Can a New Yorker really ever go home?
We live in a 24/7 world where you can order, pay for, and walk out with a cup of coffee, oj, and an egg sandwich before the light changes. Where restaurants don’t even start to get busy until 8pm. And everyone looks amazing – at every age.
I’ve been home in Ohio for a couple weeks, and have noticed a few differences already – but not all bad.
First off, I’ve never felt better. I wake up every morning feeling rested and relaxed in place of the pain and puffiness I struggled with in my Brooklyn studio apartment. Each morning there, my eyes always looked puffy with dark circles and the right one teared up constantly regardless of the weather. For weeks before leaving New York, I woke each morning with shoulder and hamstring pain, back aches and my belly was bloated to the point that my clothes didn’t fit.
All of this disappeared – I swear – the moment I got home.
I feel great, and I look better! I attribute this “miracle” to the air, and less stress. The energy and air in New York is so toxic. I don’t think we have any idea how destructive it all really is. Until we leave.
And I’ve definitely noticed an uptick in male attention here, which could be due to a number of things including the fact that I feel better. We attract that which we feel, and excitement and hope are great attractors. Plus it’s a little like being on vacation here – I don’t plan on being here for long so my attitude and energy is lighter. An interesting thought on how to function in everyday life…
Being home has also thrust my way of living onto that of my parents, which is decidedly different from mine. I’m a take-action, problem solving New Yorker (and a Virgo). Meaning if something needs to be fixed, healed or discarded – I do it. As quickly as possible. My parents have a slower approach, which has caused more than a few minor head butts between us. Especially my much more reflective, ‘let’s pontificate on this before acting,’ father.
It’s hard for me to watch someone, anyone, struggle – especially someone I love. So when my dad repeatedly complains that he’s worn out or in pain, I want to fix it. Problem is, he doesn’t want me to. I’m not sure he even wants to fix it. So my attempts to help are seen as a nuisance.
It’s like the story one of my Kabbalah teachers told about the old woman standing at a street corner. A kind-hearted gentleman, seeing her there, insists on escorting her across the street. Despite her resistance, this good samaritan insists on walking her across that street. Problem is, she was waiting for the bus.
Help isn’t help unless it’s wanted.
I want nothing more than for my parents to be happy and heathy, for as long as humanly possible. It’s one of the reasons I came home: to spend quality time with them. My dad is turning 75 this week, and they’re celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary next month. Amazing, right?
But I’m realizing that sometimes I want more for them than they want for themselves.
Maybe it’s because I’ve yet to start my own family, and I really want my dad to be ok. I want him to walk me down the aisle and spoil my kids with ice cream sundaes and Happy Meal toys (he has a drawer full of them).
I struggle to watch him struggle.
But every time I try to help, it backfires. And I’m pretty sure my dad feels as crappy about it as I do.
This is the first year that I can remember that I’ve been home for Father’s Day. So along with the brunch and gifts, one of my gifts to him will be my pledge to do everything in my power to just let him be. Not just because I’m pretty sure it’s exactly what he wants for Father’s Day (AND his birthday, AND every day of the year…), but also because it’s good for me. To notice things that seem uncomfortable, “wrong,” or counterproductive and not react right away. All reactive behavior ever does is make a bad situation worse. So it’s good practice for me to notice and do nothing. And it’s incredibly out of my comfort zone, which spiritually is how we do the most growth. And create miracles in our lives.
So happy Father’s Day to my dad, and to all the great dad’s out there. Your love, support – and patience – has been a gift to us kids. No matter what age we are.