This morning I had a surgical procedure (nothing major), and by this afternoon I was in a bit of pain. I knew I had to relax.
And so after a work meeting and two important calls, I did something I've never done in New York City.
I walked out of my apartment with no plan.
I knew I couldn't work. The pain was getting more intense. My mom had just suggested not running to see a friend but, simply, to relax. It's warm out, I had spent hours at the hospital, and I wanted to savor the outdoors and this beautiful start to spring.
So I walked down the stairs of my apartment. With no idea where to head. I turned left, towards 6th Avenue. And because I had nowhere to be, I smiled at people as they passed by. I walked slowly. I noticed a cute toddler and stopped to talk to him, asking if he appreciated how adorable the embroidered cap he was wearing was. His dad laughed, the kid smiled, and I felt like a million dollars. I had a great conversation with this shy young kid, and I started to feel more comfortable in my skin than I have in ages. I felt - human. I felt happy simply being, rather than the pressure of always doing.
I remembered that Verizon had just opened a new store nearby, so I stopped in. And I bought something I've wanted for years. A MiFi, so I can work from Central Park. It turns out it's $10 a month. I couldn't believe it. For $10 a month you buy - freedom. The opportunity to work from hotel rooftops and parks anywhere in the country. I chatted with the Verizon guy for a while, and we smiled and laughed and introduced ourselves, and he said to come back anytime to say hi. I will. I made a friend in the neighborhood.
And then I realized where I wanted to be. Washington Square Park, just a few minutes away. I didn't have my kindle on me, and I didn't have my computer. I didn't want to tap on my phone. I simply wanted to enjoy the scenery, the students walking by talking about classwork and others looking up, like me, to enjoy the coming dusk.
I had ideas for articles I could write. I felt more relaxed than I've felt in ages. I started wondering if I could program time each day for a no-plan plan. Because, despite being in a bit of pain, my emotions felt almost ecstatic. I felt relaxed. Human. Not stressed at all. Free. And wondering how to bring back this decision, to walk with no plan, more often.