It is true, even if the notion remains solely in their subconscious, that native New Yorkers truly understand what Einstein taught us: Time is relative. Hear me out fellow and soon-to-be ‘Novo nomads’, that, while I am aware that all minutes are created equal, some minutes are shorter than others; and the shortest of all minutes is the “New York minute”. New Yorkers take this familiar phrase for granted, but also with a touch of humor. What I mean, of course, is that the New York minute is the briefest possible unit of time — shorter than the time between when the traffic light (in Manhattan) turns green to when the car/taxi behind you honks the horn. However, what would happen if we challenged the speed of the New York minute and slowed its rate; what would we find? Could we accomplish more tasks at work? Take that wellness class that we’ve been empty-promising ourselves that we would attend? Make grander gestures to our lovers? Or simply, notice great messages of inspiration that our fast paced lifestyle previously forced us to neglect. Like I said, New Yorkers care a lot about making things happen in a New York minute; one New-York based artist cares about spreading words of motivation into the streets and neighborhoods of the city. What I am talking about is the: Be Mighty Project.
This morning, when I left my Bowery Street StayNovo apartment, a white sheet of paper taped to a light-post on the corner of my block invited my awareness to take a closer look. What I found were the words that inspired this post: “Your life is your story. Write well. Edit often, by Susan Statham”. In that moment I felt overwhelmed that, as a writer, the pull-off tab that I happened to choose (without peeking at the inscription first), were words that are relevant to my life. I asked myself, ‘what are the chances that of the slits of paper left to pull, I happened to select the one that is especially related to my personal passion?”
Like most street art in NYC, the Be Mighty project is wrapped in mystery. As my heart thumped in awe of finding this creative energy on a tab of paper the size of my middle-finger, I nevertheless was left with the thought, ‘who has taken the time to hang these messages of inspiration around the city?’ I have since learned that the artist, Terrence Kellerman, self-proclaimed “inspiration junkie,” prepares these flyers with 10 motivational quotes that can be torn off by passerby weekly.
The challenges and hardships of being a nomad in this city; as I am sure the dreamers, the innovators, the visionaries, the revolutionaries; the shy and the humble persons; all of us can agree; that there are instances when a little nudge and encouragement to continue striving for our dreams, challenging ourselves, bettering ourselves, and inspiring others to do so as well is not unwarranted. This was mine. And it was hung right before me but in such a way that any passerby (especially in the city that is ruled by the breakneck pace of the New York minute) would (typically) ignore or overlook.
Since being touched by the gentle shove of this project, I have a newfound piece of advice for nomads like myself. Yes, the city does run on a 24/7 timetable, but that is because New York does not settle for mediocrity. It is true that life in the city moves pretty fast, and in taking a word of advice from the movie Ferris Bueller, “if you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it”. Keep your head up when you walk; change your perspective from your cell phone screen; connect with yourself and connect with nomads like myself; and most of all, Be Mighty.