The Fifth Floor

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s the power of using your voice.” — MICHELLE OBAMA

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.
The Fifth Floor featured image

In my early twenties, I lived on the fifth floor of a 450 square foot walkup in New York above a bagel shop with my effable roommate Stephanie Hebert from Louisiana.

No bellman.

Just two doors leading you up to five flights of narrow stairs. A thin inset of colorful tiles buffeted up against the black banister.

In the City, I’d be surrounded by the sounds of striving. Yellow cars honking, manholes steaming, jackhammers rattling.

Stephanie slept on a four-post wooden bed with intricate carvings. I slept on a beige futon that opened up with one pull.

Our only two windows open to a brick wall. The radiator hissed slyly through its narrow eyes.

Before I drifted off to sleep, I‘d write in a blue journal with red stitching. There, I’d reach for my future.

There, I’d dream with my eyes and ears wide open and compose a life dynamic and in full technicolor.

I found that the same blue journal which not only described the full and dynamic life I have today — also gave me a glimpse into a life full of simple pleasures.

It taught me two things.

1) What you write down you reach. You need to coax and breathe your dreams to life by writing with emphatic detail. Full of color. Full of sound.

2) Life is here and now

Most of my joys didn’t cost much money.

Homemade crawfish etouffee. Sunday brunches on the west side. Reading feng shui books cross-legged at a corner of Barnes & Noble. A blanket is full of friends. Shakespeare in Central Park. Two-mile runs along the reservoir. Long conversations with Stephanie that lingered through the night.

The best truth? I was just as happy back then as I am today.

I had no title, no car, no business, not even a gym membership yet I still managed to enjoy my life well.

True power and happiness arrive in the present moment.

There’s nothing wrong with striving, reaching or trying.

I believe in winning.

I also believe in stopping.

For just a moment, take a glimpse and realize that maybe wherever you are is all right.

It’s more than all right.

It’s happy.

It’s all good.


Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


The Fifth Floor

by Kalika Yap
Image via AngieYeoh/ Shutterstock

Unexpected Lessons I Learned When Visiting a New Country With the Elderly

by Natalia Lusinski
Unplug & Recharge//

How Training my Brain and Body to Rise Naturally Changed my Life: Transforming the way you start your day can have a monumental impact on your mental, emotional and physical health

by Tessa Koller
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.