Friday, April 21, 2017

NYC revisited

I am back for a visit in NYC after leaving in 1994.

It has changed as much as I have. And yet there is much that is the same with both of us.

It's been a time warp emotionally. Seeing friends face to face for the first time in 2 decades. Realizing we are now approaching retirement rather than starting our careers.

But the joy of reconnecting was immense. We drank beer, ate bbq, reminisced and laughed a lot. I love these people and am honored that they made time for me in their busy work lives.

What has changed: Times Square. It's hideous tv screens everywhere... OK it used to be neon and not the safest place, but it was gritty and real. Now... homogenized is the word that kept coming up. There is a GAP opening soon, with Forever 21 and Express on Times Square. New high rises made of glass and steel rise up replacing the ornate limestone buildings that were part of the NYC skyscape I remembered.

The subways are cleaner and more reliable, which is a good thing. I remember waiting HOURS for the R train. Now there is an app that gives you arrival times and updates and instructions... no need for the paper map anymore. But I got one anyway!

The museums!!! OMG I have missed ART. In Lexington we have galleries and occasional arts & craft fairs so there is art but no ART. I miss being able to go look at Van Gogh, Renoir, Manet, Monet and other Impressionists anytime I want. I miss the immenseness of the Metropolitan Museum and the Brooklyn Museum. I am within an hour or two of the J. B. Speed museum and the Cincinnati Art Museum and I am determined to go more frequently. NYC made me remember that my soul longs for paintings and sculpture on a regular basis.

Can we talk about the food? Another OMG moment. There is no comparison to a NY bagel. NONE. I had some of my favorite meals while visiting but I somehow missed getting pizza... wth? I went to diners several times. I miss diners. I miss the career waiters, the NY pickles, the ability to get either an omelette or burger at anytime of day or night. OR a Reuben! Yes there is great food in KY, but I do miss some things from the North.

There still is so much to process about my trip. It was great on so many levels, taking me back to a time I loved in my life. Reminding me of who I was and still am. Reminding me that, as one friend put it "friendship defies time".

To quote Carol King

"My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue,
An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view
A wondrous woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold..."

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Dear Younger Me...

Lately I have been listening to this song by MercyMe a lot:

Dear younger me
Where do I start
If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far
Then you could be
One step ahead
Of all the painful memories still running thru my head
I wonder how much different things would be
Dear younger me,
Dear younger me
I cannot decide
Do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life
Or do I go deep
And try to change
The choices that you’ll make cuz they’re choices that made me
Even though I love this crazy life
Sometimes I wish it was a smoother ride
Dear younger me, dear younger me
If I knew then what I know now
Condemnation would’ve had no power
My joy my pain would’ve never been my worth
If I knew then what I know now
Would’ve not been hard to figure out
What I would’ve changed if I had heard

Also I am reading several books, one of which is  No Mud, No Lotus by Thich Nhat Hanh. 

I spend time reflecting about how I got to where I am and debating if I would change anything. Somedays, yes, I wish I could get a "do over". There are things I didn't do out of fear. There are things I did that I now regret. Yet, today I am so very happy to be where I am. And had I not experienced what I have, I wouldn't be here. 

I counsel people everyday who have regrets and want "do overs". I walk with them on their journey for a short time and we talk about this theme over and over... 

Realistically there is no changing the past. It is what it is. All we have is our present moment. And that is where we must invest our whole heart, where we must live. 

I am getting better at mindfulness, living in the present. Yet I revisit the past. I have memories, both good and bad, but they are part of my journey, part of the path that has led to now. I think, at this moment, I would tell my younger me to keep an open mind, never lose hope and accept that life is an miraculous puzzle...