Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Different Places, Different Lives

I was in NYC this weekend. Meeting friends. Chilling out. It was my third visit to the city and the first during summer. The weather (particularly on Saturday) was absolutely gorgeous. 

The point of this post however, isn't describing what I did. Which anyway, was pretty commonplace. What struck me was how different the lives of my friends was from my own. How it's tied so closely to the city and the experiences they've had. 

The married friend who recently moved from Boston. The MBA student who is looking forward to spending his last year in the city and the country. The Banker who misses Charlottesville but is totally looking forward to his new life. And the friend who spent two years in the city, fell in love with it, and comes over almost every weekend to catch up with her scores of friends.

I was talking to S who is doing his MBA. And his experience has been so different than mine. True, he recruited for banking and I ran away from anything that was related to Finance. But more so was the influence of the city he was living in. For him going out meant exploring cuisines and new clubs. For me, it meant half a dozen bars. For him, campus was a building. I, took the courtyard with benches for granted. I had missed my first class at Darden to get to NYC. He was thinking of not missing as many classes in second year as he did in the first. I had applied to his school too. Primarily because of the lure of NYC and my goal of going into Digital Media. It's interesting to think how different my life would have been if I had got the admit. It's not a question of good or bad. To be frank, I hadn't given much thought to these issues while applying.

When someone asks me if I like a city, I give them my standard answer. Living in a city is different from a short visit. And liking a city depends a lot on the people you know there. Again, I'm not in any way trying to 'compare' Charlottesville to NYC. Doing so would be foolish. Its just fascinating how the experience of being a student in C'ville can be so different than being a student in NYC and working in NYC. And how those experiences can in turn change who you are. To some extent, at least.

I met N on Saturday. We talked a lot. Useless, nonsensical things. And sensible, serious stuff. As usual, she did most of the talking because she always has these stories to tell. Some of them, I couldn't relate to. Others, got me thinking. We have different ways of looking at life and going about it. She likes to plan and break down the bigger things into smaller, tangible lists. I like to think I am more prone to taking things as they come. Both of us have changed though. From extremes, to a more measured, balanced middle. As one of the few people who have read my blog since I started writing, she remarked how my style and content has changed. I remember telling her that it's in a way a reflection of my life. I'm not clueless about where my life is going but a lot of it just happens.

You don't miss something unless you know what it is. This trip did that for me. Showed me a glimpse. And for the first time in a year, on the first two days of the week, I had trouble not letting my mind wander away from my here and now.