In the 1998 commencement speech turned song called "Sunscreen," writer Mary Schmich said, "Live in New York once, but leave before it makes you hard."
Apparently, it has made me a softy.
I only lived in the Big Apple for a grand total of 346 days. And for about 200 of those days, I was traveling across the country. So to say I was immersed in the true New York way of life would be a bit misleading.
I did, however, spend enough time in NYC to change as a person, but not in the way you might expect.
I think at first, the change was quick and negative. I found myself easily annoyed by the "slow" service in the Midwest when I returned for a visit. I started walking and talking faster. I was losing what little patience I barely possessed before. I was mesmerized by the fashion, the lights, the "concrete jungle where dreams are made of."
A few days ago, a friend politely asked if it was OK for him to make an observation about me. He swore it was a compliment, so I allowed him to continue.
He said he had noticed a change in me since returning to Milwaukee from New York. I think the exact quote was, "Not that you were a bitch before, but it seems like now you're just more in touch with things."
Somehow, New York did not make me hard or angry. It did not bring out my most aggressive qualities, or my materialistic ones.
Instead, New York brought out a side in me that to be honest, I wasn't sure I possessed.
And as usual, it started with running.
Admittedly, New York was not an easy transition. I missed home and often felt a little lost and lonely.
So I started running ... with a blind man.
Achilles Heel Track Club is a nationwide organization that helps disabled athletes compete, get out and exercise, and also socialize. The idea of being able to run and volunteer seemed like the perfect way for me to find a place among eight million strong.
Immediately I was assigned to run with a man named S…Read more...