Last week a blogging friend asked if I was ever scared living in NYC, what with the recent incidents, and obviously, the past incidents.  They asked if I changed routines or patterns, avoided doing things.

Quite simply, the answer is No.  I did not change habits.  I do not avoid things.  I continue with my life the same way I always have.  Well mostly.  I am now more aware of my surroundings.   I pay attention to what is around me.  But honestly, I live in an urban environment, so I’ve always paid attention.  And I wasn’t even 30 when the first attempt was made to disrupt the lives of me, and those around me, so being aware is just ingrained.

So I just live my life, every day, the way I want and need it to be.

Am I scared?

Every day.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about the endless stream of things that could happen that would shatter my existence.  But this list is long, and includes incidents of many kinds.  I can not stop bad things from happening.  Once you realize that you are powerless, you can begin to live your life with some sort normalcy.  Because we are basically powerless, and there is no such thing as normal.

Now you see why I am a bit of a super organized, control freak.  I have a need to keep things in order, because I know so much is out of my control.  I have to have some sort of order in a world of chaos.

But I go to sporting events and concerts, things with very large audiences.  And I get to these places an hour early because I know that there will be a security check.  I bring a small bag, because many venues have size restrictions.  When I went to the ballet last month, I needed to take my coat off before I went through the metal detector, because coats needed to be scanned separately. Yes, airport style detectors are a norm of my life- I don’t think my daughter has ever entered a large public space that did not include her having to walk through one- she is always amazed when we are traveling and she does not need to go through security to enter someplace.

We have placards on walls stating “If you see something, say something.”  This is the New York motto.  We aren’t the city that never sleeps- we are the city that reports suspicious packages, and notice if things look awry.  This was one of the first things I taught my daughter- if something doesn’t look right, tell an authority.  Trust your instincts.  My daughter learned this at 3 years old. This is the norm.  This is how we live our lives.

I guess it all boils down to an ugly truth.  The question is not what if something happens.  The question is when will something happen.  Because something will happen.  There will always be an incident, though they come in various forms.

Truth be told, I have become a bit desensitized to events around me.  I check on husband and daughter- I use where’s my phone to make sure I know where they are.  I check on my friends.  But it’s back to real life really quickly.  We know the rules of the drill and we just perform them and get on with it.  These routines, these drills- they are a part of our lives.  They are the norm.  Incident check list is just another to-do list.

Today, my husband and daughter will ride the subway to work and to school just like they always do.  He will ride an elevator to a very high floor in a lower Manhattan office building. I will enter very large and very crowded places.  I will walk my dog on urban streets.   We were at a concert last night, we will be at a museum this weekend, we will visit parts of the city awash with decorations.  We will continue on.

We will continue on, because that is what life is.  Life is facing what’s our there, head on.  Life is meeting the challenges that face us day to day.  And life is worth living to the fullest.

Peace to you all!

41 thoughts on “The Answer is: No

  1. I moved from NY to Montreal in 1963 to go to McGill and NY neighbors wondered if my parents should let me go after reading about some mailbox bombs planted by Quebec separatists at that time. In Montreal one would not have known there was any threat at all. We lived in London in the late 60s when the IRA was planting nail bombs from time to time. Again, there was no palpable public fear. It was a wonderful place to be. We’ve never lived in a world of guaranteed personal safety, ever. But the fear and/or stress that’s prevalent now among so many can’t be helpful either for those feeling the fear and/or stress or for engendering mutual understanding and welcoming public spaces. Keep enjoying your wonderful world city. I love its diversity, its energy, and its welcoming nature.

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      1. We went to mammoth caves about 8 tears ago! We loved Kentucky! It’s just beautiful!! And those caves are amazing. But must give Tennessee it’s due. That part of the country is spectacular! But it’s so weird how people keep mentioning Kentucky to me!! Like I met two people from Kentucky this week, but at separate times!

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  2. I NEED to live in New York. My family is from a small town in Kentucky. When I moved to Louisville, the largest metropolitan area in the state, they threw a conniption fit because they were certain that I was going to get killed because, city. Every time I go to New York I think, this will be my next move.

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    1. New York is awesome, and if you want to you should try it!! On a totally weird note, this is literally the fifth time someone has mentioned Kentucky to me in the past week. If I believed in signs I would definitely think this is one!! Oh….you won’t get killed!! You’ll just have a great time!!

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  3. Good for you! I’m a firm believer in just going on without letting fear prevent you from doing everything you want to do. I’m married to a guy who refuses to travel to see our niece in Guatemala because he’s fearful of what might happen. He refuses to visit Chicago and New Yorksnd Boston for the same reasons. I’m of the mind that if we let fear win, we aren’t really living.

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      1. My niece and her husband have a tavern and hostel on the side of a mountain outside of Antigua. Google “hobbitenango”. Also, she works for a fair trade company that helps Guatemalan artisans. They make the most gorgeous boots and shoes. Teysha.is

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  4. You have touched upon such an intense topic in such a matter-of- fact way. The most important sentence here is ” Once you realize that you are powerless, you can begin to live your life with some sort normalcy. ” Being vigilant is the only thing that one can do. Beyond that, life must go on… and will go on.

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  5. Good for you! I totally agree. I live on the outskirts a city of 50000. I still am aware of my surroundings. I work 2nd shift and come home to a empty house. Sometimes I come home at different times. Sometimes I go in the front door. Sometimes in the back. You have to trust your im instincts. You can’t stop living

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  6. Just being aware of your surroundings and the people around makes you a better more sensitive human. You notice more both good and bad. I love living in a small town, but I still love going into Boston or Providence to an event or a family occasion. Bad things can happen anywhere we can’t stop living and enjoying life no matter where we are.

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  7. I live in Manchester In the UK that experienced the horrific terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena back in May, I too lived with the threat of the IRA on the mainland and twice they planted a bomb in our City and one being the largest mainland bomb they planted before the peace talks but there is something that happens when you face this kind of terror and like New York you have to carry on and try not to live in fear. I was in the City yesterday and thoughts did run through my head about how we could be targeted by terrorism, it’s sadly the world we live in but if our thoughts were controlled by terror, we wouldn’t do anything and I refuse to live in fear either.

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  8. Just looking at pics of New York scares me. I couldn’t cope. I struggle with London. I have no idea how my son lives there but he loves it! Give me my little Victorian town. 😉 X

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      1. Being autistic with sensory issues, places like London are a nightmare. The volume of people. The noise etc. I struggle with it but I know that other people crave those things. I probably should live in a lighthouse lol

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I love your “this is my city, this is my State, this is my life” full embrace. You wear New York well. This is a great post. This rings so true; “Life is meeting the challenges that face us day to day. And life is worth living to the fullest.” A great reminder to us all as we enter into a new year!

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