|Happy Birthday to Me!|
It was a difficult decision, to decide whether to go to NYC for my birthday. I have been going the last 6 years or so and it had become a tradition that I treasured. I was really worried about traveling during covid, not worried about getting it or doing anything I wouldn't usually do, but worried about being checked up on and forced to quarantine in my hotel. I went on a huge driving trip during the big summer surge and was met with nothing but smiles and open arms everywhere...across many states. I decided at the last minute to take a chance and go...when I made the decision I was ecstatic! I was not going to have a sad 60th birthday in Austin where I can't have a gathering...I was going to do what I always do (minus seeing a play) and was going to do all the things the ny website asked me to do (except stay in my hotel room for 4 days). I took a test before I boarded the airplane and was ecstatic to be doing the airport thing again. I LOVE airports and just going anywhere really on a plane. The airport was empty, the planes were empty, and LaGuardia was pretty much empty too...I was whisked to my hotel quickly and dropped my bad and did my usual mad dash around the Murray Hill neighborhood that has started to feel like my vacation spot. I grabbed a veggie slice and then hoofed it around Grand Central, Bryant Park, Times Square and then through Rockefeller Center on the way back to my hotel.
It was different, but still wonderful. Some things were so much better: no lines at the museums or bagel shops. I had a blissful day at the MoMa where it was dotted with visitors but not the usual giant lines I see every time I walk by it. Bryant Park was bustling with skaters and open air shops and restaurants so I would sit there in the evenings and have a hot chocolate and watch the skaters (i.e.: resting my dogs). I grabbed food to go mostly except for the day Kate came into the city, where we dined at several outdoor venues...our favorite bars were closed (where she has a cocktail and I have a fizzy water and just enjoy the ambiance). We stayed on the lower east side and it was abuzz with young rowdy folks. I had gone to the Strand one evening and had a delightful time there, but when Kate and I decided to go there on a Saturday evening there was a line around the block. There was a line to get into Uniqlo when it opened, but for some reason I have no desire to shop for clothes anymore. But I was looking for something special for my birthday, as I usually buy a play ticket or something nice for myself.
On my last day my flight wasn't until 5:00pm so I had plenty of time to do stuff. I walked up to 5th avenue and took a right and thought about going to the Park (which I never go to) as I was just trying to vary my routine. I walked in front of Trump Tower and always glance over at the heavily armed guards..and then saw some men in bright blue scarves standing in front of some construction scaffolding letting people know that the Tiffany's store was open even though it had some construction going on around it. (For the past several years it seems like every other building has scaffolding and construction going on around it). I have never gone into that store as I feel I look too scruffy for them but I saw this touristy couple go in and I just followed them in. I was gleefully escorted to the floor of items that I said I could afford (just the silver please!) and these lovely ladies fluttered around me as I looked at all the nicely made and reasonably priced pieces. I had a hard time picking something but decided to go small and got a charm that was inexpensive and small but is in their traditional design with a modern twist to it. I hung it on the charm holder necklace I was wearing and after paying they asked if I wanted a box but I said I would take a bag. The blue bag! I skipped out of the store with the bag on my arm and felt that I had given myself the best 60th birthday present I could have ever had...and not just the bauble from Tiffany's.
There was a time when I couldn't imagine that I would ever be able to afford to fly to NYC and stay in a decent hotel and just do what I want for 5 days. I mostly just walk around, but if I want to spend money and eat out every day and see play I do it. If I want to buy myself treats I do that as well...but these short trips to ny are a symbol of something big for me in my life: they are a symbol of my having agency over my own life, of me doing exactly what I want to do and psychically and psychologically freeing myself from the scarcity and stinginess that is in my lineage. Why is it any better to have money sitting in a bank rather than to spend it on small things that improve the quality of my life SO MUCH and make my mental health and self esteem plumper.
When I lived in ny I would often look at all the apartments and wonder how someone was able to afford to live there...wonder if there was something wrong with me - and I found out there wasn't. I just had to work hard for a really long time and make this a priority in my life.
This is 60 for me- this is better than I thought it would be...