It’s 11pm Saturday night and I’m sitting on the bed of my 6th floor New York Hotel, laptop resting on my knees and listening to the drone of the city below. The traffic rushes by and then quietens with the change of the lights, horns blast and the occasional siren wails. The constancy is calming and time ticks by as if it doesn’t exist.
New York is the most wonderful city in the world. A statement subject to opinion, but I think you either love her or hate her. I’m in the former category.
I’ve had a long distance romance with the city since my first visit here just over ten years ago. The energy, the sounds, the smells, the people and the diversity. The city is a true melting pot of cultures, neighbourhoods and classes. Within a block you can walk from upscale boutique stores to cheap, run down tenement apartment buildings, or from tree-lined Brownstones to towering buildings that disappear into the sky above.
But this isn’t a post about my love for this city, that is for another day. You see I have two more nights left of my three week USA vacation and I’m in reflection mode.
Vacations will do that to you. Especially ones that take you far away from your reality. Whether it is to an entirely different country and way of life, or a peaceful, beach retreat where the days are long and stress-free, it is during the last few day where energies tend to change.
The reality of normal life that awaits on your return dampens your mood. Normalcy. The mundane routines of day to day life, working, housework, commitments and people who depend on you. Vacations are as far from your day to day reality as you can get, which is, of course, the whole point.
But what a vacation does do, is make you realise what is important.
On holidays you make every moment count. You get up early to take advantage of every second of the day. You see as much as you can, you eat glorious, diverse food prepared (and cleaned up by) other people, you breath in new surroundings, learn different ways of life, soak up history and culture. You spend money that you normally wouldn’t and you take a million photos trying to capture the memories for you to savour for a lifetime.
Isn’t it a shame we don’t do that every day that we live?
How much to we take for granted each day?
If you think hard, I think the answer would be NEARLY EVERYTHING.
You take for granted the warm bed you crawl out of every morning, the healthy kids that greet you with morning hugs or sometimes morning grumbles. The fleeting kiss to your loved one as they fly out the door to work. The roof that provides shelter, the job that provides you with money, the clothes that you cover yourself with and the food that you plate on the table each day.
You take for granted the neighbourhood that you call home. The school, the shops, the transport.
The friends that are there for you, thick or thin. The family who you see, or don’t see enough of.
But life is life.
In reality it isn’t possible to be grateful of everything in every moment.
But perhaps just pausing to take a moment and smile for what you have, not what you want or where you are going. For what you hold in your hands each day, and not for the dreams that you envision. Perhaps there lies the inspiration, appreciation and enjoyment of life in its simplest form.