"Our life together, is so precious, together.
We have grown. Oh we have grown.
Although our love is still special,
Let's take a chance and fly away
-="(Just Like) Starting Over" John Lennon
We woke up later than we wanted to on Saturday, and so began one of the most beautiful days I've ever had.
The 9th of October is our wedding anniversary. We picked the day, because we're John Lennon fans, and the 9th of October is also his birthday. One of the reasons we picked the timing for our trip is because we wanted to be in New York City to celebrate what would have been his 70th birthday with other Lennon fans. This makes us uber nerds, but completely lovable, right?
We began our day by heading over to the Dakota building, where John Lennon lived with his family. (Also where Polanski filmed Rosemary's Baby, but that's neither here nor there, is it?) Eric had been before, but this was my first time. We had a quiet moment, and when we were ready, we moved on to Strawberry Fields, in Central Park.
By the time we got there, someone had decided everyone would just pack into a giant circle around the Imagine mosaic, and we'd sing songs. It was chaotic, and completely insane, and somehow Eric and I managed to find a nice bench to sit on while the chaos surrounded us. Every so often someone would hand me a stroller (and once, a baby) and they'd jump over the bench to get out of the mob. People pushed through the crowd, trying to get a picture of the mosaic, and I was sitting next to a Paparazzo who kept asking me if I saw anyone famous. Eric and I found it all pretty hilarious.
Funny Story #2 that Eric tells so much better than I do: Part of the crowd trouble was that people who didn't care about John Lennon were trying to exit the park at 72nd Street, despite the very close 70th Street exit. One older woman, with a very nasally Manhattan accent, screamed the whole way through her exit. "THIS IS LOITERING! YOU ARE ALL LOITERING!!" and "WHAT'S THE HOLD UP??" "A WHEELCHAIR??!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? PUSH HIM! PUSH HIM!!!!" Eric and I love when people are crazy.
At one point, it seemed to calm down pretty significantly. We were sitting on the bench, and the band of misfit musicians had starting playing the Lennon song "(Just Like) Starting Over" and I sat back, with my head looking up towards the sun streaming in through the trees, and watched the leaves sway to the rhythm, and I felt connected. And whole. And happy.
We left after about two hours, and took a walk through the park. I just held my husband's arm, and we walked until we found a bench, and then we just sat, and enjoyed each other's company. We got some sandwiches at one point, and then just came right back to the same area of the park.
I didn't feel the need to walk around and see everything, the way I did the day before. Instead, I just sat still, and enjoyed what was around me. Old couples walking hand in hand. A little boy learning to ride a bike. A woman telling her best friend she's pregnant. A horse drawn carriage packed with little girls in princess dresses. There wasn't any racing, and there wasn't any pressure. Just being.
We left in the late afternoon and ate some really terrible cardboard pizza that had zero effect on our mood. It was nice just walking around, seeing the sights. At some point we ended up at Rockefeller Center, and then, again. And later that night we met a friend of mine from high school for some real New York Cheesecake and some really good laughs at Grand Central Station.
Our ride home wasn't any easier than usual, although we did end up with a very kind bus driver who dropped us off at the ferry, instead of the usual stop, five blocks away. I saw a Goodness and Kindness I hadn't been looking for in a long time.
I recognize the seeming banality of a Saturday spent in the park, followed by bad pizza, and dessert with someone we hadn't seen in close to ten years, especially for an anniversary. But that's how Eric and I roll. There's something to be said for setting expectations at "Let's just see what comes up, and go with it." I didn't feel like I was racing uphill, which is something I've been feeling for a solid two years. I finally felt like myself again. Low maintenance, easy-going, Come-What-May attitude... it was like an old familiar tune I hadn't sung in years.
It's going to take some practice, but I'm ready to be that person again. I'm tired. Too tired to keep trying to fight the things that make our lives difficult. Eric and I had been waiting to "catch a break" and it seemed like that day wasn't going to come, ever. So, instead, we took one. We took a break from the chaos, and we found a nice bench to sit on, to watch the world around us try to push through and get their way. There we are, laughing and singing and holding hands, and falling in love just like we're starting over.