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Popular Posts On Humans Of New York

Many believe that the hope for humanity is gone, but it's a completely different story for Humans of New York. HONY has touched and inspired the lives of many, but some went above and beyond. Here are some of the most popular posts!

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“I didn’t go to college until I was fifty. I was working as a custodian and it just got tiresome. You could find me in the exact same place, at the exact same time, every single day. Clean the halls, clean the classrooms, clean the bathroom. I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I started going to college classes on the nights and weekends. It was difficult because I was always tired. There’d be times when I didn’t want to do an assignment or I didn’t want to go to school because it was raining. But my professors kept telling me: ‘You’re not looking for a job anymore. You’re looking for a career.’ I graduated five years ago with my BA. Then 2.5 years later I got my Masters. Now I’m a parent coordinator at the same school where I worked as a custodian. I get to counsel parents about how their children can get the most out of school. My confidence has doubled. I used to be unsure about speaking up, because I didn’t feel qualified to offer my opinion, but now I’ll stop parents on the street-- just to make sure that their child is on the right track. Some people in my position get stressed when they’re given a heavy workload, like: ‘Why do I have to do this?’ I always think: ‘I get to do this.’ I’ve been working in the Department of Education for thirty years, so I could retire next year with benefits. But I don’t want to. Because I love my job. Every day is different.”


“I want to be an engineer because you get to mess around with technology and help people. But first I need to get better at long division. One thing I’d like to do is make cheaper prosthetics for people in the army. One day I was bored so I googled them and saw that they cost $3500. Maybe I can make them the same way but with recycled materials.”


“We had five or six miscarriages before we had our daughter. She was a twin, but the other one miscarried. So we call her our miracle baby. I was forty when she was born. We were close in every way. We’d always go camping and hiking together. She’s always loved animals and creatures. When she was little, she’d always pick up snakes and frogs and insects. She begged us for a dog, and when we finally got her one, she called it her ‘sister.’ Now she’s in vet school in Ohio. She sends me pictures all the time. She delivered twin goats last week. I’m getting to the point where I’d like to retire, but I’m going to keep working until she’s in a place where she feels secure. Then I can finally relax. We paid for her undergrad already. She took out loans for vet school, and we’ve agreed she’s going to pay them back herself. But you know, just in case, I’m going to keep working until she feels secure. Then I can relax.”


“I graduated last May with an accounting degree and moved to the city. But four months had passed and I didn’t have a job yet. I’d probably sent out my resume to thirty different places. And I couldn’t afford to keep waiting for people to call me back. So I went to the strip with all the car dealerships, and started going door-to-door to see if they had any openings in accounting. I’ve always loved cars. I used to always read Consumer Reports with my dad. So I thought it would be a good fit. The lady at BMW was a bit standoffish. Then I went to Audi. They were great. Super welcoming. But they didn’t have any positions at the moment. Then I got to Jaguar/Land Rover-- which was my first choice, so I was working up to it— and they sat me down right there for an interview. I was there all afternoon, then they said: ‘We like what we see. Can you start tomorrow?’ I ran outside and called my parents. My dad was so proud of me. I was so proud of myself.”


“I’m a pianist. I’m playing my last concert Thursday night. Then I’m taking a sabbatical. Some of my friends think I’m crazy to step away now, but I don’t want to become a two-hundred-concert-per-year performing machine. It requires too much efficiency. And the efficiency burns you out. There is a lot of pressure when you perform at Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall. People pay for those tickets and you must respect your audience. If you’re piloting a Boeing 777 with four hundred people on board, you aren’t going to try new maneuvers. You aren’t going to have fun or experiment. You don’t have time to stay in your dreams or ideas. You need to step back from the public eye so you have space to grow. I won’t say that taking time off makes you a ‘better’ musician, because I don’t like the word ‘better.’ It sounds competitive. But it does make you less of an automaton and more human. It’s like exploring a new continent. Time off is a space where you allow things to happen other than the known.”


“The kids have moved out. It’s like we were in a routine for twenty-five years, and now it’s come to an end. Suddenly it’s just the two of us. There’s nothing else to focus on. It’s been a rediscovery process. So we just bought some hiking backpacks. We’re going travel the world, and we’re not planning ahead.”


