I was reading this month’s “Modern Luxury- Manhattan” where the theme of the month is philanthropy. I must say I rather enjoyed reading the editor’s note where she talks about taking her 6-year-old daughter to play with some of the kids at a crisis center in Harlem. Her daughter’s charisma and grace towards the other children really reinforces two lessons about enjoying life’s simplicity and not judging someone by their circumstances. It is very well written and has some great articles this month. Highly recommend reading this month’s edition if you haven’t yet.
One of the articles was by a reporter in NYC who talked about her two decade love affair with Central Park as she referred to it as “her park”. I was on the stair master when I read it and felt myself flush with a sudden burst of protection like you would if someone else called your best friend their best friend. I thought to myself, “Wait, that’s my park. Not yours. You don’t have the same connection with it that I do!”.
Central Park was one of the first places I went to when moving to the city and felt completely overwhelmed and slightly terrified. It was the first place that made me feel a sense of belonging in the city and reassurance that I was going to be all right when I felt unsure of life’s happenings and felt alone in what felt like an atmosphere of chaos. Since then, it’s the place I go to when I want to reflect, escape, or marvel in the beauty of the park. I’m part of a community where we abandon the unwritten rules of the city and smile back at each other instead of just rushing by (okay, sometimes I just smile at passing joggers regardless of the response I get out of them. I did however have a little girl scrunch her nose and grin as she exposed her two front teeth gap. Made me laugh!) Despite my overprotectiveness of my park, I read more about why the reporter joined the Central Park Conservancy and the connection she developed with the park as it gave her something to look forward to and gave her a community to be a part of when she joined the New York Runners Club. Then I realized how crazy I was to call 843 acres all mine and how wonderful it was that one place could give so much to an abundance of people as “their park”. 38 million people each year, just to throw out an idea of how many people get to enjoy this sensational place. Not that I did my research or anything.
Source: Central Park
Today “my park” took my breath away as golden leaves fell onto my beaming face, embracing the sun’s radiance while I ran along the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. I kept replaying One Republic’s “I Lived” and wishing that every day could be like this. The best day where I feel like I’m doing it all. Everything I can to make the most of life and be the happiest I can possibly be no matter what’s going on in my life.
Source: Ann Street Studio
Then I realized, every day can be like that. And even though I have faced challenges upon moving to the city and have dealt with some uncomfortable situations, I’ve still tried to make the most of what life approaches me with. I’d like to think it’s because I was raised in an environment where making the most of situations and taking every opportunity in life was encouraged. But something that not many people know is that this time last month, I was getting ready to pack up and move away from this city that has added a beautiful chapter to my life. I was frustrated and felt like I wasn’t getting out of the city what I had moved here for. I missed my family and going for coffee dates with my mom and on father-daughter date nights with my dad. I wanted to come back from my hot yoga class to the smell of Luke making his infamous French toast in the kitchen followed by playing cribbage on an actual cribbage board rather than the virtual one we make use of now. I missed hearing my sister’s laugh when we would jam out to 90’s hits in my old green Subaru with our dogs in the back seat after a long run in the Boise foothills. I wanted to feel like I knew where my life was going and I wasn’t just on this winding path where I felt no sense of direction. What I almost didn’t realize was that my negative attitude was about to cost me one of the greatest opportunities and cause me to miss out on some experiences that I wouldn’t have been able to partake in had I thrown in the towel.
Crossing off the Urbanathlon from my bucket list. Kasey, CeCe, and I had the best time running the 10 mile obstacle race through Queens as we hurdled, jumped, climbed, got kicked in the face, sprinted up Citi Field’s steps, and I even got to throw out a line that I feel should have been in a movie as I guy snapped at me to not knock him over (which I wasn’t) and I responded with “you’d have to catch up with me in order for me to knock you over!”. I showed him with my adrenaline pumping as I was determined to beat our goal of 1:30:00.
Finally finding “our spot” at Café Lalo after indulging in the best apple crumble cheesecake my taste buds have ever devoured. My belly is smiling just thinking about it! It’s the cutest little café on the UWS that serves nearly 100 different cakes, pies, tartes, and other desserts in addition to guacamole, sandwiches, cappuccinos, and wine. The music is always good and they aren’t afraid to bust it out, they have lights twinkling outside, the cheesecake it to die for, and they’re open until 4:00 am. Pretty much anything you could want for a night out with friends.
