[NYC recap + 100-Day Project updates]
A couple of weeks ago, I went to New York for the first time. People kept telling me I'd love it so much I'd never want to leave -- trust me, I've heard the hype. It's the concrete jungle where dreams are made of. If you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere. It's been waiting for you. Etc., etc.
There's nothing like seeing a skyline that looks like 100 cities pushed together into one. It was exciting to walk the same streets that famous people have walked. I loved hearing a different language being spoken every 10 steps I took. I had never felt so small in my life, and oddly enough, I really loved that, too. The city's energy was undeniably tangible.
But I didn't fall in love. I was overwhelmed by the sensory overload, by the ridiculous cost of living, by the sense of urgency that filled the streets like a layer of fog. For a city that radiates so much energy, it completely drained me of mine.
It made me miss places like Nashville, where people and time move a hundred times slower than they do in New York. In Nashville I could walk into a store and end up having a 30-minute conversation with the people who work there. In New York I had to try not to get trampled by the masses. New York is a constant state of going -- pushing your way through a sea of strangers.
Even though I didn't fall in love with the city, I did love being there. It was fun. It just wasn't the place for me.
Being immersed in that sea full of strangers made me think more about my 100-Day Project, which I officially started last week. As a refresher, my goal is to write one love letter to a stranger every day for 100 days! After that, I'm going to start leaving them around public places for people to find.
This is day 7 of 100, and I've already missed a couple days. I was disappointed with myself because I had to write three letters in one day. It has only been one week into this 100-day endeavor and I feel like I've partially failed already. But I have to remind myself that it's about the process. It's about learning and growing and figuring it all out as you go. It's about showing up, even if you're a day or two late sometimes.
I don't know why I feel so compelled to invest in 100 total strangers, but I need to make them a priority. I need to carve out time in my day for them. I need to think about them at least once every day for the next 93 days. That makes this project hard, because they don't need me to do this for them, and they certainly don't owe me anything in return. But I think sometimes we forget that strangers are people who need to be loved, too.
I also think that showing up is the best thing we can do for people -- particularly when it's not always convenient to do so. And especially when they're people who might not return the favor. Showing up for people requires more discipline and humility than any of us could ever dream of having. But at the very least, these 100 strangers deserve my attempts at being half as disciplined and humble as that, simply because this world needs more love.
It's going to be weird and uncomfortable and awkward to write to people I don't know. Chances are, I'm never going to meet them. But I need to show up for them, because they're people with stories, passions, fears and the desire to feel loved -- just like you and me. And for those reasons alone, I refuse to give up on them.