“My wife first got breast cancer in 1999. Then it came back last year, and it’s in the bones now. I was a mess last year. Any time I wasn’t busy, I’d just start crying uncontrollably. Then I handed it over to God. I actually spoke to him, and said: ‘It’s all yours.’ And I’ve felt better since then. We’re hopeful. We know somebody whose bone cancer got so bad that her bones were breaking, and last month she tested completely clear. So we’re hopeful. It’s made me a better person in a way. I want her time to be as good as possible, so whenever there’s a confrontation, I don’t push it like I used to. I’ll just back away from it. Even if she’s wrong. I’ll back away and we’ll revisit it later when everyone is calm.”


“I didn’t start running until I was 51 years old. I was a wimp at the time. A nothing. My marriage had fallen apart. I was only seeing my children on the weekends. I wasn’t sleeping well. I was waking up at 5:30 AM every morning, probably after a long night of drinking, and so I decided that I might as well go for a walk. As I walked around the park, I’d always see these runners out there. So I decided to give that a try. After a few weeks I could run six miles. After a year, I tried to run a marathon. I hit a wall at the twenty-mile mark, but I threw up and took a leak, then I found the energy to finish. I’ve been pushing through walls ever since. I ran sixteen marathons in seventeen years, until my doctor told me that I had to stop because of my heart. After that, I started walking ten miles a day. Now I’m 91 and my kneecap keeps collapsing, and I have trouble with my balance. But I’m still more confident than I ever was when I was younger. I was a wimp.”


“I knew a girl in high school that always complained about having anxiety. I used to make fun of her a little bit. It looked like nothing to me. So I assumed it was nothing. And I dealt with it by trying to convince her that it was nothing. I called her recently to apologize. I’ve had really bad anxiety ever since my father died. And it’s definitely not nothing. It’s the indescribable fear of nothing.”


“My wife passed away last January. We’d been married for 62 years. You caught me at a time when I’ve been thinking a lot about love because I’m reading Shakespeare’s sonnets. The definition of love is elusive, which is why we write about it endlessly. Even Shakespeare couldn’t touch it. All the greatest love stories just seem to be about physical attraction. Romeo and Juliet didn’t know if they liked the same books or movies. It was just physical. After 62 years, it becomes something different entirely. My wife used to say: ‘We are one.’ And believe me, she was not the type of person to overstate something. Now that she’s gone, I realize how right she was. So much of our lives were linked. We were very physical and affectionate. But we also shared every ritual of our life. I miss her every time I leave a movie and can’t ask for her opinion. Or every time I go to a restaurant and can’t give her a taste of my chicken. I miss her most at night. We got in bed together at the same time every night.”


“I’ve got him on a different path then I went down. I ain’t have no father. So I had to look to the streets for a father figure. But hopefully he’ll never have to do that because I’m there all the time. I stay at home while the wifey is at work. I don’t even like to leave him with a babysitter. And I spoil him. When I was growing up, we didn’t get much for Christmas. We’d maybe get a fake plastic toy and a knitted sweater with a Christmas tree on it. I wanted the Atari like everyone else though, so I had to find a way to get it myself. Let’s just say I did ‘odd jobs.’ I’d bring home an Atari and just make up stories. I’d tell my mom that my friends gave it to me. He’ll never have to do that stuff though. He’s got the life. You should have seen his Christmas. He got scooters, train sets, puzzles, mad cars—even a stocking full of money. He’s already got a savings account.”


“It’s our first date. We met on Fire Island. I wasn’t even planning on going out that night. I’d already drank half a bottle of Johnny Black so I was just going to stay in and read my Chelsea Handler book, but my friends promised to bake me cookies if I went to the club with them. So I went to buy three bags of cookie dough, and when I finally got to the club all my friends were making out with somebody, so I was like ‘this sucks,’ and I just started dancing by myself and eating the cookie dough. Then I saw him by the DJ booth and we made eye contact so I went over and started sharing my cookie dough. We never actually spoke. Then a few months later I ran into him on the subway.”


