Eating the Big Apple

Featured Guest Blogger: Caleb Muhlenkamp

Hey all,

I hope that 2017 is off to the start that everyone had been hoping for!

After graduating from the University of Dayton in December 2014, I moved to a small town called Tuxedo, NY (which is a few miles outside of the big city).  My journey really started back in 2009, when 3 days after graduating high school my brother left for Spain.  He was only there for 3 months, up until he began college, but I was able to see the benefits of getting outside your comfort zone. He left town, like many of us, struggling to understand other people and how we relate to them. Why do we say mean things to the people who care the most for us? Why do groups take opinions and actions that an individual never would? Why are we here? What do people who come from a different background believe in and value? Why do we constantly look to other people for reassurance?

I was able to see how, upon my brother’s return to the states, he had a different fire in his eye. Other people no longer had an influence over what he did, or how he felt. While it was  amazing to watch him continue to grow and use what he had learned, I noticed that he was now fully independent and had a new sense of swagger. Since then, he has been killing it and traveling all over because of the experiences he had. I wanted the same for myself.

My reasons for wanting to move away were similar to most. I wanted to pursue the most lucrative career opportunity that was available to me, to learn more about relationships with people (and dogs, haha), and to isolate myself from everything I knew as normal, so I could get a better understanding of what I really believe in and who I am. Because of the current obsession with social media, I often worry that people try to align themselves with other people’s perception of them rather than staying true to themselves. Because I knew no one in New York, I realized that my actions would be for myself, not for someone else.

Overall, the experience was invaluable. Having just moved back to Ohio yesterday, I wanted to share with you some of my reflections on what I have learned:

What I Learned:

  • Very little of what is going on around you is about YOU
    • This one comes from sitting in city traffic for endless hours every day. Back in Ohio, if you hear a car honk, you more or less assume that they are honking at you. People honk because they are mad at other drivers; sure, but in the city that still meant that there was only like a 1 in 50 chance the driver they are honking at is you. Turns out that in reality, people honk for all sorts of reasons. People honk because their dog barks, people honk to get their dog to bark, people honk at their friends, people honk when they are happy and also when they are mad and most likely it has NOTHING to do with you. My point here is that this is true for the actions of others in general. That ‘subtweet’ to you from your ex is probably meant for her new man. SO MOVE ON. Didn’t get invited out by a friend who reached out to others, but not you? Perhaps you don’t know about his aunt getting admitted into the hospital, or the addiction he’s been hiding from everyone. Inviting you simply slipped their mind, it wasn’t a jab at you. SO HIT THEM UP. Phones work both way, if you don’t reach out more than once, don’t get butt hurt about not being contacted. Everyone is living their own, complicated lives (including you!).
  • Actions really do speak louder than words, and language is not a barrier for a good relationship
    • While in NY, I worked in sales through all of Long Island, NYC, Westchester County (The Jinx – Robert Durst), and part of Connecticut. The majority of my business came from Brooklyn and the Bronx, specifically Hunts Point (crazy mafia history, look it up). In these areas some of the accounts that I worked with would have only 1 or no one at all who could speak any English. They would literally only order in quantities of 1, 2, 10, or 20, because those were the only numbers they knew. At first I was a little intimidated by this, I would try to go to other prospects first and things of that nature but I was amazed how over time these became some of my best accounts. No speaking, no bullshit, just taking care of each other with good, consistent business. Shortly, I would show up and ‘dap up’ the boys when I got there. It was just as welcome as anywhere else where I was expected to make pleasantries and small talk. Treat people well, and deliver when something is expected of you.
  • People often talk just to talk… & That’s OK! 
    • Kind of tying the first two things that I learned together, don’t get your feelings hurt so easily by WHAT someone says. If you’ve ever been in a large group in which they all know each other, but you are the loner, you probably felt a little taken aback by how much is going on that you don’t relate to. If you just sit back and listen, they are always having conversation and they generally don’t accomplish anything. Conversation is usually just a type of entertainment, used to avoid feeling anxious. People will say almost anything to avoid feeling anxious. We have all been in a conversation, then turned around & thought to ourselves, “What the hell did I just say?… Why?”. It is important that this is true for everyone, don’t get beat up over words. Now, if words are said with with malice it’s a totally different story, since that relates to the emotions harbored within the person.
  • I love you all
    • More than anything else I learned to love people for being an individual. I missed my family, I missed my friends, I missed exes, I missed people I despise, I missed people I hadn’t thought about since middle school… heck I even missed LeBron. We are all human, but there is beauty in what makes each individual person different. No matter what that is.

Thank you very much to anyone who read, and anyone who has been a part of my life.

Time and people are invaluable,

Caleb Muhlenkamp

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