December 10th 2013
Story originally written and experienced: September 8th 2011
Pop the champagne.
Shut down the streets.
Call in the caterers.
I remember standing in the middle of 5th ave.
Watching the bright lights
Off each building and sl ice through the thick fog wrapped around each lamp post.
And listened as curiosity bUsTlEd through the New York City streets—with people who craved a dose of the high life. The good life. Just to get a taste of it. Just a little bit. Just for a night. But only because
It was Fashion’s Night Out.
The event of the season that was hitting every newstand
And every window
Captivating anyone enamored by the idea of momentary prestige.
“What’s this Fashion’s Night Out thing anyway? Why are we here?” Brandon asked me as we sKIPPed across the people-soaked street of 5th ave.
“It’s one night every year that Vogue Magazine holds. Every fashion store in the city
opens their doors
Until 11 PM or midnight. They have free food. Free champagne. They hire celebrities to make appearances. Anyone can come.”
“So we came?”
We were both new to the city—him and I. There on different accords. Pursuing different dreams. Fresh to the New York City lights—gazing through an awe-inspired lens of where we were. What we were doing. And why we were there. And I remember asking him:
“Do you ever wonder why we’re here, Brandon? I mean…I don’t have a job. I work as an unpaid intern for Calvin Klein. I don’t have much money and all I keep telling myself every day is
I hope this is all worth it.”
“Let’s drink. I heard they’ve got free booze over at Burberry.”
So we did. We played the part that night. Of swooned passerbys temporarily masking our middle-class lives with the available glamour.
We drank their drinks.
Mingled with polar bears
Hung with celebs
And kept our cool.
And I loved it. I loved every minute of it.
And I remember walking home that night as the streets f i l t e r e d out.
And the doors
>>> shut <<<<
And the glamour was gone.
And asking Brandon as we crossed from
56th street to 57th
If he heard what I had said earlier? That sometimes I worried the chance I took to move here was too big. That tonight we were surrounded by an outpour of successful people and a taste of their successful lives. But…maybe I’m only saying this out of lack of money and out of fear.
“No. I know what you mean. I pay all my own bills. I owe a lot in student loans. I mean…I’m sleeping on a hardwood floor for Christ’s sake.”
“Hardwood floor? Why?”
“Apartment flooded the other day. Ruined my air mattress. So I’m on the floor.”
“What? How long has it been like that?”
“3 weeks. But I’m not willing to spend the money to get a new one. Not yet. Still trying to buy back all the stuff I lost in the robbery.”
“Shit. I forgot you were robbed 3 times.”
“I know. Shitty luck.”
“Does it ever make you mad?”
“Does what make me mad?”
“I don’t know. Nights like tonight where you see these celebrities get paid thousands of dollars just to walk in a room. Look at nice clothes that cost as much as our rent. See people who inherit success and don’t always work for it. At least not like you. Does it bother you that your road to success was completely dependent on your own earnings and ambition…and does it ever frustrate you that it isn’t the same for all?”
The fLiCkErInG street lights were glimmering off the puddles welled in the middle of the street. I sat there silently for a minute only because I wasn’t sure what to make of the conversation I just had. How it was strange that the most unusual part about all of his responses were that they were all complaint-free. He was just simply…contributing to conversation and speaking in hard facts.
“Why?” I asked him after a long while.
“Why doesn’t it bother you?”
“Why would it? Working isn’t necessarily fun and it isn’t ideal. But it makes everything feel a little more earned.
Separates the people who kind of want it from the people that actually do.
And in the end I guess I could say that I did it all for a reason. And how could I be mad about that?”
Later that night when we separated ways. I got to thinking. And I got to thinking a lot. About hard work and success and how they all come in different sHaPeS and different sizes.
But the ingredients for both are exactly the same.
1. Trust yourself
2. Trust the outcome
3. Be proud of both
How saving up for that purse, guitar, vacation or car feels that much better when you buy it. And why making a good meal that simmers for 3 hours tastes so damn good in the end.
It’s the same reason Walt Disney kept working after he got fired from his first job—because his boss told him he had “No imagination and lacked good ideas”.
And Madonna quit her college career and moved to NYC to work in a Dunkin Donuts while she pursued music.
You know, just in case things worked out.
And then I thought about relationships and I thought about friendships too. Why the Ups and downs are really hard and not always easy but feel really worth it if the people are just.damn.right.
Because the truth about hard work is:
Something worthwhile will never feel like a chore if it’s really what you want.
Whether it’s as gravitational as fame or as simple as being your damn best.
You’ll never find a successful person that will tell you it wasn’t worth it in the end.
And dream pursuers will say the same as well.
And then I got to thinking about myself. About the things I said earlier and what I meant when I said them. Wondering if it was a waste of time to take such an elongated gamble on something that didn’t promise a guarantee. And then realizing that in all reality:
It would be a waste to do the opposite.