The other blog you should be reading

A few months ago I stumbled upon Penelope Trunk's blog. I then spent the better part of a day reading her posts. I find them really addictive because they're smart, succinct, personal bits of advice on how to think about career and other nagging questions - like whether one should live in New York!

She has several posts that are spot-on fodder for this site.

1. Do you belong in NYC? Take the test: In my case, the answer to all 3 questions was "No," which helped me to solidify my decision to leave.

2. I'm moving out of New York City: What I found more interesting than the specific reasons she gives here, is that SHE is moving out of New York. It helped me swallow the idea that ambitious/successful people can - and do - live other places. Even in Wisconsin.

3. How to decide where to live: The things that stuck with me from this post are both #3s (there is a numbering error) - namely that you'll be unhappy if you live somewhere where people have more money than you (hi Park Slope), and that having more choices (in restaurants, schools, etc) is not necessarily better.

I also just re-found a post called If you're stuck, take an aventure, which is timely for me personally. When I tell people our plan to travel around the country for a year trying out new places to live, most people say they are excited for us, even envious. But with some people (including myself, during cold-feet moments), there is a tinge of "wow, that's pretty irresponsible... shouldn't you have done that in your 20s or something?" To that reaction, I quote Penelope: "Some might say that an adventure is an expensive, childish way to avoid reality. This is partly true. But who cares?"

Views: 33

Comment by Bill Raddatz on August 16, 2009 at 1:14am
Then there's the saying, "If you are in a hole and don't want to go any deeper, stop digging". Our sensei and I were discussing this one day and we decided that each person has one basic choice to make constantly - do what someone else wants you to do or do what you want to do. It is better to do what you want to do. Then, if that doesn't work out, do something else you want to do. And, it puts responsibility for your decisions directly on you. This would include doing what someone else wants you to do IF what you want to do is to do what they want you to do. That is the price of loving someone or being employed. But, ultimately only you should decide what you want to do - now. As Oogway said, "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called 'the present' ". Choon Bee! I'm proud that you view life as an adventure to be experienced NOW. As the great author and teacher Joseph Campbell said, don't be afraid - follow your bliss.
Comment by Mari Brown on August 17, 2009 at 5:36pm
i LOVE this quiz! genius. i answered "kind of" to each of the questions, which is clearly why i still have conflicted feelings about NYC...
Comment by Beth Raddatz on August 18, 2009 at 6:34pm
i answered yes to two of the quiz questions and "an interesting life IS a happy life to me". uh oh. but then again, i already knew i belong there when i set foot on the subway for the first time :) but a bigger city of any kind will suffice for me. now it's Pittsburgh or Bust (in two years)!
Comment by Elizabeth Witmer on August 20, 2009 at 3:57pm
thanks so much for suggesting penelope's trunk as another great blog! i just got lost for an hour while jumping from post to post before i noticed that i was supposed to be studying! she has great thoughts on NYC and life in general! i highly recommend getting lost on her site.
Comment by Anna on January 15, 2010 at 7:12pm
Penelope posted another NYC-related blog post yesterday - Do you overemphasize happiness? It's an interesting follow up to the "Do you belong in NYC?" post I linked to above.

A quote: "I wish I could tell you I am a person who picks interesting over complacency, but problem for me is that life in NYC is so interesting to me, but it's just plain too hard for me. When I lived in NYC with two kids the year I had $200,000 coming in, I felt like I was living at the edge of poverty. Whenever I write this, people who have lived in NYC with kids are not surprised at all, and people who have not lived in NYC think I’m crazy."
Comment by Anna on April 12, 2010 at 3:48pm
Another wonderful and relevant Penelope post! This one's called Productivity is about finding space.

I'll highlight a couple interesting quotes:
- Why maybe it's better to process your New York experience once you've left? "He said, 'That happens every semester. When you love something, you want to write about it. But you never know enough about it to write it in an interesting way until you know it closely enough to hate it as well.' "

- I think this relates to well to post-NYC life, shedding the "moving fast" bullshit and prioritizing your life: "...productivity is really about slowing down to focus on doing something real, instead of moving really fast but doing a lot of nothing ... But the tradeoff, when you slow down to get focus, is that slow is scary because you have to face what you’re really doing."
Comment by T on April 13, 2010 at 2:18pm
Anna, I love that Penelope post. It is amazing how well she articulated something I've been thinking about recently. Living in NYC I realize that YEARS have passed, and yet I wonder what I've been doing all that time...feeling so busy, and yet feeling like I've accomplished and sorted out so little. Similar to the mental space you'd said you experienced when you were living in Austin. There really seems to be no other way to get to that focused place but to slow down.
Comment by Aradhana Panicker on May 4, 2010 at 2:03pm
I think this unrelenting pursuit of happiness is an American cultural mousetrap. Everything needs to be "super size" for us to feel comfortable and substantial. Why not just focus on being content? To me that translates to "I've gained perspective, made peace with my current situation, and found some purpose in what I've chosen to do at this stage of my life." If we


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