The Only Living Boy in New York Quote

EP 12: The Only Living Boy in New York Quote “The farthest distance in the world, is between how it is and how you thought it was gonna be”

In this episode of the Merkol Podcast, we analyzed the famous The Only Living Boy in New York Quote starring Kate Beckinsale and Callum Turner. The quote goes:

“The farthest distance in the world, is between how it is and how you thought it was gonna be”

The Only Living Boy in New York Quote
The Only Living Boy in New York Quote
The Only Living Boy in New York Quote

Who is Allan Loeb?

Allan Loeb is the writer of this movie ‘The Only Living Boy in New York’. The below content is mostly paraphrased from Wikipedia.

Loeb was born to a Jewish family in Highland Park, Illinois. He attended Ithaca College in New York from 1988 to 1992, dropping out to work at the Chicago Board of Trade. He relocated to Los Angeles, California in 1993 to pursue a career in screenwriting.

In 2004, after graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles, he moved to New York to write the script for The Only Living Boy in New York. His story was not made into a movie right away. He had to wait close to 13 years for that.

In that time he got aggressively into gambling and soon became an addict. He racked up more than $150,000 in credit card debt due to his losses with $30,000 being the most he has lost in a single night. He soon realized he had a big problem and went to address it right away.

Loeb was a compulsive gambler from the age of ten until he joined Gamblers Anonymous in 2005, claiming:

“Literally the minute I quit gambling my writing changed. It was magical. I had been giving so much emotional energy to gambling that only half of myself was out there writing. Gambling was a time suck, an energy suck, a creativity suck. I started going to GA meetings every Thursday night, and the writing flourished. It had so much more energy and passion.”

Allan Loeb

In 2017, his story was made into a full-length feature film and is currently on Amazon Prime. This is a really good film and I enjoyed it very much. So do give it a watch whenever you have time.

Allan Loeb is also known for Wall Street: Money never sleeps, The Switch, and Collateral Beauty.

What does The Only Living Boy in New York Quote mean?

Everyone always keeps chasing that one thing they want all their life. They chase this with the illusion that they would feel immeasurable happiness and their life would change for the better if they achieve that one thing. But this kind of idea is an illusion.

Ask anyone who has chased something their entire life and attained it, they will tell you that it was not what they thought it would be.

There is this amazing scene from the movie Soul that illustrates this quote and concept even better. Here is the video:

The fish story defines what we humans are currently doing. The main character in this story has chased his dream all his life and once he has achieved it he realizes that he should wake up the next day and do it all over again. He did not find the fulfillment he imagined he will get.

This is what the Only Living Boy in New York Quote means. What you will actually feel when you reach a point in life is really not the same as what you think you will feel when you reach the same point in life. This is such a powerful quote.

The fish, like the main character in this movie, was so focused on a life bigger than itself, that it didn’t realize everything it was looking for was already there.

Not all of us get the “big thing” we are looking for in life but, if we do, we’re surprised that it doesn’t bring ultimate fulfillment. It’s more important to realize the beauty of where we are now, wherever that is. This is why people say ‘Happiness is a choice’.

Happiness is a choice

Humans always have this thing that if this happens then life would be good. If only this was different, then I can be truly happy. You being truly happy is not based on some external thing, it is not a condition but a choice.

You can be truly happy if you decide to be happy with your life. This small decision can change your view on life for the better.

This may sound cliche – but imagining that happiness comes from something external is really just an illusion.

Most people postpone their happiness after they have achieved whatever it is that they want to achieve.

If you are going to be happy only after monumental things in life then one can ever truly be happy like around 5 times in life. The most common monumental events would include – graduation, promotion, marriage, when your kids are born, and when your grandkids are born.

The above idea is from a short film on youtube. I was not able to include the video here as the owner of the video has disabled embedding on other websites. If you are free then please do watch the entire thing, it is worth your time. Here is the link.


So always live in the present, be happy with the choices that life has offered you. Be happy that you have a choice because no matter what problems you have in life there is always someone in this world who would happily swap their life with your life at any moment.


I have recorded a podcast on the same quote. But it is in Tamil. If you know the language then please do listen to this. Do let me know if you like it. Here is the link:

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