Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ode to a New York City Spring

I gave up a few things when I moved from the Sunshine State to the Empire State: my car (r.i.p. little red rover), an in-home washer and drier (r.i.p. weekly laundry day) and, most tragically, a triple-digit rent. But I gained four priceless items Florida can't offer: the seasons.

Back home, it's endless summer with the exception of an occasional two-week cold snap that convinces an unnerving number of Floridians to fit striped toe-socks into their flipflops.

That's how I grew up and that's how I arrived in New York City- without a heavy winter coat, spring trench or rubber boots and without any acting knowledge of surviving the seasons.

Yes, there were dark days in the blustery dead of winter when I craved my 80-degrees-on-Christmas-morning hometown like a drug. But now, with the first hints of a dazzling, crisp Spring perking up the city I can't help but appreciate my new multi-season lifestyle.

The change of the seasons changes people. For the last few days since the hard cold faded (and I better not jinx this) the streets have been stuffed with blissful New Yorkers practically frolicking about. During a recent lunch break, I joined at least 50 other people on the plaza outside my office building, jackets strewn across the cement steps as finance types sunned themselves. It doesn't matter if your Blackberry's blowing up in your pocket with 200 work to-dos. It doesn't matter what the day throws at you. Absolutely nothing can spoil the first warm day after three months of bitter cold.

That's what I love most about the transition. In Florida, I took perfect weather for granted. In New York, the simple fact that I didn't have to wear a coat to work Wednesday was enough to glue a smile to my face for the rest of the week.

A new season, whether it's winter to spring or summer to fall, offers a clean slate if you'd like it. It's a natural pause and opportunity to evaluate. In college and every year before I had the starts and stops of school semesters to keep me in check. Now, if I'm not careful, the months and even years will jumble together and blur past until I wake up done with my twenties wondering where all the time went.

Scary, right?

So I'm thankful for my new seasons, my built-in moments of pause and opportunities for reinvention.

This year, as I hang my heavy coat in the back of my closet and say goodbye to the hats, scarves, gloves and wool socks that got me through the cold, I'll also attempt to toss out a handful of stale habits. Spring cleaning and not a moment too soon.

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