Being Present In The City That Doesn’t Sleep

In January I went to Manhattan NY with a coworker of mine, who has become one of my very good friends. This trip started on a conversation we had on our lunch break about taking a spontaneous trip. She asked me if I had ever just gone on a trip on a whim – NOPE I answered. The way she talked about NYC, it is like she longed to go back. I had a longing to go as well. In that moment I did something that terrified me. I had not known her for long, but I asked her to go on a spontaneous trip with me.

“Lets do this”, she replied.

When we told others that were going down to the city, naturally people asked “what are you going to do while you are there?” Explore was our answer. Our goal was to slow down and take in everything that was happening. That flabbergasted others. You have to DO things when you go on trips. “You are just going down there to just walk around??” they said with surprise. Of course we had a list of things we wanted to see and do, but we did NOT want to rush through every item we had. You know how when you traveling, you are doing so much that you get stressed and end up more exhausted than when you left? Or you need a vacation from your vacation? That was not our mindset. If we dont get to it today, we can always come back. We were going to soak in whatever was around us, allow interruptions, and be present in the moment.

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That happens to most of us in our daily lives. We are so focused on getting everything on our to do list done – go-go-go – accomplishing – cross that item off your list. We get to the end of the day and wonder what happened to it? What is it exactly that we are chasing after and investing our energy into? We wanted to break away from that.

A few weeks later we got on a bus on a Friday afternoon and headed down to Manhattan.

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First morning in our Air BnB in SOHO

The first full day in NYC, we woke up with coffee and talked. We talked about our childhood, dreams, and the struggles we got through. I think sometimes we do not realize what an increidlbe opportunity we have to connect with someone on a deep level when we have no sense of time. We are not worried about where we are supposed to be. We are just there in that moment with that person. 

After our breakfast we headed to the Brooklyn Bridge 

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Above the Brooklyn Bridge Subway 

We walked along the Brooklyn Bridge and there are locks that have engravings on them that are latched along the fence. This clearly was an attempt to emulate the Love Lock Bridge in Paris. To me this was such a beautiful proclamation that people made about their loved ones.

Well…maybe some people don’t feel like its beautiful.

If I did not slow down, I would have not taken the time to read every single name on the locks that I passed by. Of course I don’t know these people and will probably never meet them, but the amount of love notes that are left on the fence made me appreciate the people I have. I also felt the hope and optimism that these couples had for their relationship. It takes great confidence to announce to the world your feelings that you have for someone. It has to be so strong that you know nothing can waiver that love. This made me wonder, what would the world look like with more love in?

What if we had more love to ease the pain for the hurt in the messages that were left out?

If I never slowed down, I would have never heard those messages among the taxi cabs honking, trains, people talking, music, and all the other noises you hear in the city. It is a city full of art and creativity. Creativity is a symbol of authenticity and bravery. You cannot create something and not become vulnerable. You are putting a piece of yourself out there for the world to see. With all these messages and art pieces that passed by me, I felt a connection with these people I have never met. This was a piece of them that they left for me to experience.

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While we explored the Manhattan area, we stopped into a lot of small book stores. I had not read anything that touched my soul in almost a year or more before this trip. By me picking up each book and exploring all the different subjects out there, my desire to read was ignited. If fact, I came home with a reading list for the year.

I like to take pictures of things I want to remember later on. I had wayyyy more books than that, but those are a few of the ones I look forward to the most.

This trip to me signified finding yourself even in the middle of chaos. Traveling even a few hours out of town helps you get new perspective. Through some good conversations, food, and views I was able to find beauty even in the dirty cramped places of life.

Thank you New York City. You helped me get reconnected with myself.

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