Despite being on crutches two weeks prior to my trip, this year I spent my birthday stomping and romping around the streets of NYC care and crutch-free. While knowing I would likely pay for that decision later in the form of a swollen ankle and leg, my adventures in The Big Apple, as always, were totally worth it.
After arriving, we began our trip as most tourists do when they reach their destination; lost. A quiet young man (who we thought might actually be trying to kidnap us) scooped us up from the airport and drove us to the hotel. When he heard Siri so eloquently state from my friend's phone, "Take the next exit to..." he seemingly decided we weren't the kidnapping type. Whew.
I'm always comforted by the inexplicable sense of belonging I get each time I return to the city. After dropping off our bags at the hotel, we did a little shopping, caught a tiny moment of rest, then began the process of getting all dolled up for dinner and a show. But this wasn't just ANY show...THIS was The Color Purple. Since this is not an attempt to write a review of the spectacular performances of the current cast members of the show, I'll simply sum it up by saying it was beyond amazing, moving, and the most remarkable show I've ever seen!!!
Now, on to what was for me, the other highlight of the trip and the inspiration behind this post. Saturday afternoon we sluggishly pulled ourselves out of bed and decided (I decided) to go Central Park. I have always been a lover of Alice in Wonderland, and I was determined to make it to the park to take a picture with the statue. We hopped on the subway and the chase was on. Moments later, we were in Central Park, and even with an app downloaded on my phone, and a paper map in hand...I couldn't find Alice! I could tell my comrades were a little tired and a little cold. I was just about ready to give up when my cousin, who always finds a way to be inspirational when you least expect it, said, "No. You came to find Alice, so we're going to find her," and everyone who knows her knows there's just no arguing with that.
Spirit and optimism renewed *cue Eye of the Tiger* by her few short words, we headed in the other direction (don't trust apps), got some confirmation that we were almost there from a guy on a bike, stopped to admire the beautiful, newly bloomed cherry blossoms, passed the motorized boats gliding along the water in front of Kerbs Boathouse, AND FINALLY FOUND ALICE. Although she was littered with climbing kids and families trying to get pictures, I didn't care. I made it and waited for the children to disperse. I looked happy, didn't I? SAY CHEESE!
Although she likely didn't realize it then, my cousin's words not only reignited my interest in making it to the statue, but they have remained with me since she uttered them. How often do we begin a journey or quest to accomplish something we really want to do, only to be turned around by a fear of not making it, or become discouraged because we simply got lost along the way? What would happen if I applied a "No. You came to find Alice," mantra to every situation that resulted in the feeling of possible defeat? Lately, I've been able to apply it to my writing and I'm amazed at what I've been able to get done.
Saturday concluded with dinner at Junior's in Times Square. I ate more dessert than actual food, but they let me do so without a lecture because as far as I was concerned, it was still my birthday. Sunday morning we hopped back on the subway to chase Alice once more, which landed us in a quaint little restaurant and cafe not far from Central Park called Alice's Tea Cup Chapter I. Since NYC will always be a bit of a wonderland to me, I guess this year's birthday adventures will serve as one trip down the rabbit hole to remember!