This week has been an interesting one so far. The downs have been visiting more often than the highs. I have found myself caught up, overwhelmed, anxious, stressed, distracted and in a constant state of distress. Caught up in my usual and predictable day-to-day routine, yesterday I made the conscious decision to break free from those shackles and to release myself into the city, without a plan and with my eyes open to new experiences.
Instead of my usual jam-packed morning of emails, blogging, study and gym, I ate my breakfast before crawling back into bed. I never do this. Ever. But yesterday I was particularly exhausted and run down. After two more blissful hours of deep sleep, I arose at 9.30am and headed to my local cafe for a morning espresso. Following a quick muse of the Times, I rode the subway uptown, with no handbag and no agenda, smiling at strangers on the crowded carriage. I got off at West 72nd Street and headed straight to Central Park. Central Park on a Wednesday morning is surprisingly quiet, even in the midst of high tourist season. I got to actually see the John Lennon memorial without a hundred people crowding around me. I meandered around the secluded walking trails covered only by dirt, not concrete, I walked past the Zoo and smiled at the children with looks of awe and excitement on their faces.
After a while of aimless meandering, I found myself on the Upper East Side, where I strolled again without purpose down Madison Avenue. I passed fat cats in terrible pin stripe suits and eavesdropped on their business conversations. I admired beautiful art and jewellery in store windows and I wondered about the lives of the extraordinarily well-dressed Upper East Side women, with their impeccable hairdos, handbags and makeup to match.
Lunch consisted of pure, fresh vegetable salads, eaten in solace at Central Park. For three straight hours, I didn’t talk to a soul. I simply observed. I took the time to truly absorb the sights and sounds of the city. I could hear it breathe and feel its heart beat. Although I was an outsider looking in, I have never felt so much a part of it than I did that morning.
Catching the train back downtown again in silence, I reflected on the experience. I resolved to take things one step at a time. To not tackle too much at any one time. To go slowly and with purpose. To tread gently and live in contentment. All things begin at the beginning. Projects need to be done slowly and properly. Life should be executed well, with love, laughter and enjoyment; not stress, angst, anger and sadness. There is a city out there ready to take you in and show you its way. You just have to let it in. Yesterday was an important lesson. Sometimes we need to break free of routine and control to just live and breathe and most importantly, just be.