Wednesday, May 19, 2010


"Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up our enthusiasm wrinkles the soul." - Samuel Ullman

My 31st birthday was spent in the Big Apple. I arrived mid-morning by plane, took the subway to Midtown to my friend's large office building and then spent the afternoon wondering around with my camera. My first moments in a large city now that I'm a country mouse again are overwhelming... my senses are on overload, there are so many sounds, sights, and actions coming at me from so many directions I'm overwhelmed with it all.
The endless possibilities, the freedoms of expression, the crazy combinations of skin/hair/eye colors with everyone looking different and the same all at once. Contrasted with my black and white small town full of familiar faces, the anonymity of the city is both comforting and challenging to me.
It's so easy to image the possibilities of life in NYC because they play out before you on the streets where so many have walked before. Searching for purpose, living their dreams, hoping to achieve and be a part of something greater than a solitary life. It inspires and intimidates me as the contrast is too much with my everyday life and little town.
My day was nice as I had time to wander, wonder and get lost while receiving texts and messages of birthday wishes... feeling loved all day is a great. Hopefully, I'll find a way to capture and recall those feelings when needed after a terrible, rotten, no good, awful day. I started out on 2nd Avenue, wondered up 42th Street to Bryant Park, walked through the Public Library, took 5th to Central Park - pausing with tourists and churches along the way. And enjoyed the hustle bustle of the city. I took pictures of things and places rather than my desired choice of people - some of them are ok and I've played around with some editing to enhance or create the desired look. I didn't take a huge amount of images on this trip which limits my options and results - I just was so much more into being in the moment rather than preserving it. I need to work on finding a way to accomplish both.
Turning 31 isn't a major milestone so I think I'm just having some hangover emotions from 30, questions and frustrations and challenges which seem ever present. Achievements, Education, Goals, Relationships and/or the lack thereof were ever present on my mind through out my trip and return. I've told several people close in my life I feel like I've lost my enthusiasm for life - never one to mourn the past, I've always looked forward to next best thing. Yet now, I feel there is no such thing for me. I have no direction, passion or drive for something to motivate me forward, to propel me into a confident and fulfilling life, and I hate it. I'm jealous of those with drive and passion, envious of those with light steps and happy hearts, and hiding my feelings behind a very thin veil of anger.
This is a very different post than I imagined writing while taking these pictures and I know I'll regret allowing those emotions to overwhelm my first trip to Europe. But it is where I am in my life and those emotions/struggles/frustrations don't take a vacation, unfortunately. While I definitely had those moments of "I am in PARIS!" with a silly grin on my face, I spent a lot of time wondering about my future, contemplating my choices and options for the future. And I still have no answers.

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