Story: Why Am I Living in New York City?

This week’s video story: If this is how I spend my time, why am I living in New York City?


I ask myself, “Why am I living in New York City?” but the message is the same no matter where a person might live. We should always make the most of our time! Which, of course, includes watching re-reruns on TV if that’s what I really want to do.

Here’s a link to the extraordinarily powerful public-service announcement that I mention, made by Yul Brynner, released after he died, about quitting smoking.

This story reminds me of one of my favorite resolutions from Happier at Home: Be a tourist in my own neighborhood. Also, take tourist photos of my own romance (photos included!).

[time passes]

Speaking of public-service announcements, I just spent too long watching several “Don’t Mess with Texas” PSAs, sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation, that are described in Chip and Dan Heath’s book, Made to Stick. Brilliant.

How about you? Have you ever seen a public-service announcement that stuck with you for years?

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  • peninith1

    Vividly remember the Yul Brynner PSA from when it was current, and he was one of my favorite living actors. So sad.

    Speaking of ‘being a tourist in your own neighborhood’ . . . today I returned home from a visit to my kids and grandchild and friends in the Washington, DC area. While there I enjoyed family time, and ventured out with a friend to a museum we had never seen, the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Excellent! Art by women from as early as the 15th C. onward, and a great quilt show too! Then lunch at the wonderful Mozart Cafe, a real German deli with restaurant.

    And then, when I came home, and returned today to resume my months-long project of a daily walk around my neighborhood in search of a subject to photograph and post on Facebook, I saw two amazing things: First, after leaving the place covered in ice, I found the first stand of daffodils blooming. Second: after anonymously gifting a neighbor with a new flag near Thanksgiving time in hope that he would take down his tattered U.S. flag (he took down the tattered one right away) finally saw my gift of a brand new U.S. flag hanging from his front porch flag pole. Awesome!

    Whether you are enjoying something fantastically unusual, like a vegetarian ‘schnitzel’ made with mushrooms or a marble sculpture made by (no kidding!) Sarah Bernhardt, or just pounding the pavement in your familiar one-mile loop, there’s so much delight to be found!

  • Big smile on my face when watching your video! This is so true!
    When I feel down in the dumpster I TRY to just get out of the house and see something different. It never fails to make me feel better and I don’t live in a place nearly as exciting as the capitol of the world (in my view).

  • youonlylawonce

    I think for the most part I agree with this message. The only thing I would say is that I don’t like feeling pressured to go out all the time. Sometimes it is nice to stay inside and do less stressful and crazy things.

    When I go out I try to keep my eyes open and spot cool places or sights, but sometimes a movie at home is what I want. I think your point is still well taken though: if you’re unhappy being stuck at home all the time, you should get off your butt and do something!

  • peninith1

    P.S. Your description of that poster really has stuck with me. It is true that I live in a place that is — though not a major city — still filled with opportunities that I don’t pursue with any regularity. Your post has led me to resolve that I will arrange one experience a week that takes me away from my routine paths and shows me something interesting and fun in my home town! This week I know what that will be – a New York thing, in fact: I’ll attend the HD Broadcast of Renee Fleming, Pyotr Bescala and other Met Opera greats performing Rusalka. The broadcast is at the UNC Wilmington.

  • Awesome video, relaxed, great background. You know what you are doing!

  • I’ve often had the same thought about folks in my foothill town here at the base of Sequoia National Park, who regularly drive down the hill to go to big box stores, the outlet mall and a franchise restaurant for a mediocre meal. If that is their idea of a good way to spend time, why do they choose to live here?? Can’t figure this out!

  • Fionnuala Barrett

    I would love to see this poster if you, or a reader, are ever able to find it!

  • While I do think the poster’s point is true – and true no matter where you live – it seems to be one of those truths who’s opposite is also true. I’ve lived a lot of places in my life between my upbringing as a Navy brat and relocating several times as an adult. No matter what if available where you live – and I’ve lived in Hawaii even – life consists of the same basics: Work or school, grocery shopping, time with family or friends, housework. Only a little bit of time is actually spent in things I can’t do elsewhere and that’s okay because daily life can be as beautiful as it is mundane.