NYC Week Ten: Welcome to the real world?

Read last week’s post here or view all other New York City posts.

From all I’ve heard about the real world and what life’s like there, I don’t think New York City is it.

At my college, we talk about the “Taylor Bubble” where we’re sheltered from anti-Christian influences, shepherded by faculty and mentors of mostly the same convictions. We (the students) talk about this bubble and how in the “real world” our reasonings for our beliefs won’t cut it, people won’t be interested in what we think, and we won’t have the same support for our thinking from those around us. In the “real world”, we’ll have to approach life, faith, and people completely differently, because the real world is not Taylor and Taylor is not the real world.

Reality Check

Everywhere people go, they seek out others like them: creatives pursuing dreams; others of the same moral/immoral convictions; people who like the same sports teams, coffees, exercise regimens, books, movies, music. (Soccer enthusiasts hold a particular pride about their sport, because they can go just about anywhere in the world and find others like them.) In doing this, we create community, communities that form towns that grow and flood into each other and form cities, economic and literary centers with great diversity because of the many communities contained within its boroughs.

But city-dwellers don’t necessarily have greater diversity of experience than those from places of far less “diversity” and more simplicity. Because the communities formed — not necessarily by geographic location, but by social groups, favorite eateries, and activities — bring alike people together far more than they do those who have nothing in common.

Whether by accident or design, every person designs his own bubble to live in, his own sphere of existence, where he blocks out things he doesn’t like or agree with and pads himself with things that make him feel good or challenged, but only in comfortable ways.

The real world? He stays far away from that. Because the real world would required him to admit he doesn’t know as much about it as he thinks he does. And the real world would force him to interact with and respect people with whom he has absolutely nothing in common and who give him nothing in return.

The fact is, no matter where we go, we’ll live in a bubble if we refuse to put ourselves in somewhat uncomfortable situations (ex: conversations with a co-worker who loves getting drunk as much as he loves the F-word, about why you don’t drink at all and why you listen to mainly Christian music). It’s not the “Taylor Bubble” or any other “them”-created bubble that keeps us from the “real world” — it’s ourselves. Ourselves and our refusal to recognize that the real world is where we are, right here, right now, if we’ll engage with it, learn new things, give time to those who are nothing like us.

With this, naturally, will come conflicts — cultural, moral, of opinion — but, hey, welcome to the real world. Those conflicts aren’t a detriment to understanding; they’re encouragements, challenges to grow. With each conflict will come an increasing understanding of life and others.

“You have to leave what you know,” one of my co-workers said yesterday, as he was telling us about moving to New York from California, road-tripping across the whole country and seeing the diversity of landscapes, traveling Europe. “It gives you a greater appreciation and depth of experience. It makes everything mean more.”

To stay in one cloister — whether geographical or ideological — is a failure to engage with the real world, and it boxes you in while blocking everything else out.

 

Bringing you up-to-date:

Sunday: Church.

Monday: Internship. Began drafting my article for City Limits. Interviewed the founder of the soccer organization I mentioned last week.

Tuesday: Work.

Wednesday: Internship. Continued research. Church. Brief sprint workout with my housemate.

Thursday: Interviewed a woman who works at my school for an article I’m preparing to pitch to a publication I’m not going to name (no counting chickens before they hatch). Work. Ran.

Friday: Work. Worked out with my housemate.

Saturday: Work. Went with my housemate to her friend’s birthday celebration.

Again, no photos. This is what happens when I’m pretty much settled in. =) But my writing is picking up and, as you may notice, I’ve been pursuing pieces on my own to freelance which is a good sign.

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