The Treadmill that is New York City

HeadachesNow is the perfect time to write about the pace of life in New York. I’m knackered and I have a backlog of at least ten nights’ sleep to catch up on.

Tonight I left work at 8pm on a Friday night; people could still be seen slaving away, showing no sign of leaving. As I write, I was due to be out with friends (I cancelled) – the same friends I was out with last night into the early hours. The hackneyed phrase ‘work hard, play hard’ isn’t a cliche here, it’s practically the eleventh commandment.

And yes, I know NYC didn’t get the name ‘the city that never sleeps’ for nothing. The thing is, I always thought that London was fairly fast-paced and since I had coped with that, Manhattan I would be able to handle. For the first time, I’m beginning to wonder.

I met up with a work colleague on Monday who has a husband and children. She gets up at 5.30 every day to go to the gym before work, does a full day at high velocity and then still packs in work social commitments in the evenings. Not sure where she manages to fit the family in. My boss writes speeches at 10pm at night, after joining 7am teleconferences earlier that day. My room-mate, who often works crazy 12 hour days, would like to take a vacation, but is afraid to because her company is laying people off.

On nights out, I am routinely the first person to go home early, and by early I mean 2 or 3am. Months ago, I got laughed at in the supermarket for asking if they stopped selling alcohol at 11pm. And on the run-up to Christmas, I saw people doing a brisk trade selling Christmas trees on the sidewalk at 2am. Nothing. Ever. Stops. Here. Certainly not the people.

One of my friends summed it up really well in the pub on Sunday night (which I was too exhausted to go to after having stayed up until 5am the night before, but made myself). New York is full of ambitious people who want to be at the top of their game. They work crazy hours, party hard, yet still make time to keep fit and look good. For some, it’s exhilirating to be swept up in that pace of life. For me, as an introvert, it’s punishing. Stimulation just drains me. On which note, I’m going now for a well-deserved rest, before starting all over again tomorrow. Good Night! Zzzzzzzz.

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