I’m not a city girl. I spent half of my life in a small, quiet town in upstate New York. As a child I wandered the woods behind my house, ran around with my friends next door and read as many books as I could get my hands on. Family vacations were camping road trips to even quieter towns. I had no big-city exposure at all.
I came to
by no mistake. I jumped at the chance to venture into the great unknown and never looked back. But let’s be clear, I have a love-hate relationship with NYC. I grew up here, on the stoops, street corners and countless subway rides that tore me down and built me up. I made my life here, gathered up family and created community--and it wasn’t easy.
“But,” you say, “New York is a big bad place. It’s tough, fast, and LONELY. No where else is it so absurdly obvious how alone you could be. On a daily basis you are surrounded by hundreds, maybe even thousands of people and you literally don’t know any of them. 8 million people live here, speaking 800 languages. So many people that if you don’t want to see someone again, you don’t have to. In fact you probably won’t, unless you try. How could you possibly find community in a city of strangers?” I’d have agreed with you 100%, until I became a New Yorker.
It’s easy to get caught up in the grind, to stay isolated and turn your blinders on. New York is so fast paced, it can seem like you don’t have time for anything, especially other people. Everyone seems indifferent, and you feel like you just can’t fit in, you feel lonely, and not good enough. But stay in New York a little longer, and you’ll realize that although the community may be unintentional and the support, undefined, something amazing happens that connects us all in this big bad city; the solo-hustle translates into a community experience.
We ride subways, grab cart food and rush around the city to meet our fates. We share conversations on park benches, swap stories with cab drivers, small talk with the deli guy. We share these experiences and it reminds us that
understand each other
. Just look around a subway at 8:15 AM, sleepy serious faces, clenching coffee cups, reading today’s AM New York, we don’t make eye contact and we don’t converse, but we share the ride to work
with each other
We know to scoot over for the stranger standing next to us to take a seat, even though it's tight. We pay such close attention to everyone else that we rarely bump into each other, even in busy crosswalks. Because we care. Because we respect each other’s experiences. We don’t interrupt someone’s flow unless we’re invited. Because it's considerate, because we know what it's like, we are sharing the same experience and we honor each other.
You are one in 8 million, it's amazing and scary. All the tiny lights in the night skyline are attached to someone you likely don’t know with dreams and struggles, just like you. We are all just living our lives, the best way we know how. Like a cell in the body you are a unique and necessary part of the whole. You observe all of the body’s other cells and systems and realize we are all fundamentally similar no matter how disparate our experiences. Underneath it all is an intrinsic love for the community, born out of an understanding and acknowledgement of its many parts and our respective places in it. We are equals, and we are valuable.
Being surrounded by this love and support is such an important part of living a life you love. We recently hosted our first Tap in meetup and we’d been planning and brainstorming for months about how to best bring together some of the amazing people in this community. We wanted to introduce like-minded people and encourage them to celebrate each other, to create connections and experiences that change lives. We wanted people to share something a little deeper than the daily grind and really take the time to get to know each other. What an amazing experience it was, the excitement was palpable, the diversity of attendees, stunning. Friendships were blossoming, positivity was in the air. It was such an unexpected outflow of support that it made me take pause. In
city, when you reach out to others they reach back to you.
When I became a New Yorker I realized, support and connection are everywhere; the city is your community, if you’re open to it, it’s open to you. The New York “hustle” is born out of the fierce belief that you are enough. That if you’re here, you can do anything, just because you are you. You can create it, do it and be it. Ultimately, we’re all in it together, and it’s awesome.
, Tap in Co-Founder, introvert, convinced she has psychic powers