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Howard Jordan Jr.

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More Reasons to Leave New York: 7-Eleven, Pain and Freak Flags

Posted: 06/06/2012 5:41 pm

The unofficial start of summer means it's time to do a little housecleaning, change your closet over, and prepare for Con Edison to use and abuse you on a monthly basis for daring to turn your air conditioner on.

So as you look forward to three-day weekends and extended vacations, here are a few more reasons to consider making the break from New York City a permanent one.

Here goes.

111. 7-Eleven is planning a takeover.

Your bodega may only offer dust-covered canned goods, Little Debbie and Hostess treats that have gone syrupy soft or rock hard stale, and utz crab flavored potato chips. But it's yours.

It's a part of your New York story. It's your corner store. The owner and employees are your friends. It's an occasional source of entertainment, if not, food and supplies. Where else can you peek through a slightly cracked backroom door and see some type of table game taking place?

It has character and it's full of characters. But, if 7-Eleven has anything to say about it, your friendly and familiar bodega is on its way out. Mayor Bloomberg's efforts to ban the Big Gulp won't deter them one bit.

7-Eleven may offer a wider selection, better hours, brighter stores and drastically decrease the possibility of a cat walking through exposed deli meats, but it also means a little piece of you and the city is dying.

The proliferation of 7-Eleven locations within New York City limits is among the most undeniable indicators that the city is shifting from its original and authentic roots toward suburban and cookie cutter.

But Slurpees are delicious. And everyone prefers aspirin and batteries with recognizable brand names.

112. Everybody Hurts. (Sometimes.)

New York City often tests you in ways you don't care to be tested. So, when your faith and discipline are pushed to the brink, you call on your friends to help you through the haze.

But, the only people capable of truly understanding your predicament are fellow New Yorkers, who are likely to be in a similar place. Odds are they need you to play the role of sounding board, therapist and cheerleader for them, in return.

So, while you're experiencing moments of weakness, doubting yourself and your purpose, New York City actually requires you to compose yourself long enough to offer patience, insight and a helping hand to a friend in need. If not solely because it's the right thing to do, then because you want to be the type of friend to your friends you would like them to be to you. And more times than not, they are.

Reciprocity is a beautiful thing. But the toughest part is playing yours. In those moments when all you want is to be heard, sometimes you have to listen, first. And as an intensely focused, always on the grind New Yorker, that's not what you've been trained to do.

But if you want support when you need it most, in a city where everyone is struggling in some way the vast majority of the time, you have to be willing to give in order to get. So, are you?

113. Your Freak Flag isn't flying.

If there is one place that encourages and appreciates creative curiosities and complexities of all kinds, it is certainly New York City. You are considerably more likely to be judged negatively for not embracing and showcasing your inner-freak than for doing so.

In fact, New York needs the varying interests and unique peculiarities that exist within each of us. Bringing your freaky tendencies to the surface helps renew and rejuvenate the city. So if you're keeping your inner-freak under wraps, you're being selfish. And not in the good way.

You may think you're holding onto something, protecting yourself from critical and prying eyes. But, ultimately, you're only hurting yourself by hiding things that stand to make you more worthy of the attention you crave. Quietly pretending your inner-freak doesn't exist, or isn't quite as freaky as it really is, stunts your growth and threatens to prevent it all together.

So, unfurl your freak flag and fly it as high as you possibly can. You owe it to yourself and your dreams. This is New York City, baby. The reason you're here is to be who you are and shine because of it.

Don't waste time pretending to be normal in a place where normalcy isn't even the norm. Do you, or someone else. Depending on what you're into, of course.

 
 
 

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