The Jump Off

I had big plans for today. I was to get up and out of the house by 10 AM. I was going to sit somewhere outside so I can take in the energy of the city while being laptop productive. I wanted to blast out my resume and troll craigslist for apartments. I was going to google an awesome place for a gourmet sammie and maybe have a glass of sauv blanc to wash it down. Instead I got out of the house by 1:45 PM after doing a quick 2 block walk to get Huxley’s heart pumping only to leave him behind the apartment he’s not quite ready to call home, albeit, a temporary home.  From the 96th street metro station, 3 blocks up from Ela’s UES (Upper East Side) apt, I take the 6th line downtown towards Brooklyn. I observe all those hopping on and off and make up stories in my head of where they are going. I get off at the Grand Central Station/42nd street exit. The station, if you haven’t seen it in person or in movies is awe inspiring.  It really is Grand and it really is Central given it’s in midtown.

I walk the steps up so I can take this photo for you all but this photo does not do it justice. I would probably have a better one but I get embarrassed being a tourist sometimes.

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I take the photo and pause for a second and marvel at the grandiosity and at all the people headed quickly in different directions around the tourists milling about snapping photos. Snapping photos like me, but unlike me, they have a New York expiration date. (Well talk to the bestie and she’ll tell you otherwise. She gave me 2 years then back to The Bay I go) It’s crazy.

I’ve never really been one to just jump in without testing the waters until the last couple of years. It was right before my 30th birthday when I decided I was going to go sky diving.  I wanted to feel alive. The only way I thought I could do that was by facing my biggest fear; heights. I can’t even stand on a balcony or a 2 foot step stool without getting anxiety. I’ve always hated roller coasters and hold railings when I walk up or down stairs. Skydiving, I thought would push me in ways that I longed for. In ways that a man or even traveling couldn’t suffice. I was terrified. I had Rochi by my side as we signed our lives away in waivers.  I don’t even remember watching a video. Maybe we did, maybe we ddn’t. I just remember thinking could I really do this? If I could do this I really could get through anything. It’s funny how when life doesn’t test you you decide you want to test yourself.

I jumped out of the plane that day. I can’t say I really enjoyed it. I was exhilarated in a way I had never been before. I was terrified beyond belief.  Afterward, I was the proudest of myself I had ever been. I faced a fear I thought I couldn’t conquer. Ever since then I continue to push myself in ways that still surprises me. I went hangliding in Brazil last October. I ran and jumped off a cliff nearly 20 stories high and landed on a beach. I fucking loved that shit. I had all the same feelings that I did when I went sky diving. But actually, at the initial jump off I was even more terrified. Unlike sky diving when I jumped off I made sure to keep my eyes open. Think about that for a minute. Picture it in your mind. Right. That feeling alone, to jump off a cliff eyes wide open, strapped to a man who barely speaks English, 20 stories high above the ground, after running about 10 feet, is the most exhilarating, stimulating, freeing, liberating feeling in the world. I jumped off and instead of hitting ground I hit the air and at once we were gliding. Again, my heart swole up with pride and I was able to love myself and who I was molding myself to be that much more.  We were flying with the birds. For reals. Fucking birds were right there with us! I looked to the left and there was the Favela I drove over yesterday while on a sightseeing tour. I looked to the right and more mountains. Below was greenery and then the beach line separated by the 2 lane road. It was magnificent. After about 10-12 mins we landed.  I couldn’t believe what I was able to witness. I felt so much more a part of the universe. This must be what the Buddhist way of “being one” meant. It was fucking awesome.

8 months later I find myself here in New York. On my way to Bryant Park. I heard they have free wifi. I’m energized because the last time I’ve been to Bryant Park was 7 or 8 years ago.  I get discombobulated as I try to figure out what exit I need to walk through in Grand Central. I accidentally walk to the exit for the Met building. I feel slightly embarrassed. Oops! I find my way out to 42nd street and holy shit it hits me, I’m in New York! Like for reals. I’ve moved here! Today is my 3rd day here but the UES doesn’t feel like New York to me. It does but doesn’t. It’s not the New York tourists picture. They picture Times Square or the Statue of Liberty. Even walking along Central Park, Museum Mile and sitting at the steps of the Met didn’t feel like New York to me as much as this moment. As I exited Grand Central, Pershing Square was directly in front of me (you know that café in that Mila Kunis and Justin Timerblake movie where she’s a headhunter and he’s a guy from Cali getting a job and they fall in love after having a friends with benes relationship? The movie ends with them 2 having a date in that café. I forget what’s it’s called. That’s not important) and I’m hit with droves of people walking the only way new Yorkers can. With purpose and efficiency.

I walk along past Madison to Park Ave. I go left and there to my right is the New York Public Library. It’s beautiful. I walk through the park and all the people sitting in chairs along the outer edges. I think to myself. How the fuck am I going to find a place to sit? I find a good place overlooking the back of the library and the park and bust out the trusty MacBook Air that was part of my consolation prize for being “laid off” at Appcelerator. Assholes. But fuck, I forgot to get a drink. Dammit. Now I screwed because I don’t want to lose my awesome seat. So here I am thirsty as shit. I already moved here knowing full well I was giving up space; personal, mental, etc. I was not going to give up my prime location in Bryant Park esp when it’s crowded as fuck.

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Ok, it’s time to find my next stop.  I really deserve the cold glass of wine that’s coming to me. After all, I have decided to jump again, although metaphorically, I’ve jumped nonetheless. I’m left again to trust in myself and the decision I’ve made because there’s no turning back. I may not have been as productive as I wanted to be today but it was a great day. I’m here in New York and I’m fucking exhilarated. .

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