and experience which I wouldn’t trade in. It has made me a stronger person and more aware. I guess moral of the story is don’t glamorize people’s lives through the internet, realize that there is more to a person than their profile and don’t ever feel envious about people doing things that you can easily achieve too.