Thursday, November 4, 2010

Things I Take for Granted

We all take things for granted. Usually, the universe has elbow us sharply in the ribs before we look around and realize, "Gee, this part of my life is actually really great! Why didn't I appreciate it before?" Sometimes, we are lucky, though, and the reminder is a little gentler. We walk outside and smell crisp fall leaves or taste an exquisite piece of dark chocolate, and suddenly everything becomes more vivid, and we realize we have been dreamwalking through our lives.

For instance, I take living in-and-near NYC completely for granted. In fact, I ignore it on a daily basis. On a recent bicycle ride along the Hudson, I had one of those "Zen" moments in which I suddenly thought, "Gosh I am lucky to be living here. People travel from all over the world to see this place, and I don't even really look at it."

Things I take for granted include (but are not limited to):

  • A breathtaking panoramic view of the NYC skyline from the sidewalk immediately behind my office. Also visible approximately 4 blocks from my apartment.
  • Living within 0.5 miles of a state park. In such a cosmopolitan location, and for an active person like myself, this is truly a blessing.
  • Walking only 10-15 minutes to reach a major grocery store. Sure, it would be nice to drive when I am stuck carrying a gallon of milk, a carton of orange juice, a sack of flour, and twelve different canned goods, but I would trade mandatory driving for mandatory walking any day of the week. Even in the rain.
  • Commuting for only 25 minutes by public transit or 45 minutes walking to and from work. Some people spend three times that just sitting in traffic. I am spoiled.
  • The availability of virtually any kind of food, on any day of the week, at any time of day. And I love foreign food.
  • Easy, available, fast transportation to nearby cities. You can choose from at least five different bus companies to travel to Washington DC, Philadelphia, or Boston; you can take a passenger train to virtually any state in New England; and you can fly to pretty much anywhere in the world from La Guardia, John F. Kennedy, or Newark airport!
  • The opportunity to meet world-class athletes face-to-face. I have met swimmers who are training for and/or have completed the English Channel swim, internationally competitive cyclists, and Ironman finishers. Nowhere else in the world would I find such a concentrated group of amazing athletes living, training, and interacting with every-day people like me.


kd said...

okay. this gave me some NYC cravings ;) It is good to intentionally appreciate things when we're not always satisfied with where we are, isn't it? Such a challenge for some of us :) And I so miss the walking everywhere piece. Omaha is a traffic nightmere as far as I'm concerned. And they drive way worse than NYers. Weird right? I feel like people that love to drive everywhere simply haven't lived in the type of community where they don't have to. I mean, walk to the grocery store, library, pharmacy, synagogue, hardware store....yes please!

Anonymous said...

Great reflections at a time for Thanksgiving.