It’s not a secret to anyone who has ever read my blogs that my childhood (and teenage and adulthood) dream was to live and work in New York City. I used to dream of walking from my apartment to work in some creative field, like theater when I was small and advertising or journalism as I got older and a bit more jaded. As I matured and my image of a successful life took shape and my knowledge of the city grew by watching and reading everything about the place that I could get my hands on, I started to be able to literally picture myself walking in certain neighborhoods, either dressed stylishly for work or wearing exercise clothes on my way to some gym or park to work out because of course, Dream Me was fabulous, fit and happy.
Well, I never made the living part happen as I was, pretty simply, too afraid. By the time I was grown enough to move away, I’d convinced myself I couldn’t act or write for a living and why would I move to a place as expensive as NYC just to be a teacher? New York City became a place to visit and pine over. Later, it became a place to bring my daughter. Perhaps she would be brave enough to take on the place on one day. I never stopped dreaming of New York City life, but I did release myself from the guilt and feelings of failure that come from never pursuing that dream.
Funny things happen when you forgive yourself.
Last week I came up the escalator from Penn Station feeling like a million bucks. I was dressed in running tights and a fitted exercise top that I bought a month ago on a clearance rack with the promise of it fitting someday. I was on my way to an event at Laughing Lotus Yoga Studio in Chelsea. I was invited to practice at the feet of Gwen Lawrence, an amazing yoga teacher (she trains Pro Athletes!) I met back at the Vivienne Tam Fashion Week event in September. Gwen has a new DVD for Gaiamand her publicists had invited press to come meet her and take a mini-class to get a taste for what we could expect from the DVD. I kind of have a girl-crush on Gwen because she’s this amazing working mom who seems to have life by the tail and yet is as humble and kind as can be. (I kinda wish we were friends. Sshh…) Needless to say, I was totally on board.
A few blocks into my walk I realized I could put my phone GPS away because I knew exactly where I was and where I was going. It seems I’ve been here long enough to know my way around NYC. (Dream list item: check.) I was in Chelsea, a neighborhood that used to exist in my brain as legend is now familiar to me because I have been to several events there for this very blog. I passed the now familiar Bed, Bath & Beyond and The CORE building (for all my fellow HGTV lovers) and I was hit by the sensation that I’d seen this scene before.
Holy crap. It seems I’ve gone and done it.
I’m working in New York City and that day work happened to involve not just writing, but a fit and happy me.
Of course the salary isn’t quite what I imagined it would be back in my younger days, (In fact, it’s mostly free yoga mats.) but the experience feels no less magic than I thought it might.
The city still holds its charm for me-no matter how often I’m there. The yoga studio that day was literally perfect, with floor to ceiling windows and walls covered in graffiti and floors in glitter. Gwen is the type of Yoga Teacher that would have completed my dream. She is funny and real but also challenges the heck out of you in a way that is pure Yoga Grace. The class was challenging and fun and I’m thrilled to have her DVD at home now to recreate as much of that day as I can. I left the class, met The Husband at his downtown office and took the train back to our house which, while not as glamorous as the big apple, surely holds a life that could be described as a thing of dreams. I spent the next day writing an article about my experience for an online magazine…that paid me for my work.
It seems that by releasing myself from the guilt of being afraid, but not allowing my fears to completely stop me from living, I’ve gone ahead and created my dreams. They aren’t perfect. They aren’t exactly as I imagined all those years ago and certainly they haven’t been reached without a whole lot of heartache and downright failure. But here I am, living a life that involves sometimes working in New York City, being happy and fit and writing about the whole dang thing-sometimes even for money. Who would have thought it? Not me. But then again, maybe my younger dreams were too specific. Maybe fit and happy was all that I should have focused on. Because when that became all that I focused on, the rest just fell into place.
I wish my mom was here to witness the turn I’ve taken. But something tells me she has know about this all along.
**I was given a copy of Gwen’s new DVD for Gaiam as well as a mat and bag for attending this event. I already own the mat and would have bought the DVD on my own. It’s that good.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.