The Happiness Challenge, The First Week in the Second Year of The New Abnormal
I subscribe to The New York Times. As an online subscriber I often miss stories and articles that are of interest to me. However, I was fortunate enough to receive the Happiness Challenge of this last week. It wasn’t an outsized commitment but small acts of recognition and gratitude.
So Long 2022, Year Two in the New Abnormal
Here we are as we move away from 2022 to 2023. It’s the weekend. It’s also a milestone in the annual calendar.
One thing I know for sure is that as much as we hope and try, mistakes will be made this coming year. We might prefer to forget the hardships of the last three years, but we’re still recovering. We may want to reach new goals, or old goals yet to be achieved. Hopefully we’ll get there, but the challenges and lessons along the way may not be easy. As we work on being better and doing better, they’ll be disappointments and setbacks.
The Compassion Diet, Week Fifty-Two in the New Abnormal
Should we end this year and start the new year with resolutions? For me, the answer is no. I will think of what I’d like to let go of, and how I will be caring to myself and others, but there is no declaration in that. What I have been thinking about as I view commercials and advertisements enticing us to try new weight loss pills and programs is the mixed up past I, and so many of us, have had with messaging around food, eating, and the lack of joy in caring for ourselves. In the spirit of that, I am thinking of a diet of compassion. Not a food diet, but nourishment, nonetheless.
Lost Gloves, Week Fifty-One in the New Abnormal
I’m going to think of my gloves as rentals. No matter what I pay, and how I try to keep them deep in my pockets when they are off my hands, I seem to lose one or more throughout the winter-wear season. Say what you will about gloves, they undoubtedly lack permanence. I suppose we could say that about life itself.
Emotions During the Holidays, Week Fifty in the New Abnormal
I was in an emotional tailspin earlier this week. I could tell I wasn’t in the right headspace as I kept thinking of past mistakes I’ve made, times I’ve previously hurt friends, and ways in which I had poor judgement. I was not coming out a champ. More like a chump. The negative barrage is not unfamiliar, but it happens less often than in former years. By Tuesday, I knew that I needed to clear my head so there’d be space for self-care and kindness. Luckily, I had my weekly therapy session.
A Pile of New Yorkers, Week Forty-Nine in the New Abnormal
I made it to page 50 of the New Yorker with the promise of a poem on the next page. Of course, this is the November 14th Issue, which may seem to indicate I’m a month behind. Not so, since I arbitrarily picked it up from a pile that goes back to issues from last year, I now am down to eleven unread issues. This is my ongoing plight with New Yorkers. My pile expands or contracts based on what’s happening any given week.
Bargains Abound, Week Forty-Eight in the New Abnormal
I just deleted 129 emails from my inbox. I’m not that popular, it’s simply that retailers with black Friday weekend deals want my money. Some of the emails remind me that I looked at something I chose not to buy in case I need to see it again. I do not.
Arrgg, Change; Week Forty-Seven in the New Abnormal
A couple of days ago I installed an iPhone update. I find this new format annoying. I get it, things change. But sometimes the changes come all at once and too fast. I just wasn’t ready for a new change, small as it is.
Window Dressing, Week Forty-Six in the New Abnormal
I have always found great pleasure in walking the city streets. Throughout my 43 years in New York City, I’ve seen a lot. And, yet, I always find something new. This past week I started to notice the ubiquitous iron work on so many buildings and railings. There’s a long history, centuries old, of metal and iron works. On closer inspection there are common patterns. Chances are they’re cheap. But not all buildings have the less expensive options. There are stunning pieces of craftsmanship.
Marathon Weekend, Week Forty-Five in the New Abnormal
The streets are brimming with runners. It’s the first November weekend, which means daylight-savings-time along with the New York City Marathon. Friday, while walking through Central Park, I came across a rally. It was a celebration of all the countries represented in the marathon. There were flags and delegates from 140 nations.
Halloween Weekend, Week Forty-Four in the New Abnormal
It’s Halloween Weekend and the city is ready for the many trick or treaters at every age. As a child of the sixties our Halloween was comprised of a trip to Kiddie City to pick out a cardboard box with a clear window displaying the plastic mask with a thin mouth opening with two nostril holes for labored breathing that allowed for a muffled song of “trick or treat” at the door of kind home-owners who distributed candy, both great and questionable. My favorite candy were plain Hershey chocolate bars, M&Ms, Twizzlers, or Good and Plenty. I was not a fan of the chalky Necco Wafers or boxes of raisins. We had plenty of fruit and raisins in our home, so I was on the lookout for forbidden treats that I would hide in the back of my closet.
Chasing Colors, Week Forty-Three in the New Abnormal
Manhattan is slower to display the vibrant array of Autumn colors associated with this season. I had planned to leave the city to enjoy the same lush views that friends had posted in their feeds. That never happened so I opted to wait for our city’s briefer period of transformation. It has yet to fully show itself. However, my walk to the North Woods in Central Park gave me a glimpse of what’s to come. The North Woods themselves are still greenish. But the walk to and from the north end of the park gifted me with moments of yellows, oranges and reds.
Busy or Not; Week Forty-Two in the New Abnormal
As Autumn has created an uptick in activity, I am both excited to get out more and apprehensive as well. The surprising outcome of the pandemic was that I enjoyed my quiet time. What was surprising about it was that I lived a busy life and enjoyed juggling a schedule that allowed me to partake in the best New York City offers. The theater and museums were a mainstay for me. When everything shut down, I questioned how I would get on. The answer was very well.
Make it Quick, Week Forty-One in the New Abnormal
Happy Jewish New Year, Week Thirty-Nine in the New Abnormal
The Hebrew Year 5783 is upon us. It’s a celebration of new beginnings. Sometimes called the great reset. We have a tradition of bringing bread crumbs, which symbolize our sins, down to the river to release them so we can start anew. For me the letting go of the recent past to move on is an unburdening. It’s a kindness we can give ourselves in letting go of what we deem to be opposed to our values. It’s a personal forgiveness so we can live better lives through right action.
Life is Beautiful, Living is Hard; Week Thirty-Eight in the New Abnormal
I woke up this morning to a stunning sunrise. I slept well and was in a better mood than I had been the last couple of days. Sunrises bring hope. They help me to begin the day with gratitude. The day is lovely. It’s warm enough to avoid outwear, but cool enough to enjoy the breezes on my walk. The outdoor cafes are filled with happy brunch diners. The city is moving along nicely.
Another Year Older, Week Thirty-Five in the New Abnormal
Today I turn 63. In my 20s and 30s I wanted a lot of celebrating. By 40, after I started my present career as a psychotherapist, low key became my preferred option. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted recognition. Sometimes, I say with some embarrassment, I demanded recognition. But smaller became better for me. Today I took myself to the Bronx to walk among the August flowers at the New York Botanical Gardens.
Scaffolding, Week Thirty-Four in the New Abnormal
Pre-Covid, I took a wonderful writing workshop with Emily Raboteau at the Key West Writer’s Workshop. Not only was it a beautiful setting, but the guest speakers and the workshop itself were invaluable. One thing Professor Raboteau taught us was the necessity of proper scaffolding to support the writing. It took time, but I built my scaffolding. It’s been more precarious than proper, but I worked with the materials at hand and I’m finding my way.
A Good Morning, Week Thirty-Three in the New Abnormal
Bears of Central Park, Week Thirty-Two in the New Abnormal
I entered Central Park at 79th Street. The small, seated area was cordoned off so that Central Park Conservancy workers could clean the sculpture of the bear trio that adorns a circular inlet. I had never seen the careful scrubbing of the artwork and appreciated how diligently they were working to rid the bears of debris. The park is as beautiful as it is thanks to Conservancy employees and a myriad of volunteers who work assiduously to ensure that we can all enjoy all the Park offers.