“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
I want to tell you about the last few years. I want to tell you about a whirlwind of life lived in one of the greatest cities on earth. I want to tell you about events and people and intrigue and passion and parties and shows and dinners and so many bright, bright, bright and shining lights.
I want to tell you about conversations at hidden cafes that were wine-soaked and probing, and I want to tell you of terrible first dates and wonderful second kisses and heartbreaking good-byes. I want to tell you of jazz and low lights and packed dance floors and quiet walks and sun-kissed mornings in Central Park and those almond cookies from Citarella on W 75th. I want to tell you about mysterious evenings and stinky subways and walks by the pier at night - or was it morning? - and I want to tell you of VIP access and 4 am DJs and dancing on tables and elbows on tables and then I want to tell you about leaning in at so many meetings at so many tables only to find that leaning in can be ... perilous. Sometimes.
I want to tell you about union contracts and construction culture and big projects and city inspectors and permits and politics and cranes that fill a city block and policies and protests and people in the streets and the way it feels to walk with people who are shouting for something you also believe in. I want to tell you about parades and fundraisers and silliness and laughter and pain and secrets and breakfast in Harlem. I want to tell you about the Appolo and the feeling of sitting where so many legends have been, and I want to tell you that history is a living, breathing, sighing thing.
I want to tell you about Yankee Stadium and Citifield and baseball and hot dogs and the whole thing. I want to tell you about a football game at West Point and how beautiful it is up there and a road trip to the Catskills and a cabin with a view and the beauty of privacy. And escape.
I want to tell you about Hudson Malone on E 53nd and how the mac and cheese really does go well with good wine. And the strange bookstore down the block from it that sells crystals and chimes and books about things like Astrology and the infinite ways to think about God. And I want to tell you about Dainichi the Tarot reader at Flowlife Holistic Lounge and how he somehow always has a ten-minute opening whenever I swing by. I want to tell you about sunny afternoons in SoHo and how it really is as fun as it looks in the movies.
I want to tell you about pizza with my mom on teh Upper West Side and that Brazilian woman Luana who made me feel like Portuguese may come back to me again one day. And I want to tell you about going out to Queens - or was it someplace in Brooklyn - with Hilary and Don that day to wait for a slice of magical, must-be-hunted-down pizza perfection. I want to tell you how we window shopped and wandered and found a store filled with amazing pickled everything while we waited over an hour for one fresh slice.
Did you know pickled mangoes are delicious and strange?
I want to tell you about a little too much whiskey and a long balmy walk home linked in the arms of friends talking nonsense and laughing. I want to tell you about working in public health and social service and learning the gift it truly is to live compassion and service through your daily work. I have seen it. I want to tell you about the amazing human beings working hard at a dream of changing the world, and I want to tell you that you have every reason to hold onto hope that things can get better, because there is an army of people out there making things better. I want to tell you about executives who still really care, and I want to tell you about the front line heroes who spend every day working to create what they believe in.
I want to tell you about the people I have met who would be justified if they turned their backs on life and gave up and hated everyone but who bring smiles and light and compassion and forgiveness and laughter to their days instead.
I want to tell you about power and how it doesn't live where you would expect.
I want to tell you about museums and last minute tickets to interesting shows and sitting at tables with celebrities who really are just people after all, and I want to tell you about 5-star restaurants and how it really is a great thing to take a date somewhere fancy and wow them. I want to tell you about freezing winters and sticky hot humid summers and outdoor concerts and so many people and, of course, fashion. I want to tell you about the A train at rush hour and how it actually feels slower sometimes to go express, and I want to tell you about love and how it can find you in the most unexpected and beautiful ways.
I want to tell you about forgiveness that doesn't arrive all at once but reveals itself slowly, ever so slowly against the backdrop of so many days lived between the thing that hurt and the healing. I want to tell you about change and how it isn't something you have to mean to do. Even if you don't mean to, you will always change.
I want to tell you about going back to where you came from to find that everything is always the same and everything is also always new. I want to tell you about how terrifying it is that you can always return but you can never go back. The trains keep moving. You step on or you step off, but they keep moving, and they never go back. And sometimes, by some fun miracle, you end up stepping off a train to discover you are on the platform with someone you had said farewell to so many lifetimes ago. And you say hello and maybe even jump on a new train together. Or maybe not.
I want to tell you how art is like oxygen, and I want to tell you it's possible to live a life you didn't plan and really, really like it. I want to tell you it's possible to lose everything many times over and still survive because life continues to have more waiting for you. And somehow, no matter how scary it may feel every single time, I want to tell you to reach back when life reaches for you.
I want to tell you to say yes to the adventure.