Journey To New York City

By Buyana Ulzii (Mongolia)

Early morning in February: New York City. It is really cold outside. The frost bites bitterly. The cheek tingles in a winter breeze and the guilt lingers in my troubled mind. I was running to a conference for the Social Network Week… having a hard time finding the place, and I was 30 minutes late! In fact, I knew there was nobody timing my arrival; nobody was monitoring punctuality. The conference was an open access and drop-in type. But I felt bad and guilty for being late, as New York always urges you to seek harder, strive higher, and do better. It seems that external surveillance is not the one that pushes you forward; rather it is the internal impulse that pulls your personal limits.

In fact, the city offers information to learn from and grow with – the brightest and the biggest ideas are shared everywhere: networking events, cultural fairs and group meet-ups. In return, it exerts pressure on you to digest well and develop further, and to find your own voice among its diverse population. In the sea of talent, those who speak almost 170 different languages and share rich minds, one should learn to be assertive and confident in order to get heard and recognized.

A journey to New York for me turned out into a journey to rediscover myself. It came in the form of an opportunity hunt as America greeted me with all its promises and hopes; an identity crisis as I wondered about my strengths and weaknesses, while seeking to fit into the society; a self-recognition as the confidence gradually builds up. The process of self-discovery is ongoing, and the answer remains uncertain as to whether I am confident enough and assertive enough to stand firm and fight rigorously for my dreams. The only thing certain is that I get stronger everyday with the opportunities and challenges New York City puts in front of me.

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9 thoughts on “Journey To New York City

  1. I guess everybody these days must learn to speak up for what they need and say “no” to what they don’t want. NYC forces us to communicate better – to be clearer, I think.

    • Thank you for sharing your insight. It is true that we have to communicate better. In addition to “open mind”, we have to have “clear mind.”

  2. You’re welcome. My personal philosophy is that we don’t have to “fight for our dreams.” Leave the fighting to those who enjoy it. We have an expression in English: “Live by the sword; die by the sword.” That means that if you live aggressively, then you’ll die badly.

    Maybe you will hear from me a slightly different point of view. I see already too many aggressive and/or assertive people in NYC! People who do not hold the door open for the one behind them. People who rush to sit down on the subway and leave a pregnant woman or a woman with a child in her arms standing. No, more of this is definitely not what we need in NYC or anywhere else.

    It’s difficult to know what is just enough strength — and what is too much strength. Do you know what I mean?

  3. Barbara, I just saw your comment and I like your philosophy. I totally agree with you that we do not need more people who do not hold the door of opportunity opened for others. The goal definitely doesn’t justify any aggressive means as in the process the mean modifies the goal.

    Coming from an Asian country, where the modesty is valued, I have to confront with certain challenges here in NYC. But I could also see the importance of assertiveness when the society you are in is basically a competition ( including the one with your own self- to conquer what you see bad in you.)

    Isn’t this a society cherish upon individual rigors and strengths? When people try to push forward their personal capability as much as it could go, it leads to a progress, I guess.

    I hope that there is always enough strength when you believe in what you are doing.

  4. Hi again, It is said that people born in the West are self-righteous and ambitious for more and therefore always striving for external things. It is also said that those born in the East are too passive in general. It seems to me that both cultures have something to learn. It’s not that one way of life is better than a different way of life. The real learning may be learning how to embrace human characteristics that deep down we really don’t like.

    • Wow…nice insight! Well said!
      Learning to embrace who you are deep down even you don’t agree with yourself??

      INNER PEACE, isn’t it? (just recently seen “Kungfu Panda 2” and liked its journey for inner peace – no more conflicting thoughts about who you are…)

  5. Have you seen these baby carriages that are made so that the new mother or new father can put on running shoes and go running and push this special baby stroller in front at the same time? This seems to me the height of Western inventiveness. After all, the new mom needs to get back in shape! However, this also seems to me rather odd and crazy. It’s going to an extreme, as usual. People seem to come to NYC to do something specific and they don’t want to get sidetracked from their goals. And yet someone once said that life is what happens when we had other plans …

  6. Many people like me come to NYC without any specific goal, but with a vague dream to be free and content in life, or to explore and to learn. America is a fascinating destination like a star, sparkling and glittering from distance. What happens on that star is mystery…but it is always intriguing in its magnetic quality.

    Check out the following picture:
    Freedom like a Star

  7. I just saw your post on inner peace. Yes, that is what I value most of all, inner peace. I love your dream to be free and content in life, to explore and to learn. I am thinking that it might be important for you to make your dreams come true — so that your dreams do not stay vague for a long, long time. Put legs under your dreams so that they can walk on this earth! Does that make sense?

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