Thursday, August 31, 2006

Just say no

I have always been the type of person to say "yes" to most any social event- concerts, dinners, hanging out, dancing, etc. This is both because I (as most people) enjoy doing such things but more importantly because I have always placed a priority on spending time with people and building strong and deep relationships. I also love experiencing new things and am always up for a good adventure. In college I was generally able to do all the fun things of which I could conceive and still get my work done in concentrated bursts of shutting myself up in my room... and still get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Senior year is a prime example of this.
Flash forward to now- New York City and life in the real world. Now, if I thought there was a lot to do in Philly, I was grossly underestimating the vast quantity of, well, basically anything and everything one could possibly want to do that exists in NYC. There is so much that I want to do, and opportunities to do so knocking at my door every day. Take today for instance- I could have gone to a Giants preseason game through two different people, gotten $1 yuenglings at the Penn Club with coworkers after work, and gone to stand along the red carpet for the MTV VMAs. Adding to that the concerts, musicals, sporting events, festivals, restaurants, bars, tours, social events, neighborhoods to explore and friends with whom I want to catch up, I could easily find something to do that I would genuinely enjoy and would in many cases be entirely novel every day. This is just a fact of life in NYC and is not at all specific to me. It's just all here and that's oart of what makes NY the great city that it is.
The tough part is finding the balance. Because I now find myself working 8-9 hours a day with a 45 minute commute on each end. None of this 12 hours of class a week business, where you can skip at least a few hours and all the buildings are within 10 minutes walking. No sleeping in a few extra hours if you had a little too much to drink the night before. No emails to professors asking for an extension on the deadline. Now I find myself having to pay rent and bills, for all my meals, and no bursar for those incidentals. No Penn Cash, nothing. No more working for an hourly salary on which I live week to week and can just spend on whatever the heck I feel like it, cause hey, why not? Budgeting? What the heck is that?
So nothing has really changed about me- I'm still the girl people come to cause they know I'm totally in to get those awesome tickets to x concert or y sporting event, or I'm entirely up for trying a new restaurant or wacky enough to just drop everything and set off on a random road trip. What has changed is my circumstances. Saying yes still means spending $40 here or $20 there or eating out instead of eating in or staying up a little later than I should, but it's no longer really ok if I want to function well. Because I now really only have a certain amount of money, and there is a finite amount remaining after health insurance, taxes, and rent. And I now have to get up at 7:00, regardless of whether my nightly activities keep me from coming home until 8 or midnight. And so it is my choice to figure out how to handle this. I know that I need 8 hours of sleep, every night. And so I shouldn't be surprised when I'm exhausted at work after 3 nights of getting 7 hours. I know that I can't go to every concert/restaurant/event that is offered up because I simply do not have the money for it. And it's also not a big deal to say no. But I don't always really feel this nor have the ability in the moment to see the bigger picture. But I'm working on it. Stay tuned for more "what I'm learning in the real world" entries.

No comments: