I’m sitting in a plastic chair outside the terminal A gates at Newark airport. It’s chilly inside; the recycled air feels both stale and cold. It’s barely 7 AM. The early morning energy at the airport is nice—despite not being my top choice of places to sit, I like the bustle of travel around me. At this time of day, people aren’t yet harried and exhausted—they’re all intent on getting somewhere, all purposeful and excited or focused and rushed. The people-watching is excellent. I wait for my cup of hot water with lemon (a safe bet while traveling) and watch people order. The world of early-morning coffee and breakfast orders in an airport is a fascinating microcosm—some people, barely awake and still sleepy-eyed, stick with coffee and milk. One woman opts for some sort of whipped cream-topped caramel-spiked macchiato. Two teenage boys ask for breakfast sandwiches with bacon and cheddar and chocolate croissants and hot chocolates. I suspect they’ll be hungry again within an hour.
Here’s my new productivity plan: Tackle one small thing a day. Lately, that’s been cleaning my space in miniature increments (as in, one drawer at a time)—but I’m finding it to be incredibly effective. In the past, my productivity plan often looked something like this: Make a very long list of all the things you possibly could and should be doing, including but not limited to large, random life tasks like filing your insurance claims, fixing your water meter, writing thank you notes, and remembering to meditate. Of course, I’d also pile on all my work to-dos, and then my personal work to-dos (go write a book proposal! while you’re at it, remember the blog you write?).
I’ll say this about happiness: it doesn’t always come from the places you expect. In fact, sometimes it comes from entirely unexpected places, or places that you firmly believed could not—and would not—lead to anything but upheaval. That’s one of the best kinds of happiness—the kind that bubbles up and surprises you, effervescent and sparkly and impossible to not succumb to, like that second when you pop a bottle of Champagne and the liquid streams out like gold confetti.
Well hello there, it’s been a minute hasn’t it? You’ll forgive me for not writing for a bit. I’ve been all over the place—from a quick jaunt to Italy (okay, just kidding it was nearly a week but I just wanted to try out saying “quick jaunt to Italy”, similar to how I’d like to say “had dinner al fresco at George’s villa”) to a couple days celebrating my 10th college reunion (YOU DO THE MATH OKAY).
The thermostat in my apartment reads 83 degrees when I walk in the door on Monday evening. My feet ache from walking around the city in the heat all afternoon. I drop my bags, strip off my clothes, and toss them in the washing machine before going upstairs to shower. Outside, all the sidewalk cafes are bustling and packed, as if the population has swelled to twice its regular size overnight.
If I have to do lengthy travel (a drive of more than three hours or a train ride further than a few stops), I like to do it on gray, drizzly days. This makes being tucked into a train seat or behind the wheel of a car feel cozy, rather than suffocating. On brilliantly sunny days, I just wish I could be outside breathing fresh air and walking barefoot in the grass. (Note: This does not apply to short drives in nice weather, which is actually one of life’s great pleasures and involves loud and enthusiastic car singing.)
It’s already Sunday but it feels like the weekend has stretched for a week, in the nicest way. The first few truly sunny days of summer are such a novelty still—each one has a delicious newness to it, which gives time an elasticity such that a single weekend feels like a week-long vacation. All the things that become routine once summer really sets in are still fresh. I haven’t gone swimming every morning yet, or had dozens of cold brew iced coffees, or gotten multiple sunburns from too many hours at the beach.
I’m not a big bourbon fan. Actually, I’ll go even further and say that brown liquor is not my drink of choice—be it rum or whisky or scotch. (Between you and me, I entered a tequila phase about five years ago and I don’t think I’ll ever go back. Because, margaritas.)
Most weekday afternoons, I take the subway down from my apartment to Soho. I get on the 2,3 express train, switching to the local at 14th Street, and exit at the Houston stop. I walk two blocks to the quiet block of Sullivan Street just north of Prince, which is shaded by trees and lined with brick apartment buildings, their exteriors ribboned with the iron grates of fire escapes, that wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of Friends. It’s a comforting snippet of the city, one that feels oddly neighborhood-like despite its proximity to the grit and noise of the NYU area.
The entire world seems to be glowing with green these days—there’s been so much rain everywhere. Central Park is a riot of vivid jewel-tones, between the grassy lawns and the stately canopy of trees that line the cobblestone sidewalk of Fifth Avenue. I went home to the farm for the weekend; as we turned down the long driveway, the rolling hills of the farm were laid out in front of us, in various shades of dark green, pale green, and bright green. The cow pasture, the tops of the trees in the woods beyond the stream, the high grass of the field above the ponds…all green. (This is the farm where I grew up—the namesake of this blog and where my parents still live, and I still—and forever—will call home no matter where I live.)