Drastic change came knocking on my door recently; I will soon be leaving New York City — my home for over a year — to return to California. This change, this goodbye, will not be an easy one. I have felt a connectedness with this electrifying city and the interesting, talented and kind people in it, and I will, undoubtedly, leave a piece of my soul here. But with this departure comes an opportunity to move forward… it is truly bittersweet. We all have different ways of bidding farewell, of gaining closure: Hugs, cards, toasts, conversation; for me, it’s going through old photos and remembering the stories that made me laugh and sometimes cry. In the spirit of embracing change, I’d love to share a few of these memories with you. Welcome to my New York chapter:
Little Pond Campground, New York: My boyfriend and I went camping at this campground upstate for July 4th weekend. We raced to beat the rush hour traffic to get up there before a predicted storm was supposed to hit. The sun was going down quick as the clouds started to roll in. Well, wouldn’t you know it, but just as we pulled into our camp site, the raindrops started falling. We ended up setting up our tent in the pouring rain, running back and forth from the car, sliding in the mud the whole way. After our humble abode was upright and standing, we opened up the hatchback and used it as a roof from the rain. We grilled veggies, read books, and laughed the night away. Morning came quickly, and with it was the beautiful, beaming, bright sun. The skies were a cloudless, rich blue. That day was spent hiking to waterfalls, through lush meadows, and catching newts in the pond. It couldn’t get any better.
A road trip to Bethel, New York: With living in New York, sometimes comes a need to escape the restless city. One of those times came in November, 2013. We headed out to discover the town of Bethel, where the famous 1969 music festival, Woodstock, took place. I am an avid music fan, especially of the 1960s and 1970s, so I was maniacally excited to see the historic hill where it all took place. Upon arrival, I was instantly awestruck — totally quiet but on the inside I was screaming. We parked the car and sat in silence for awhile. As I got out, I closed the door slowly behind me, so as to not disturb the heavy presence of this magical place. I stared out at the field, now covered in seasonal snow, and imagined Jimi and Janis where the stage would have been. We sat there for nearly an hour trying to take in the history of what was before us. I still get chills thinking about it.
Central Park afternoons: Central Park is massive, first and foremost, but it is also holds the undeniable charm of a small neighborhood park. One of my favorite memories includes the warm evening air, the buildings reflecting against the still, green lake… and a raccoon. After work, we walked to Central Park to indulge in the warm weather and relax next to one of the many lakes. We sat there for awhile, staring at the tall buildings standing strong against the blue sky. Everything seemed perfect. Suddenly we heard a crack next to us and a raccoon (a RACCOON!) emerged toward us from the bushes. I’ve never hightailed it out of a seated position faster. It is a park, after all!
My roof, Alphabet City, New York: You might think this one doesn’t count but, man, does it. Many-a-times were spent on the roof of my apartment building. It wasn’t the most glorious view of Manhattan but it was my view. It was personal to me. I read through books up there and held picnics during the spring, summer, and fall. In the winter, it was an escape to breathe the fresh, cold air. It was a personal place of calm for me. But now, as I write this on my roof, I am excited to think about what this next chapter will hold.
Change is inevitable in this beautiful journey called life. We learn to roll with the punches, look back on old memories with an open heart, and eagerly pursue the new.
+ What are some ways that you have handled change in your life?
Follow fp joanna on Instagram.