“I’m different than other people. I’m never sad. I make my life happy through discipline. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, and I eat lots of fiber. Every day I take a walk in the park to think about my balance. I've been a chef, a fashion designer, a painter, and now I’m learning martial arts. I do Tai Chi in the park every morning. It helps give me energy for my painting. I have already learned forty-two moves. I’m ahead of everyone. I’m almost eighty years old, but all the women in my group think I’m in my fifties.”


“I’d always wanted children, but I just never met the guy. So I decided to go to a sperm bank. I started trying when I was 42, and I had her when I was 45. People always ask me if it’s hard being a single mother. I say: ‘Yes. But not as hard as it would be if I didn’t have her.’”


“I’ve been so lucky to have two wonderful men in my life. My first husband died when I was 55. For six months, I did nothing but work, come home, feed the cats, and go to sleep. It got to the point where I realized that I was either going to rejoin the living, or I was going to crawl in a hole and die. I mentioned to a friend that I was about ready to ‘get out there’ again, and she told me about a friend named Ted that she wanted me to meet. He was also a widower. I never thought I’d fall in love again. Certainly not that quickly. But Ted and I got along so well that two months later we were engaged. Ted has never felt threatened by my love for my first husband. On the ten-year anniversary of his death, Ted helped me organize a memorial. And that meant so much to me. But he doesn’t come to Mets' games with me. He’s a Yankees fan.”


“Two days ago at school we learned how to play a game called chest. You have horses and pawns and bishops and castles, and you’re supposed to steal other peoples’ places by squirting your pawn diagonal and eating their pieces. If anyone else wants to learn chest, I’ll teach them.”


“I hate pot. I hate it even more than hard drugs. I’ve taught high school for 25 years and I hate what marijuana does to my students. It goes beyond missing homework assignments. My students become less curious when they start smoking pot. I’ve seen it time and time again. People say pot makes you more creative, but from what I’ve seen, it narrows my students' minds until they only reference the world in relation to the drug. They’ll say things like: “I went to the beach and got so high,” or “I went to a concert and got so high.” They start choosing their friends based on the drug. I hate when people say that it’s just experimenting. Because from what I’ve seen, it’s when my students stop experimenting.”


“I got a message from God the other day about how to solve the world’s problems. We’ve got to send all the world leaders to play on one of Trump’s golf courses. Then while they’re gone, we replace them with grandmas. Because nobody ever got invaded by a grandma.”


“I’m single, unemployed, and late middle-aged. But I don’t really get sad. I just don’t think sadness is in my brain chemistry. When I go home to my apartment, I’ve got a faucet that releases both hot and cold water. You know how many billions of people don’t even have clean drinking water? And I’ve got two types of clean water: hot and cold.”


“After I was born, I was the subject of a 45-minute dissertation at Columbia University. Almost all of my organs were born externally, and had to be sewn into my body. I don’t have a belly button-- only a scar where my feeding tube used to be. My mother even tells me that she wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to stand, eat, or drink. But now I can rollerblade. I can do a handstand on my crutches. I’ve got a core group of friends, a girlfriend, a college degree, and I’m helping to manage a radio station at the age of 23.”


“Who has influenced you the most in your life?”

“My mother. She had me when she was 18 years old, and my father left when I was one year old, so I never really knew him. Like a lot of single moms, she had to struggle to work, and eventually she also struggled to go to school. And she’s really the person who instilled in me a sense of confidence and a sense that I could do anything. She eventually went on to get her PhD. It took her ten years, but she did it, and I watched her grind through it. And as I got older, like everyone else, I realized that my mother wasn’t all that different than me. She had her own doubts, and fears, and she wasn’t always sure of the right way of doing things. So to see her overcome tough times was very inspiring. Because that meant I could overcome tough times too.”


“When I was 19, my girlfriend and I were going to study in Paris. Our boyfriends came to the docks to see us off. Right as we were getting on the ship, my friend’s boyfriend said to her: ‘If you go, I won’t wait for you.’ So she turned around and decided to stay. My fiance saw this and told me: 'I won’t wait for you either.’

I said: 'Don’t!’”

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