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Life Lessons I Taught My Daughter on the NYC Subway

Olivia’s dream is to be a Broadway star. I knew she had the bug at two years old. We took Trevone to see the musical production of The Lion King and Olivia came with us. She sat on the edge of her seat, eyes wide open, captivated by the spectacle of it all.

This summer Olivia is training in New York City with professional Broadway performers. So we’re living in the city like natives for a few weeks and that means riding the NYC subway. We’ve been to New York before, so riding the subway isn’t completely new. But it’s definitely an experience unto its own.

NYC Subway Pinnable Image

You have to be prepared mentally and physically for the commute on the train. And I’ve been teaching Olivia some life lessons in the process of mastering the NYC subway.

Life Lessons About Yourself

If you stay ready you don’t have to get ready. Time waits for no one. Neither does the subway train.  Olivia has a tendency to wait until the last minute to pull things together. I have to admit she gets that from me, but she doesn’t respond well to pressure. So I’ve been teaching her to prepare early and be on alert. When the door closes – on the subway or in life – that same door won’t open again. 

Sometimes life gives you more than you bargained for. Rats. Enough said. The NYC Subway tracks are filled with them. And they are not afraid of people either. It’s a necessary evil that comes with the process. We haven’t run into Shredder yet, though. 

Even the slightest mistake can have major consequences. Both my girls are really smart. But that often lends itself to rushed work and carelessness. The small mistakes they make now don’t have major consequences.

That is not the case on the subway. One small mistake and you end up in Brooklyn instead of at Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty. Not that I’ve done that, but it’s possible. LOL

Life Lessons About Others

Not every actor is on a stage. You can see the best of the best performers in theater on Broadway. You can even see some spectacular performances off Broadway. But sometimes you get a show way, way off Broadway. For the cost of a subway ticket.

Some of the most talented people you’ll never see on a stage perform every day in the NYC Subway. From panhandlers with rehearsed recitations to rock musicians with portable amplifiers, there’s always a show in the subway station. 

Everyone is not kind. Olivia is a kind and giving spirit. And she expects that others will live by her same credo. Not so. On the subway the rules of civility do not apply. It’s every man for himself. You have to find your space and hold it.

General Life Lessons

Physics always wins.  Newton’s First Law of Motion states that an object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an equal or opposite force. Like the jolt of a train coming to a full stop at 80 mph. Hold on for dear life or you go flying into the person crammed in next to you. And they will not appreciate it.

Hygiene is important. Personal space comes at a premium on the rush hour and weekend train rides. Do yourself – and everyone else – a favor and take care of your personal hygiene. The person you fly into will be thankful. 

What life lessons have you learned while riding the NYC Subway? How will you teach them to your children?

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