When I was a little girl we’d take day trips into the city. We’d wake up early, bundled in coats piling into the car. It was the only time the cold didn’t bother me, because I knew in a few hours I’d be in my favorite place in the world.
Walking through central park, visiting museums, sitting on park benches waiting patiently to get that first taste of a NY dog dripping with kraut. This was my heaven. I’d day dream about living there when I grew up. How would it feel to wake up each morning and smell these food carts! Look up at these gorgeous buildings! Hear all these different languages! Countless hours were spent imagining a life where my feet could take me anywhere, walking among excited people in a magical city. “I would visit Strawberry Fields all the time” I’d say to myself, ‘and sing Hey Jude at the top of my lungs as I danced through the park, and no one would care.” I would be invisibly beautiful like everyone else. My purpose was to live here, my passion was to be a New Yorker.
How important to hold on to the dreams of our youth. How necessary to keep such childish passions close to your heart.
This morning waking up early, as I step out of my East Village apartment to walk to my dream job, I witness the city waking. Garbage trucks hum loudly, sleepy men water the sidewalk, coffee and eggs fill the smell in the air, the homeless are meticulously laid out on the sidewalk in the sunniest spots. The desperate and the devoted are the only ones up at this unspoken hour; our foot steps and grunts slowly begin to waken the city streets.
Hey Jude plays in my ears as I walk these streets in tattered-can’t-bear-to-part-boots with iced coffee in hand, already well into my day. As I pass by the trees and stoops, I think to myself “I am so lucky”.
And I remember all the hard work: remember the tears, sweat, and blood that was shed to live this dream that so effortlessly in this moment feels like a stroll in the park. I kept my childhood fantasies but live them so fully now, as each day I find myself in these humbling moments of gratitude.
Gratitude for this city, this life, these beautiful people who love me, and this growing happiness that seemed like a dream to a young girl with a very large and devoted imagination.
I remember to let it out and let it in, to keep letting this city into my heart, so I can always make it better.