KELLEY'S PERSONAL NYC MANIFESTO
NO. 1 | Say YES. To dinner, to neighborhood walks, to friend-guided tours, to show invitations, to happy hour with new neighbors…but just perhaps suspend this initial mantra when that classily-clad, though a bit mysterious, individual you thought was a new writing group friend turns out to use code for “writing group” to mean setting you up for something which rhymes with collage a moi. Lesson learned. Next.
NO. 2 | Fear won’t kill you. In fact, I suspect it really is making you stronger. I know it’s making you more resourceful. And that dog downstairs doesn’t seem to mind much that you use him to steady your doubts through nightly petting therapy. It's a thing.
NO. 3 | Momentum provides clarity (thank you, Marie Forleo). No truer words have ever been uttered. And you know it. Get out and do…you understand fully that it always, always leads to something interesting, unknown or previously unseen. And remember the cardinal NYC bikerider rule (thanks to Amanda): fast riders, right lane.
NO. 4 | Chart your course. It’s good to know where you’re heading in the next year, next quarter, week or day. Now, you know that Sacagawea could read the signs as she led her companions to water. She could navigate quickly and efficiently through the mountains sans color-coded directional posts or without the benefit of steel-encased rail cars. You also know she used the sun to determine her true North but, my dear one, apparently you do not descend from her way-finding genius and as it stands, it will take a bag full of tricks, apps, proverbial breadcrumbs and trial-and-error to get you around NYC and have you arrive on time. And that’s okay. You do other things well.
NO. 5 | Hydrate. Soak up culture, the differing perspectives, the wisdom of the characters you intersect. And for goodness sake, do not forget your reusable water bottle on summer day excursions. Remember the mid-town incident.
NO. 6 | Connect. To the community, the neighborhood characters, the waiters you pass every day. Say hello to the grocers, the cleaners, the baristas and the Prada-glad goth who confuses your mind. And if you don’t want to be called out for a complete poser, connect your MetroCard SWIFTLY to the scan channel or else you will become HER—the weak commuting link, and nobody wants that Girl Scout badge.
NO. 7 | Keep the Faith. You arrived with your own and a cherished bag full of mixed blessings from good friends and those you never knew well. They represent at least four additional belief systems you can identify. And you appreciate them all. Keep them on your windowsill and remind yourself daily that you are never really alone and never far from a hug or a giant get-back-out-there-and-do-your-thing-nudge or shove or slap. They all have their place. #girlfriendsrock
NO. 8 | Adventure. As a verb. Seek enchantment. Seek the unknown. Seek that deep sea salted, dark Mast Bros. Brooklyn bar-of-goodness. Or the plein air painters who cluster in the park and are way more advanced than you right now--breathe their air. Go find the sculpture you’ve only seen in books. Leave your mark at the roving vintage typewriter poetry shack that Carla turned you on to--she finds the coolest things. Sip Proseco at the Gramercy but please find a buddy to do this with first because that just looks pathetic drinking by yourself--Beth will join you, I know it.. Eat where they all wanted what she was having. Walk in the rain and love how it feels. Wear those beautiful earrings Kim gave you--the ones which make you feel a lot cooler than you are. Give a silent mind applaud to the man on 5th dressed in handmade, multi-colored patchwork skinny pants walking like he owns the street. Go, stranger, go. Your authenticity is beautiful….and where in the hell did you get that bag? Mama like.
NO. 9 | Expand and Serve. Though admittedly, the fantasies arise, you are not some far-away-land Princess sent here to explore a fair golden (and delightfully grungy) land. You are here to expand. You are here to serve. You are here to make a life and hopefully a living that doesn’t include a steady diet of ramen and peanut butter…unless that’s what you’re craving because you know that happens sometimes. You are here to find your next purpose, the next way you will serve something far bigger and spunkier than yourself. Something which makes those around you feel a part of collective awesomeness. And girl, keep those Princess walks to a minimum or it may be fries and a Coke you’re here to serve if your perfect job doesn’t find you soon. Just kidding, you know you’d serve steak and champagne. Relax.
NO. 10 | Learn. To trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be and exactly where you chose to be. Remember, that when you’re open to whatever may find you (except that craziness in mantra #1 above), you have experienced some of the most sublime moments of your life. And learn that the dog at the park who ignored you all afternoon doesn't love you. Remember the one who suddenly had a great affinity for you? He didn’t just fall in love with you. No, really. He was watching to see when you returned with your hot dog so he could slyly and deftly lick the entire length of your gourmet street fare. But you ate it anyway, didn’t you! You know, dogs mouths…yada, yada. You got this, your way, you got this.