(1) My Life: First Half NYC, Latter Half Paris

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Jan 1, 2017 02:26
NYC and Paris, respectively, represent two different facets of my life. NYC is the daytime, Paris is the night. The former represents the first half of my life, the latter shows the other half.

Before the age 35, I firmly believed that New York was the most fascinating city in the world. I attended a graduate school in California, and couldn’t wait to work in NYC fresh out of school. I’d later worked in NYC for five years and extremely enjoyed my life. Having been the world’s financial center since the 20th century, the city provided colorful and convenient lifestyles. The subway and cabs allowed you to travel through time and to experience cultures of hundreds of years. Both the latest and oldest; the best and the worst, all things could be seen in this metropolis. All of these were the reasons I loved NYC, like many other New Yorkers.

Therefore, I grasped every second of every minute to experience the life of this city. By day, I worked 10 hours in a financial institution; by night, after work, I sat through cinematography classes for four hours straight at NYU. When I was twenty-something, it seemed to me that keeping busy was the only meaningful way of life. Being alive meant pushing the envelope and challenging every possibility the city offered.

This thinking, however, didn’t originate during the days I lived in New York. As far back as I could remember, people in Taiwan (where I grew up) had led their lives the same way New Yorkers did. Life in New York was fraught with the Puritan work ethics and emulous capitalist attitudes. The people believed that one was supposed to work hard, overcome difficulties, and crush their rivals. The mere goal of living was to become wealthier and more famous.

Power and fortune were the two Gods for New Yorkers. What led you to Heaven was nothing but career, career, and career. To win the race under the law of the jungle, everyone fought for time and resources. For example, in an elevator, you pushed an extra few times the button of your floor, as if it could be faster, albeit the button light was already on. You’d exited your office building after work, but still had a phone wedged between your face and your hand, speaking nonstop - you were making sure everything of your work was going well by remote control. People went out of their way to succeed, by hook or by crook. In New York, there were no despicable bastards but miserable losers.

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This essay (the Chinese version) was written by a Taiwanese person. If there are some parts that you don’t think sound native, or there exist natural and concise expressions (or alternatives), feel free to edit. I came here to learn. Thanks!
前半生纽约,后半生巴黎

纽约和巴黎,代表了我人生的两个方面。纽约是白天,巴黎是黑夜;纽约是前半生,巴黎是后半生。

35岁之前,我认定纽约是世上最棒的城市。我在加州念研究生,毕业后迫不及待地去纽约工作。一做五年,快乐似神仙。我爱纽约的原因跟很多人一样;它是20世纪以来世界金融的中心,丰富、方便。靠着地铁和出租车,你可以穿越时间,前后各跑数百年。人类最新和最旧、最好和最坏的东西,在纽约都看得见。

所以在纽约时,我把握每分每秒去体会。白天,我在金融机构做事,一天10小时。晚上下了班,去纽约大学学电影,一坐4小时。在那20多岁的年纪,忙碌是唯一有意义的生活方式。活着,就是要把自已榨干,把自已居住的城市,内外翻转过来。这种想法并不是到纽约才有的。其实从小开始,台湾人就过着纽约生活。纽约生活,充满新教徒的打拼精神和资本主义的求胜意志。相信人要凭着不断努力,克服困难、打败对手。活着的目的,就是更大、更多、更富裕、更有名。权力与财富,是纽约人的两个上帝。而能帮你走进天堂的鞋,就是事业、事业、事业。在这种弱肉强食的生活方式下,为了保持领先,每个人都在赶时间、抢资源。进了电梯,明明已经按了楼层的钮,那灯也亮了,偏偏还要再按几下,仿佛这样就可以快一点。出了公司,明明已经下班了,却还要不停讲手机,遥控每一个环节。在纽约,为达目的,可以不择手段。在纽约,没有坏人,只有失败者。