Happiness Highlights: New York City

I Heart NY

I believe that the search for happiness is, mostly, an internal pursuit. It’s less about the world around you and more about the way you see yourself inside that world. But that belief was challenged mightily this week.

This week, I woke up every morning across the river from New York City, and somehow knowing that made me happy. More than happy, I felt lighter and more alive than I have upon waking up in any other place.

It makes no sense. Before I’d stepped one foot into Manhattan, my cells were already humming from the energy; my pieces all clicked into place perfectly the moment I did. I kept waiting for the novelty to wear off, for reality and sensibility to resurface. My girlhood love affair with the idea of New York City should have faded long ago, and yet this geographical place completes me as much as any person or purpose ever has.

I don’t get it, but I know it’s true.

New York City 144 This week was the first time I got to share the city I love with the people I love. Jared and I have visited together twice before, but this was the first time the kids had been in New York City. I was unprepared for how blissful it would be to see them all on those busy streets. I have taken shamefully few photos, but I can’t stop looking at my family and my city long enough to lift my camera to my eye. I can’t stop soaking it up, breathing it in, and marveling at how every part of me sings when I – when we – are here.

We’re scheduled to be here until the 23rd of August, and I am already reluctant to leave. I am working to focus on the now instead of the inevitable departure, and we remind each other daily that we have a whole lot of country left to see before we choose the next adventure. But oh how I am tempted to skim apartment listings online. It’s as if a mighty ship has been slowly righting its course and the new horizon can finally be seen across the rail. But there is still much sailing and rerouting to be done, I tell myself.

I have to constantly temper my happiness here, a statement I am loathe to write because it stinks of wrongness. But it would be so easy for me to lose myself in it completely and lose sight of reality entirely. Perhaps I am just not ready to trust that kind of happy yet. Perhaps it’s just not time.

Regardless, this week has been one overflowing with joy. I worked in a Starbucks one afternoon and met my family in Central Park afterwards.

I worked in a Starbucks one afternoon and met my family in Central Park afterwards.

That reality dazzles me.

This week will, no doubt, be filled with more happiness. And I will not think about the impending departure. Not yet.


Are you in New York City? (Lucky!) I’m getting together Wednesday night at 7pm with friends in the area and would happily welcome you to the table. Contact me if you’d like details.

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  1. Joy says:

    NYC is to you what Paris is to me. I understand. Completely.

  2. For me it’s Hawaii. Not the beach so much, it’s the language, the music, the Hula.
    I believe we have “second” homes that sing to our hearts like no other place. We may not have been born there, or even live there but they are extra special somehow. I’ve considered living in Hawaii, but don’t know if that would burst the bubble. Maybe I just want to have Hawaii on the side. ;-)

  3. naomi says:

    I get that. I have a place that is your NYC.

    (Wait a minute though … worked in a Starbucks one afternoon? Can you ‘splain that please? Curious!)

  4. Rachel says:

    I agree with the previous comment. When I first read that sentence: “I worked in a Starbucks one morning” I thought you had become a barista for a day. What fun would that be!

    I do love NY and I agree that there is some kind of amazing energy there that you just don’t find anywhere else in the world.

    For me, the place I always feel at home is Boone, NC in the mountains of Western NC. We lived there for 2 years while I was in graduate school. The small college town has a small community feel but the college adds an element of culture that enriches all aspects of life there. The weather is probably the closest thing to perfect this side of Hawaii (very temperate most of the year) and I was always a 15 minute drive from Blue Ridge Parkway hiking trails. Every time I go back to visit, I feel like I am “home”. Enjoy the rest of your time in the city that doesn’t sleep.

  5. Megan says:

    Now is all you have. Now. Live it. Tomorrow will be whatever it is. And New York will wait for you.

  6. Kate Hayes says:

    Awesome. Your happiness is almost contagious – I can feel it oozing out of my computer screen. I wish I felt that way about a place. I do love my current home (Boston), but not THAT much. And there’s just not enough going on in my hometown (St. Louis). Paris has probably been my favorite city so far, but I know I couldn’t convince my hubby to move there. Maybe we just haven’t found the right place yet…

  7. Poppy says:

    It really is a magical place. I saw that you were checked into Union Square and almost invited you down to see me, but realized you had bee there 4 hours earlier. Darn.

  8. Karen says:

    you know what, you are doing such a wonderful thing traveling like this with your family with you being able to make your living from the road. your adventures (there are lots more coming) will take you other places that you will love, and ultimately when your year is up (are you going to charleston SC? you have to) you guys can decide where you want to settle.

    you are living my dream! how fun. the city really grabs you doesn’t it?

  9. Sodapop says:

    There is something electric about NYC. I’ve been there twice and besides Hawaii, it is sitting #1 on my favorite places to be. I sometimes look through job listings and apartment listings, just for shits and giggles. It’s a nice dream for me to have of one day living there.

    Enjoy it while you’re there and make the most of it. If it’s meant to be, you’ll end up back there permanently I think.

  10. John Wallace says:

    Take in a Yankees game – you’ll all love that, ride the Staten Island Ferry (cheap and great view), and enjoy. NYC can be an expensive addiction but it’s not Iowa, or Orlando for that matter.

  11. I have never made it to NYC. A few years ago I was at a week-long training over in Jersey and I spearheaded a group renting a car/driver on the Thursday evening to go into the city for a whirlwind evening. By Wednesday I was sick as a dog with major bronchitis and couldn’t even get out of the bed! So, alas I have not made it yet! But I hope to soon,
    Call me crazy, but being in Times Square on New Years Eve in on my bucket list.
    Have fun Britt!
    Resources for managing your home, family and life

  12. the muskrat says:

    Wish I were there to meet you Wednesday!

  13. Connie says:

    Ah, NYC. My heart of hearts. I miss living in that city and just feeding off the energy. Glad to hear that you’re feeling the same way about it!

  14. martymankins says:

    It’s been almost 5 years since I was last in NYC and I miss it so much whenever I see others visiting the city.

  15. It brings back happy memories.I was living in New York for 12 years.3 years in Manhattan and 9 years in Queens.I had a blast.I still go to visit New York on and off.Their is no city like New York.I have been to many countries in the world.

  16. [...] week we were still in New York City, a gift I will forever be grateful for no matter where this trip or this life takes us. Two weeks [...]

  17. funny to see so many hawaii comments. i have family there and have ZERO desire to move there. pittsburgh is perfect for me, i feel best when i am here. i love that you know where it is that makes you happy just being, just breathing.

    i’m curious, have the kids expressed the same wonder and wow over nyc that you have? or is it too soon to tell if their reaction to new york is different than any other place you have been?

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