"I need you to do something for me." Sam said, as I was leaving to go reunite with my former LA roommate. "I need you to be good to yourself and have some fun." I nodded and left for Grand Central.
Walking towards the entrance, I kept thinking about Sam, a veteran of life that just sat before me and explained that decades come and go, but challenging times will always be a part of life.
Being that this year has been a hell of a roller coaster, I wasn't sure what was going to happen when my former classmate (-LA roommate/ west coast BFF) meet, eye to eye, for the first time in years. Was I going to greet her with sheer happiness? Or was I going to cry into her arms and instantly reminisce of a time where life seemed so much simpler being that my goals and expectations were non-existent?
The moment we saw each other, we were both elated. In an instant,it was evident that our lives may be totally different now, but we remained the same.
If anyone could make anything happen with limited time and resources, it was Hope...A trait that I had the privilege of observing when we were roomies. With that said, there was something that was seriously plaguing me...an element of creativity that I can't seem to crack...
And that would be baking...
I may have been experimenting with the art of baking, but she was always the baking expert. As we gathered the limited, pre-purchased, ingredients, the old school magic began to unfold.
Our homemade glazed pumpkin cookies were developed to perfection! Hope figured out that my oven has been trying to tell me that it's small, therefor it heats up really fast.
Sadly though, we were too engaged by the warmth and smell of the freshly ground cinnamon, sugar and almond butter, to bother writing down our new found recipe.
Trust me those warm, fluffy, flavorful cookies are making me regret it...
Our self-pampering journey continued the next day when I introduced her to hot yoga. It had been years since I've taken a class and as uncomfortable as the practice can be in a 105 degree room, the feeling of cleansing and relaxation helped me realize how much I need this practice.
Hope continued the inspiration of doings out of the ordinary things by taking full reigns of our schedule and reaching out to our beloved former classmates. I'm sorry to say, I haven't reached out to them in years...perhaps I hid from them while I was trying to put out the flames of my work that was going up in smoke?
Hope made the calls and we reunited with these artists, these incredible individuals who stood by us from the beginning of our journey into New York. And 14 years later these individuals still have so much to offer.
It then hit me. I have fallen into the mercy and the addiction of being engaged in my laptop the majority of my present life to find opportunities, to better my situation that I completely forgotten about my need to interact with people, face to face, who would provide support and understanding through the ups and downs of this artistic life. And right on key, Hope turned to me and said "I feel you have been isolating yourself. You're in New York, there's no need to do that." In the presence of friends, from being treated to "Sleep No More", to the deep conversations on the streets of East Village, just hours before dawn, I could no longer turn a blind eye to her honesty that had been left unacknowledged for so long.
Within the final hours of Hope's departure, we picked up pasteries from a Mom and Pop bakery near Central Park.
Unlike the chilly, dark drizzling clouds dominating the weather, like the days before, the sun was shining at full force. We came to a stand still as we lounged in the park just thinking about the the week that awaits us. She was going back to her home and tending to her business in Ohio. My husband would be coming home soon and it's back to the hustle and bustle of my daily life.
After she boarded the bus heading for the airport, I went back to my apartment and for once, I didn't grab for my laptop upon entering. For once, I took the time to call some friends to play catch up. I cuddled up with a blanket and watched the sunset from my bedroom. The moment the sun fell behind the view of New Jersey, I went into the living room and grabbed a pumpkin cookie. And as I bit into the fluffy texture, I realized that yes, I have been good to myself and I did have fun.
And when my husband walked through the door to find me at peace, I could tell this was a rarity in his eyes.
...Peace...everything that Sam said to me suddenly began to connect...
Yes, there are going to be moments of happiness and hardships throughout life, but this weekend showed me that I am quite lucky. Why? Because, by choice, there are people in my life that remind me how far I have come. They will be there for support. They will do what it takes to raise me up because of the person they see in me...
...And these people are called my friends.