Moving Slow in a Fast-Paced Life

It’s been my observation that although I live in one of the world’s fastest-paced metropolitan areas, life is not as fast as one would think. Ironically, when I pick up the phone to call the State Department of Education, when I drive the car, or when I order food for delivery, everything crawls at a snail’s pace.

But on the streets and in social settings, no one slows down enough to take the time to notice anything. How about the fresh air? The sunshine? Or greeting someone on the street? It’s quite the contradiction when fast and slow are juxtaposed in the same context in and around NYC.

Sometimes the pace is so fast it is isolating and cold. Other times, it exudes peace.
Sometimes the pace is so fast it is isolating, like being left out in the cold. Other times, it exudes peace.

I’ve been walking fast to get places but have been moving slowly to establish my own social network and friends. That was until yesterday.

Being introverted really surprises most people I know. I think the difference is I can push myself toward outgoing, but I had to learn how. I am a very methodical person, but it has served me well in pursuing those experiences that do not come easy or natural to me. That’s what I finally did when it came to finally attending my very first Meet Up event. As nervous as I was, I knew the benefits far outweighed my fears. I met new people. I laughed. I even met other educators. There were other couples there. I did not want to leave. All at a LGBT Board Game event. Why had I waited so long?

After I did leave, I had a smile. A victorious smile on my face that spelled relief. A personal victory that means now I can really set out to do the things I intend to do. I’m attending a seminar next week solely for gay men: Creating Intentional Rituals for Positive Change. It’s right on track with what I am already accomplishing. My intentions are to put myself out there for employment, for spiritual growth, and for living. It seems to be working. I had one potential employer reach out to me and offer a phone interview for next week. That’s a great feeling…especially after people told me that here you don’t call to follow-up with potential employers after submitting your resume and cover letter.

It’s surely a different world in which I live. One that probably would have been ten times more frustrating and discouraging had I tried to look for work immediately upon moving here. This journey has allowed me to live, learn and truly experience this life.

But it still intrigues me just how slow everything is despite the speed of lightning mentality. Or is it the other way around? That’s one I’m still trying to decipher.

Momentum

My walk started as an internal dance. The grin turned into a smile as my ears buzzed to a remix of Mr. Brightside. Particularly the part when he sang:

Destiny is calling me
Open up my eager eyes
Cause I’m Mr. Brightside

(Viewed on http://www.metrolyrics.com/mr-brightside-lyrics-the-killers.html)

This song really doesn’t have anything to do with my current life when you think about the content of the lyrics. I am not watching my other half with another man, as the song would suggest. But those three lines were speaking loudly to me yesterday afternoon, as I glanced out the windows of the slow-moving light rail in Hoboken and walked off the train toward my destination – FedEx Office to scan my cover letter.

I felt this sudden energy and spirit within that I think I had been doubting. I was so excited and fearless about the possibility of this position for which I was about to apply. So excited that the internal dance busted out into an external one. No, I didn’t actually start dancing, but my spirit did. I erupted into that peaceful smile.

For a while, I had been asking about what it means to hustle for work up here. Well, at this particular moment yesterday in Hoboken, with Mr. Brightside by my side, I realized that destiny is calling. My eager eyes are wide open, and I am in the groove. I feel traction now. I feel that I have nothing to lose. I’m taking chances on positions that I otherwise might not have considered.

This morning offered some more welcoming news. I finally got some solid answers regarding my New York State teaching and counseling certifications. I have been in the process for a year now. A YEAR! And every time I have called or emailed…and called again…to ask why this or that did not transfer from my Texas certificates, or even told that it would but it did not…I got different answers. Or even “I don’t know.” Someone today took the time to slow down and explain the procedures and what was missing…in a way that was clear and streamlined, unlike all the other attempts. Now, I still have about a million hoops to bounce through, but that’s okay because now I KNOW.

Doubt can be a part of a sabbatical, but so is clarity. It’s clear to me that this sabbatical is guiding me in the direction I need to go. I’m here. I’m good. I’m taking risks. And most of all, I have momentum.

Thank you, Mr. Brightside!

hustle /ˈhʌs(ə)l /

I remember when we first moved here, my neighbor said that I was too nice and that I’d be eaten up by the culture here. I thought nothing of it. Then during the past month, I began to wonder, “Is she right?” Am I fitting in? I’ve noticed that just about everyone I do meet is part of being a couple and in a professional setting with my fiance. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this lately, and I realized that I need my own identity and my own friends. Those are the things that come naturally, and work helps with that.

Marco told me before and recently again that to get work here, I have to hustle. What does that even mean? Do I have it? How does it work? I don’t enjoy marketing myself. With frustration over my certification in New York still looming a year after I initiated the process, I feel I could use a coach.

I found that the Oxford Dictionary defines hustle as:

[no object, with adverbial of direction] Push one’s way; bustle

Sell aggressively

North American informal Move or act quickly.
As I settle into this new life in Jersey/NYC, I’m beginning to become aware of my own anxiety about landing a job. For a while, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to continue my education career as a teacher or school counselor. But I find myself missing it. Maybe I just needed a break to gain some perspective. Now that I am here in the city, there’s much more competition. I know I have what it takes, but I’m reminded by my fiance that hustling is the key.
Being from Texas, that’s not necessarily who I am. I don’t like to market myself to potential employers in general, and to have to do that in a place where there seems to be ten times more competition is a bit intimidating. So I literally want to know…how does one hustle? What does it take?
No, I’m not talking about swindling or illicit activity. How do I push myself forward? My best estimate to start would be exuding confidence. Check. So tell me…what are the other keys?
This hustling phenomena led me to take a little a sabbatical from my sabbatical during the holidays. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how much I was self-accomplishing by blogging. Instead, I started focusing my efforts on work and cutting back on spending. Especially since I have yet to sell my condo back in Dallas. Even though my adventures have been spiritually rewarding, they don’t exactly pay the bills. I have applied in two districts and initiated contact in a third. But with little feedback and many times going in circles or unable to follow up, reality is sinking in where I’m feeling maybe I’m a little out of my league in this harsh culture. Things aren’t as streamlined here, and my friendly, Texas smile isn’t going to magically land me a job. It’s trying to even meet people and make new friends. At times, it feels a bit lonely, despite these great adventures. I joined MeetUp to help, but the truth is I’m an introvert, which is shocking to many since I appear so outgoing. Deep inside, I’m very much a thinker and analyze my interactions. I prefer for others to take the lead and initiate. I have a hard time stepping out. The funny thing is I have done it before. I lived in Argentina and went back to Argentina all alone. I can do it. I just feel stuck at the moment.
If this feels gloomy, it’s not intended to. I know there is a growing pain to such a big change in life and relocating. By putting this out there into the universe, I’m hoping to become unstuck and find that spark. I want it. I need it. I have it. I will find it…within me.