Back in New York and loving my life. New York is one of those places that gets under your skin (in a good way). It's the kind of place that makes you have anxiety and keeps you on your toes. It's so hyper competitive that you are constantly in good company with top tier talent in every industry, so it encourages you, whether you like it or not, to have this insatiable work ethic. Understanding the cities complex culture takes time, but once you taste a spoonful of what the city can offer you- you'll be hooked. New York's mouth will just open up and swallow you hole and every time you leave, a piece of your heart will break until you are back again. I will continue to say it over and over and over again, because it will never get old, but this city is the best place on the planet. You can easily get lost in New York (well, Downtown for that matter when the streets lose its grid-like structure and every corner and winding street seems like a new found adventure). You stumble into neighborhood spots that you didn't know existed. You run into friends co-working in cafes that you haven't seen in years. You become lost and tangled, like you have explored a new territory and land- serendipitously, wonderfully and on purpose.
I have a penchant for global travel, so about a year in a half ago, I decided if I could live on an airplane and have "multiple" homes (i.e., beautiful hotels in cities that I adore, AirBnB, and traveling to visit friends in cities I never get to see) then it would entirely and surely suit my personality, as well as offering me a chance to magically fly to any city or continent that I wanted to be. So that's exactly what I did. For the past year and half, I have been that millennial "cool girl" that has multiple homes in multiple cities, always in and out of the most ridiculous holidays and jet-setting wherever I saw fit. I shedded the majority of my things when I moved to Paris in 2014- from clothes to decor to items that I thought were important. After I got back, I then decided to enter into my high-end NoMad lifestyle- living in and out of multiple suitcases. Before I started my jet-set life, I had been a resident of New York for years with brief stints around the globe, usually traveling seeking a new adventure, but also traveling to seek new parts of myself that I didn't know existed. But recently, I've come to the conclusion that I don't think I pay enough homage to this city and I kind of really want my home back. I need to decide over the next few months, if I want to continue jetting around, or whether I want to hunker down and come back to New York, for good.
My good friend Daveed and I were having dinner last night and discussing over wine and oysters how life in New York is different than everywhere else in the world. According to a number of publications and studies, not to mention the continued work that we do for my non-profit, The Happiness Assembly, money doesn't buy happiness and your level of happiness will hardly change after $75,000 USD per year.
"People say money doesn't buy happiness. Except, according to a new study from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, it sort of does — up to about $75,000 a year. The lower a person's annual income falls below that benchmark, the unhappier he or she feels. But no matter how much more than $75,000 people make, they don't report any greater degree of happiness." -Time
This has been the topic of discussion this past week with a series of my friends. We have also been asking ourselves what "our number" is. "What is the number that you have in mind that will make you satisfied? The number can be net worth. The number can be liquid cash. The number can be a yearly number that you wish to make. But, what is your number?" Earlier this week, I stated an absurd number when I was out with a VC friend of mine that I absolutely adore. We were discussing a few killer companies that we had previously been working on that have crushed it. So, yeah, I was throwing out absurd numbers that I probably don't really need, because we were like, "HOLY FUCK. CAN YOU BELIEVE WE INVESTED IN THIS COMPANY!!!!!". Then last night, my friend and I continued this discussion and I then changed my answer. I said, "I don't want to give you a number, because by stating a number, the moment I reach it, I'm setting myself up for dissatisfaction. I would be on a constant hamster wheel going around and around and around. I know the type of life I want to live. I know I want to own a certain type of apartment in New York, be able to provide for my family, and not have to worry about 'having to work to work'. But realistically, $75k in New York city is poverty. $200k in New York City is living paycheck to paycheck. So what's realistic?".
My other friend Kevin and I were having this discussion when I was in DC a few months back at this Asian Bistro that we stopped into. We were talking about how we think we are finally reaching our "experience peak". We've done pretty much everything we've ever wanted to do in our lives in terms of travel, experiences and adventures. That may sound absolutely pretentious, but we've just put ourselves in positions with our education, profession, and travel that allowed for this to happen. We wonder if in a year or so, we will reach the point where we are capped out and instead of traveling to a new location twice a week seeking new experiences, we will enjoy "hanging out" at our home for long periods of time, wherever that home may be.
Black is the color of New York. It's the color that makes you feel powerful. It's the color that makes you feel good. It's the color that doesn't require much thought. I love this outfit, as it represents my personality so well- a mixture between lady-like lace, a tailored simple blouse and leather leggings. You can easily swap out the heels for black ballet flats or boots and still pull it off. The great part about New York is the fact that you can go directly to whatever you need to do in your work clothes and still look chic. This is a prime example of versatility in the simplest form. So I've got a lot to think about over the next few months- whether I want to stop being a nomad and really move back to New York, or continue living out my "experiences", but as for now- Hello to you, from my New York.
Photography: Bethany Halbreich