Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ten Things I've Learned in Ten Years in New York

Yesterday, August 28, was my ten-year anniversary of living in New York City. I spent the day hiking in New Jersey, but I also spent some time reflecting on what I've learned:

  1. Getting rid of my puffy 1990s bangs = Idea of the Decade.
  2. New Yorkers are people like people anywhere else -- often in more of a hurry and in closer quarters, and consequently sometimes ruder; but also capable of great kindness, especially in times of great need.
  3. A lesson of 9/11: I will never, ever claim that my religion is the only right religion, or my God the only and only right God.
  4. Another lesson of 9/11: Any non-New Yorker, who wasn't here that day, who invokes 9/11 for their own political or religious ends: should be punched in the face. (I do not follow through on this -- I walk away. But they deserve it.)
  5. Heaven is going to look like Prospect Park in Brooklyn on a summer Sunday: people of all ages and races chatting, eating, snuggling, listening to or making music, throwing Frisbees for dogs, running, reading, dancing, with a library nearby to answer all our questions.
  6. The goal of a work of art, literary or otherwise, is to create emotion. The book editor's job is to assist the author in identifying and achieving that intended emotion.
  7. One of the easiest and frequently best ways to make conversation, get to know someone, and/or get them to like you is to ask questions. Fifty percent of men in the dating pool do not know this. (I've tried to stick with the other fifty percent.)
  8. Humility and self-confidence, or good manners and self-assertion, do not have to be (and indeed should not be) mutually exclusive.
  9. In my real life (not my reading life), I tend to like the opposite of drama, and as interesting as dramatic people's lives are, and as boring as mine looks in comparison, this is okay. (A corollary to that: If a situation or person is making me crazy with the drama, I should deal with it and be done with it.)
  10. I'm very lucky to have had such a good ten years in the city, and I'm looking forward to a good and unpredictable ten more.


  1. Happy New York Anniversary, Cheryl! I'm so glad you're here.

  2. Cheryl, you say such good and true things.
    I was born, raised, educated, and still live in New York City. I agree with all of your points, especially the ones about 9/11.
    I am so glad you are here. I hope you will stay forever, unless you don't want to.

  3. Some words from some rock song says you shouldn't stay in New York more than X years because you will become too hard a person and you shouldn't stay on the West Coast more than Y years because you will become too soft a person. I've been in California for 20 years so I guess I have dissolved into the dirt. Is it true about NY. Does it make you into a hard person?

  4. LOVE #5. Happy 10 Year Anniversary!

  5. I was just thinking earlier this morning about how long it has been since you've blogged -- and then I come online to find this! Made my day, it did! Thanks so much for sharing this! Particularly the bits about 9/11 and literature.

    Ps: On this 10 year anniversary, can I as a reader, request more lists? :D

  6. Happy anniversary and thanks for the thoughts. #8 is one that resonates the most with me, as these are some of the things I think about all the time. I also love your idea of heaven.

  7. i must say i'm so impressed and inspired by your words on humility and self-confidence not being mutually exclusive....a wonderful and very important lesson to learn. thanks for sharing!

  8. Congrats on ten years! Hope for another ten more if you can handle it :) And another ten lessons--or will it be twenty?

  9. A few quick thoughts:
    1. I am very glad that you came to New York ten years ago. It's been more or less a pleasure to see you settle into your personal and professional life (especially as reflecting on changes in my life is much trickier and more challenging).
    1a. You're inspirational, and I intend to tell my children, if any, and my nephews and nieces about you someday.
    2. I don't know about you, but I'd also imagine heaven being a place where libraries aren't threatened by budget cuts, and where I win at scrabble most of the time. (I think that I need to work on some issues here).
    3. Maybe the 50% of men who don't ask questions just aren't worth dealing with--how interesting can a person be if there isn't that spark of curiosity or interest in the other? The same goes for women, of course.
    4. Asking questions deflects the need to talk about oneself, though questions sometimes reveal as much as the answers.
    5. Can't wait to read about your 13th anniversary at Scholastic.

  10. Thank you for introducing me the wonderful information.And .....Totally boring.!