Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Graduation Bliss

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and I will never have to run a regression to determine the statistical probability of anything ever again. Things are looking up. 

That means more focus on sport, more time to read (just started 100 Years of Solitude), more energy to spend galavanting and, more generally... A happier me. Hats off to my fellow grads who have struggled to balance life and school for the past few years. You're certainly the reason the degree is worthwhile. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Emerging from Hibernation

I'm renewing my commitment to write more frequently. Writing used to be important to me and it becomes easier with practice, so I have moderately high hopes that I may write something mildly interesting if I keep trying for several years. And given my readership of approximately 5 (give or take 4), I'm sure when that moment of semi-brilliance strikes, the post will go viral.

New York is slowly thawing and moods are quickly lifting. The streets are filled with smiling kids on scooters and dogs who've suffered without long walks for too many months. As winter finally melts away, I'm reminded of the endless opportunity the city affords. Parks, theaters, arenas, restaurants, bars, museums, cafés, stores. Record shops, thrift shops, coffee shops, book shops. Clubs, meet ups, pick up games, sporting events, organizations, charities. And everything inbetween. I say this every year as I'm certain many New Yorkers have before me, but it still rings true - I don't take advantage of all the city has to offer. Movie nights in Tomkins, free concerts in Central Park and on Randall's island, kayaking in the Hudson, activities near Chelsea piers, Smorgesboard in Brooklyn, bier gartens in Queens, horseback riding in the Bronx. The list goes on and on. 

As I walked to Penn Station today past a long line of tourists eager to reach the top of the Empire State Building, I was reminded of how much I haven't seen and done in my own backyard. I've traveled thousands of miles away to explore foreign lands but I've never felt compelled to play the tourist in the remarkable city I call home. I don't have a favorite antique book shop and I haven't discovered all of the hidden back alleys and local secrets. I don't know the history of the beautiful architecture or where Melville and Salinger found inspiration. 

It's high time I begin to really appreciate this great city; time to open my eyes to the wonder and mystery of the place I call home. I pledge to actively participate in all that New York has to offer... to learn something from the city that has given me so much. 

... I guess I might as well start with a Yankee game :) 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The city is the art

The world works in mysterious and unpredictable ways. Fortunately there are a few constants that we can always rely on. Without fail, travel has the subtle yet powerful ability to highlight those timeless, uplifting, universal truths - tomorrow will always be a fresh start, someone somewhere in the world is inevitably facing struggles similar or greater to yours, and you are fully in control of your own life and how you spend your time. Travel is fatal to prejudice and narrow thinking of all kinds. It expands our world and opens our minds to ever greater possibilities. It encourages us to harken back to a different time, whenever that may be; our own version of history, infused with foreign and familiar impressions that give us courage and unleash our imaginations. An ever-present unifying force becomes more tangible when  we immerse ourselves in a new place, a new people, a new part of the world. We remember to appreciate our commonality  with one another, while celebrating difference. To me, the profound effect of travel can only be described as magical. 

I traveled to Paris for the first time this past weekend. It's a beautiful city filled with mesmerizing people. As we walked the cobblestone streets, popping into shops and pausing at cafés, I knew I was surrounded by an unparalleled aesthetic; one that only an entire culture of keen artistic eyes could cultivate, but one that is far superior in it's sincerity. Every Parisian falls into his or her place seamlessly, each flower and building and car plays its role in the work of art that is Paris; a city that is itself a masterpiece. 

This dramatic, wildly over the top description of Paris's beauty is seemingly an exaggeration. But it isn't to me. Because that is my Paris and it is unlike anyone else's Paris. It is based on my experiences, my history and my understanding and preferences and expectations. Perception is reality. And I choose to see the beauty.