Courtesy of Zach Leader
Moments. Our lives are made up of a series of moments (some big, some small): the click of a coffee lid, the bang of subway doors, the innocent cackle of a toddler staring out the window at the skyline kissing the clouds. These minute spaces of time — they’re everywhere, but if you look away too quickly, they’re gone.
I can’t remember when I first fell in love with the City; if it was the idea of making something out of myself in a place filled with millions of people who have the same dreams as me, or that I could exist without being bothered by the looks of misplacement. . . .
Or maybe it was the moments. How every move and every voice seems magnified, to the point where it’s as if all these lives and all these events are happening within me — expanding. Soaking into the pores of my skin until they seep into my bloodstream.
The city lives, breathes inside of me. I can feel the evening chill wrap its arms around me (although I’m wearing a warm jacket) as the homeless couple breaks down cardboard boxes to make a bed on the park bench. I can see the hazel freckle in his eye when he looks at her as they walk hand in hand through Central Park.
I feel all this walking through the streets of New York; and it’s overwhelming and beautiful and sad. It’s life. And as I breathe in all these moments, I try to silence my mind and appreciate where I am.
Have you ever noticed how life happens, and we just forget to notice? Or we don’t care to. We’re too focused on something else, too busy moving onto the next thing.
My whole life (or for the majority of my 20 years) I’ve been obsessed with the future. I always felt there had to be something more — that what was happening now couldn’t just be it. And because of my deep seeded need to find what that was, I chose to look past the present.
I had this misconstrued, idealistic image of the future: where I would find faultless love, and always get the job at the end of the interview, and manage to find consistent happiness with no interruptions of sadness. I thought the future would change everything. That things would be better — I’d be better.
I never valued how things were, and as a result I have bad cases of nostalgia. Thinking about how I could have let him hug me longer, or stopped checking my phone during lunch with my mom, or tried talking to my Grandpa more even though Alzheimer’s wouldn’t let him remember me.
I wish I stayed in those moments longer.
The future always sounds so nice, but it’s really just this ever-changing moment that you have to keep chasing and chasing. It’s like chasing after the boy (or girl) that refuses to stay for or with you. It’s tiring, and isolating and leaves you a little more hollowed.
I’m done begging someone to stay. I’m worth more than that — I deserve more.
It took me a while, but I’ve gotten to the point where I can like where I am. And although where I am can sometimes be extremely frustrating, and saddening . . . it’s also incredible, because it’s the present and I don’t know how many more moments I’ll have.
I learned that from New York.