Source: Cafe Lalo Google
Being pushed off the subway by a girl who looks like she eats children’s hopes and dreams for breakfast. Okay, so this wasn’t exactly a highlight but looking back on it I am still in dismay and it’s made for a good story!
Moving into my New York dream apartment tucked away in Hell’s Kitchen with a fabulous roommate. Exposed brick (DREAM), kitchen with and island (that’s HUGE in the city) and counter space to actually cook, a closet bigger than any I even had in college, wood floors, a dining room AND a living room with a hallway (also unheard of in the city), patio with a grill, and even a rooftop. I may never leave!
But the biggest event, and something that I would have regretted later on in life had I left, was the one thing that happened that made the rest of this possible. I got an interview just when I was finalizing my plans to move back home. Not only did I get an interview, but I landed the job as the assistant to the Publisher of Women’s Health Magazine! I remember standing in the subway the day of my interview, dressed in a classic black lace dress wearing the same heels I had worn into my Miss America interview in hopes of bringing me good luck. I felt overwhelmed and found myself wondering what in the world was I supposed to do. Did I want to stay? The job was a great opportunity, but I was just getting ready to leave. Then I looked over at this guy rocking out with his headphones on just singing and dancing. He was so happy and could care less that the subway was crowded with other people looking at him. At that moment I knew this was meant to be. I wanted this job and I wanted to stay in NYC. Everything was coming together and I felt as if I finally had that direction back in life. I felt the same feeling I experience on my runs in Central Park and I knew I was meant to be part of New York City for longer because the city held a purpose for me.
Granted, most of these events don’t take place every day. But why not make every day the best day, the day where you do it all? Not literally. But where you have no regrets and make the best out of each moment.
How to wake up to the best day ever…every day
Set your alarm to something you want to wake up to
Waking up to a panic sound may wake you up. But it may not put you in the best feeling. Find a favorite song that will wake you up and also wake you up singing “I feel good…nuh nuh nuh nuhh, nuh nuh nuuuh!”
Don’t hit the snooze!
Set the alarm for when you really need to get up. Want to have a productive, good day? Then get out of bed the first time instead of making your first task of the day something that feels forced.
Wake up with a positive mantra
Have something that you tell yourself that gets you in the right mindset. Or put a picture next to your bed that does the trick for you. I tell myself “Today is going to be a beautiful day” and wake up with the attitude of trying to make it that way.
Don’t think about your to do list, until you can actually start accomplishing things on your to do list
Stressing about it starts your day off just like that, stressed. Instead, enjoy your morning routine and then get to the list. Listen to some good music while in the shower, think about what you’re blessed with while brushing your teeth instead of what you have to do during the day, and try to make the time to sit down and enjoy breakfast rather than rushing through it.
Have a filling breakfast within the first hour of waking up
Your body’s metabolism will kick in and your belly will thank you later on as a filling breakfast with roughly 450 calories, 15 g of protein, complex carbs, and good fats will prevent you from caving into unhealthy choices later on in the day and help you to focus on getting that to do list accomplished. After you enjoy your breakfast of course!
Wait an hour before having your cup of coffee
Not a morning person and feel the need to have coffee? Rather than having it immediately upon waking up, you should wait an hour as your body naturally has energy producing elements upon waking up increasing your energy when you rise out of bed.
Don’t let a misfortunate event predict the outcome of your day
Stuck in traffic? Spilt coffee over your outfit and had to change out of your favorite shirt? Have a meeting you aren’t looking forward to? Accept that it happened and move forward with the mindset that it’s not going to dictate the rest of the day’s events.
Have something to look forward to
Instead of dwelling on everything that you have to do. Think about what you get to do. Fun dinner plans that night with some friends? Friends rerun marathon that weekend? Or maybe even a trip or event in the future you have to look forward to. Remind yourself of these when you start to feel overwhelmed by those “have to do” thoughts.
Lastly, your day is what you make of it!
Positive attitudes drive a positive outlook which in return will bring a more appealing day’s worth of events!
What tricks do you have for waking up on the right side of the bed?