I was sitting on a bench outside of the laundry mat, waiting for my clothes to wash, reading a book and eating miniature Dove chocolates - you know, the ones with inspirational sayings written inside the wrapper. Most said things like: Naughty can be nice; You're allowed to do nothing; Test your own limits and keep going ... but then I opened one that took me back to the day I first decided to move to New York City. There is certainly no shortage of people like me with the cliche dream of moving to New York in search and pursuit of success and happiness.
Make "someday" today. I just stared at the saying. It must have been 30 seconds before I realized I was smiling at this little foil wrapper. A little over a year ago, I had realized that someday was never going to come unless I made someday happen. I had realized that I was 25 years old and still talking about moving to New York City.
Fast forward to now. I've been living here for a little over one month. I made someday today and I'm working on making someday tomorrow. I looked around me. I looked at the spinning washers inside the laundry mat, I looked at the people walking by, I looked at the cigarette butts wedged in the cracks on the sidewalk, at the chipped paint on the curbs, at the aged pre-war buildings, at the cars stopping and going at the busy intersection. I started thinking about what I want.
I want to be Melanie Griffith at the end of Working Girl when she calls her best friend on the phone and says, "Guess where I am right now." I want varying levels of disappointment so that I'll recognize rapturous joy. I want to run with reckless emotion, find out if love is the size of an ocean, even if I crash down and burn out, at least I'm going to know what it's like to feel alive. I want to floss my teeth more regularly. I want to live life the hard way, with risks and chances. I don't want what's said to be easy; I want what is said to be worth it. I want to take random walks in this city and find the nooks and crannies that aren't highlighted in the travel guides. I don't want to believe that everything happens for a reason, but that I am the reason that some things happen. I want sights that my eyes can't believe, sounds that tug at my heart strings, feelings that take my breath away. I want to eat more fruits and vegetables and drink more water. I want to be swept off my feet on a regular basis. I want to stop wondering about the purpose of life and be one of the many purposes that don't require explanation. I want to save enough money to retire young and travel for pleasure. I want to take a carriage ride in Central Park. I want to do all the things I would regret not doing. I want a life like Anthony Hopkins' in Meet Joe Black, where you can wake up one morning and say, "I don't want anything more."
I'm 26 years old. I'm starting to figure out who I am. And I haven't taken the first step to being where I want to be, but rather I have plunged blindly and welcomed a little bit of danger. This isn't a movie, there may not be a "happily ever after," but in the words of Morgan Freeman, in one of his best of many best roles, "Get busy living or get busy dying ... That's goddamn right."