the greatest teacher

i often quote baz luhrmann’s “everybody’s free (to wear sunscreen).” the song is laced with dollops of truthful beauty and calming reminders about life.

by far my favorite line: “live in new york city once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in northern california once, but leave before it makes you soft.

i had the amazing opportunity to live in new york city for four boisterous years. by no means is this an east coast soapbox, nor do i think i am some transformed new yorker at heart. i came in, and i came out of that city. momentarily making footprints. sharing in its happiness, sighing with its heaviness. it took me in with open arms and let me go just as freely. and for those four years, new york served as one of the greatest teachers i’ve ever come to know.

apparently i am not alone.

last week, brett nelson of posted his own love letter to new york, citing 50 bonafide things the city taught him.

some shared personal lessons:

1. walk. and then walk some more.

2. if you don’t care, no one will. (still trying to really learn this one.)

3. star interns are lifesavers. (case.and.point)

4. chat up a cabbie. (some of my most memorable evenings were punctuated with the perfect cab ride.)

5. have a ritual. (every sunday. me and the times and some macaroons on 23rd street…my most trustworthy indulgence of the week.)

6. small is magnificent.

7. spending more than you can afford is alarmingly easy to do…(three years later and my bank account is still alarmed.)

8. the joy of stress

and perhaps it is that last lesson that lets me leave new york as a well-worn love affair. someone who was perfect for that moment in my life, someone i will always hold to great esteem, but someone who i ultimately can’t be with today. as baz said, leave before it makes you hard…

then again, even though luhrmann says northern california makes you soft, maybe southern california will soften my emotional saddlebags so and i’ll just have to return to my first love, new york city.



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