Although I have been on this earth (in the U.S.) for 27.5 years, I am embarrassed to say that I am “one of those Americans” who has never visited Canada. It’s not that I do not care to visit; it’s just never happened because there were times when I wanted to take the bus up from Boston, but had no one with accompany me, or times like the last few years, when I had prioritized visiting Europe and Asia. I guess my excuse is that it is so close to New York, I know it will always be there, and it hasn’t honestly ever been at the top of my ‘to-do’ list.
Today, we took a day trip to the Poconos, where we saw some beautiful views and visited wineries. I thought back to the time I was in Napa two months ago, and I thought about how overrated Napa Valley is. Because of the notoriety that the region has gained, every winery and tasting room there seems to think that they can charge ridiculous prices just for you to take a couple of sips of wine. Lucky for us, other areas of this country, like Willamette Valley in Oregon and the Finger Lakes in upstate New York, are becoming more well known among wine connoisseurs, and hopefully consumers will realize exactly how overhyped (and overpriced) Napa is.
One of the beliefs that I was brought up with was that I should trust no one. I realize how cynical that seems since we are supposed to love thy neighbor and help others, but the truth is that we only fully know what our own motives and thoughts are, and we have little control of others. And when you move to a place like New York, where everyone is here to look out for themselves and take what they can get, it tends to exacerbate that thinking. How much can you learn to trust anyone, and what do they have to do to prove that you can trust them?
One of the best things about going to the gym in the morning is how quiet it is. I never have to pounce on a locker, trainers are not aggressively trying to solicit me, and I don’t worry about a workout class having enough space. I’ve also realized that after the first ten minutes when my alarm goes off at 5:50am and I hate my life that the feeling quickly subsides, and as soon as I’ve been active for over ten minutes, I get on an exercise high and just want to keep going and going. Then before I know it, an hour and a half has passed.
People say that Gen Y, or the “millennials,” are the “me” generation – the ones who constantly think that the world revolves around them. Two out of my three best friends are in their late twenties, and they both think that they are going through “quarter life crises” because neither of them is happy nor feels fulfilled. Is labeling these thoughts worthy of the quarter life crisis label, or is it all just overhyped drama to draw attention and make situations seem much bigger than they are? Perhaps we all need to stop thinking about being happy and instead take real, actionable steps that will activate our minds and bodies.
Today, we live in a world obsessed with staying connected. When we wake up, one of the first things that the majority of us do is check our mobile phones for messages, e-mail, or news. Ninety-seven percent of all mobile phone users keep their phones within three feet of them at all times. It’s pretty much the norm that even at a meal, your dining partner will check his phone and disconnect from you, the person breathing in front of him. The saddest thing about this obsession to constantly stay connected virtually is that it creates a complete disconnect from the today and this actual moment happening right now.
The baby name trends between 2011 and 2012 showed an increase in preferences for non-Anglican names. Apparently, the prevalence of names like Christopher and Sarah are on the decline. It reminded me of how I’ve always wanted to name my future children more ethnic, uncommon names so that when someone asked for Sayuri in class, no one would say, “Sayuri who?” Yet when I shared this thought with my friend, she said, “but you’re not Japanese,” if I were to choose a Japanese name. My mother is not French, yet she named me Yvonne, so what is the problem? We are living in an ever-changing, increasingly global world, so we should accept the beautiful differences among us, including given names.
My cousin and his wife had a baby last October. They gave birth to baby Ryan at a hospital in upper Manhattan, which is about a 1.5 hour commute from their Park Slope condo — actually, it’s more like 2.5 hours with the disgusting Manhattan congestion. In their new neighborhood of Bensonhurst, there are no real playgrounds, no grass or even dirt for little Ryan to roll in. Even in that lower income neighborhood, daycare costs are exorbitant. The air might be cleaner in Brooklyn than in Manhattan, but given all these things, the idea of raising children in New York is absolutely hideous to me.
One of my friends who I have had since middle school is leaving New York at the end of this month to get ready for Wharton in the fall. Today, we met for a last lunch before she packs her bags for Philadelphia. I guess at this point, I should be used to people moving around, getting married, and leaving; we’re all getting older and moving onto newer and hopefully better things in life. But what makes me sad about it is when I think of friends and family whose lives don’t seem to be moving forward and whose sense of time seems to be frozen. In real life, friends’ lives don’t always evolve at the same rate the way they do in shows like 90210.
I still find it surprising when I meet people here in New York, and they tell me that they’ve never been to California (or don’t want to go), or anywhere on the West Coast for that matter. A flight between San Francisco and New York is only about six hours, and during low seasons could be as little as $250 round-trip. Where is the curiosity about the world outside of them, even if it is just outside the vicinity of Manhattan, or even the tri-state area? It’s even more befuddling to meet people who live in New York who have never been to Philadelphia and other close cities.