^^ First public pool visit was a super success. It’s the best way to beat the heat. ^^
There are times when summer in New York City reminds me so deeply of summers in SoCal. Those moments when the sun hits the leaves just right in Prospect Park or when the neighborhood kids whiz by on their scooters. The tank tops, the forever hint of sunscreen in the air, the restless need to be outside no matter how much work is piled up on my desk. And then there are things so drastically different from California that I often lament that I’ll never get used to them. The humidity, the beach crowds, the hour queues to get into the public pools, the fact that an ice tea is still 4 dollars!
It’s a tea bag and water, what is the other $3.50 paying for?
A few weekends ago, I pulled my swimsuit out of storage, packed up my tote bag and navigated the L train to McCarren Park’s public pool to see if this could be the heaven on earth I needed to escape the heat wave. Like any great adventure, it started with being stuck on the train and arriving an hour late to my sweet friend Bree reading by a tree outside. Now, my friend Bree is a planner — she’s a logistically queen, as a matter of fact — so really, McCarren pool was Bree’s dream and I was just happily along for the ride. Undeterred by the endless queue, we made it into the pool after an hour in line and dare I say, it was entirely worth it.
It was even worth the rule that you could only where white shirts and hats into the pool area!
I had forgotten how much I loved to swim. It reminded me of the long summer days when my cousins and I would spend hours diving for rings and seeing if we could hold our breath the length of the community pool. It was the exactly the same in New York, that communal feeling of enjoyment. You can get drunk on that feeling mixed with the intoxicating sent of sunscreen and sunshine. Suddenly even an overcrowded pool is a cause for celebration.
^^ One of the many incredible views from the office. Sometimes when my brain gets a little too full and begins to clog and spit out emails that start with, “Apologies for my sleep dehydration,” I like to come out here and take a few breaths. ^^
That day at the pool feels especially sweet because the two weeks following were a blur of long nights writing one of the largest research reports I’ve ever worked on for YouTube. I would wake up, research, write, come home, have dinner, and keep writing until I was started talking with my cats about the impacts of trichotillomania at 1am. While the photo above was the view that kept me calm at the office, below was my home view that kept me calm every night:
I know I’m a little biased but … my cats are actually the cutest animals on the planet. I mean look at that! But seriously, I was so grateful to have the cats around while I worked because they seemed to provide extra cuddles even before I had properly realized I needed them.
When I get stressed I have a habit of putting on my blinders and ignoring just about anything that isn’t work related. Yes, this is great when I need to write up a 20 page report on mental health on YouTube, but once this is done, I have a hard time reigning myself in and putting time into things that have no other purpose than bringing me happiness. For instance, planning a hike on Saturday.
This was mid-crazy mental health report writing and while I knew going on a long hike was number one on my summer bucket list, it wasn’t until I was two miles into the hike that I stopped feeling guilty for taking the day off.
While originally my friends and I were going to hike Breakneck Ridge — a trail accessible for city dwellers on the Metro North just above the Cold Springs stop — the loudspeaker was out on the train and we missed our stop. Instead of being deterred, we pooled our plethora of snacks and decided to hike out of Beacon. The hike evolved into a 13 mile scramble up and down five mountains and a water tower. Six hours later, we popped out in Cold Springs where we drank out of a hose faucet and dragged our sun-kissed-and-slightly-dehydrated bodies to Whistling Willies for celebratory burgers. My friends were such troopers and I’m pretty proud that we rolled with all the unexpected changes like the graceful mountain goats we are.
^^ View from a very high watchtower with a very nice view. If you look closely you’ll see a small arrow on the rock, that’s the trail marker that essentially points down a rock scramble. ^^
Being from the desert, it still boggles my mind there can be so much green in one place. I love hiking. That moment when you’re finally far enough away from civilization that you no longer hear cars and that feeling when your muscles start pulling in unison as you ascend a mountain — it’s all bliss. The next day, recharged from my time in nature with friends, I attacked my project with new energy (which I needed for a 16 hour work day) and proudly turned it in on Monday.
So the next time I don’t want to put energy into planning something new or I let work take up 99% of my brain space, I hope I remember the sheer joy these two adventures brought me and then pick up the phone and plan another day trekking off the beaten path.
Because it’s always worth it. Always.