Here we are, 48 hours and good bit of self-actualization later. I have to admit I figured I was being a little excessive thinking that I would go to New York for a couple of days and come back a different person, but…maybe a little.
The first thing I noticed about the gloomy and grey New York skyline was that it was just that. Gloomy & grey and no fuzzy feeling to be found. I was nervous that I’d made a mistake. That this place wasn’t where I should be and I was going to waste two days by myself when I could’ve been with friends & family at home celebrating the 4th. But I got to where I was staying and the TV was on the news of a woman scaling the Statue of Liberty and protesting ICE and yeah, it made sense that I was there for that.
The first night was spent watching people by the Brooklyn Bridge prepare to watch fireworks and catching up with my brother in-law. I traveled a thousand miles to have a real conversation with family and I was okay with that. It doesn’t sound like I did much but the text rant from that night to my best friend tells me that I had been hit in the face with some serious emotions I’ve spent a lot of time ignoring. I didn’t know how I felt about this city that I considered my home and that even when I left it, I knew it would always welcome me back. I wanted it to forget me, or for me to forget it, and I don’t know why. What I learned is that when you are traveling with yourself, there’s no one to help ignore your thoughts & feelings, you just have to listen to them and rationalize them right then & there. To be honest, I was a little afraid to be by myself. I thought I was going to love it and I’m this strong independent woman but the little to no sleep I experienced night one told me that…I need other people. That in and of itself was enough of a realization to justify coming home successfully “found.” But that wasn’t all.
I resolved to spend the next day reminding myself why I loved New York and confront the girl who ran from it. I toured the New York Public Library, walked through the 9/11 Museum and spent some time sitting in my old college Starbucks watching the kids who used to be me. It’s kind of like when you grow out of your favorite shirt so you donate it and happen to run into the next person wearing it. You’re happy that someone else is enjoying it as much as you used to and for a minute you want it back if only for the feeling it used to give you, but you know deep down it doesn’t fit you anymore and you have to move on. A lot of feelings for a Starbucks. But I did acknowledge that I love the NYU area more than any other part of NYC and that’s where my home will always be. I caught up with a college friend who is moving to Italy because that’s what people who graduate from NYU do, and that’s why I love the people so much.
I was going to call it a day, go back to my Airbnb and think about my day when fate stepped in and told me I wasn’t done with my city. Friends from high school happened to be in the city and I found myself linked up with them, ultimately becoming their tour guide for the next few hours. And that’s when I knew NYC wasn’t done with me. I needed to be able to show other people what makes that place so special to be able to see it for myself. I took them to touristy places and we lit candles in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and I took them to dollar pizza and NYU bars where drinks are cheaper. Sometimes I wonder if I’m where I’m supposed to be and then these kinds of things happen and I know I’ve been right all along. Every step I’ve made has been the right one, whether it was the long way or not.
What I was so upset with myself for that first night was that I felt like this trip was me running to find happiness I didn’t have. And then I got there and I realized that I’m very happy with what I have and I need to stop running around trying to find that next happy feeling. But…then I realized I wasn’t looking for happiness somewhere else after all. I was looking for the definition of who I was and how that can help me be who I want to be.
It was a very long two days and this is a very long post all about me but I hope it helps someone else find themselves. You can be content with what you have and still want to explore the other parts of you. We are multidimensional creatures that deserve an understanding of each intricate part to be able to give pieces to others. So if I see myself a bit clearer these days, you know why.