Thursday, November 15, 2007

Big City of Dreams

I checked another thing off my life list this past weekend! I finally made it to New York City. As a native New Yorker I have been taking crap almost all my life for never actually going to the City. It's not that I was avoiding the place, I just never had a reason to go and I always wanted to go so when the opportunity came up I jumped on it. As Gentle Readers know, I love the city life and they don't get any bigger than that so the thought of actually having a New York apartment is even more appealing now that I've seen the place first hand. I keep thinking about Life's Little Instruction Book that said, "Live in New York once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in San Francisco once, but leave before it makes you soft." I read that once when I was in my later teen years and have held on to that statement ever since.

I didn't get to see everything that I wanted, but I saw the three things that I needed to, Strawberry Fields in Central Park, the Dakota building (where John Lennon was shot), and the Trade Center site. The first two I wanted to see for my birthday reasons. The Trade Center was something else though. I took no pictures, I said no words, I just stood and watched. It was strange to think about what happened on that day, I remember watching it unfold on a television set in my North Carolina barracks room and to stand there a few years later almost gives you a sense of the world that was and the world that is. I'm sure that the only thing that compares to it is for someone from my grandparents generation to see Pearl Harbor. I've been to the Pentagon since then and it kicks up emotion, but it was also rebuilt the way it was and people are back in those offices working again so it almost has a different feeling. I'm sure that when the Trade Center site is rebuilt it will have a different feel as well but as a whole, to think about the events of those sites and how they changed life for us as a country is amazing. We each have individual things that change our own life, but those things changed us as a group and that is a powerful thing. Thinking about the Joe Schmoes that were just going to work like normal and the police officers and fire fighters that were running in while the others were running out gets one a little choked up when you're standing on that sight.

A few months before I got out of the Marines a few NYPD recruiters came to a job fair on base and I thought about doing it for a few minutes. A police officer is something that was on my "I Wouldn't Mind Doing That" list. The "IWMDT" is is a list of careers that I've made that statement about and given some sort of thought about doing at some point in my life. The only problem with that list is that most of the stuff on it doesn't pay very well and that is a hot topic in my life as a single parent. Also time management is a pretty high priority too and the police department wouldn't offer much of that. Either way, it's still on the list and being in the city highlighted those things again. I doubt it will ever happen, but someone took out a neon yellow highlighter and took it to some things on that list. Now that I'm out of the military and have all this new found freedom to go which ever route I choose I find myself constantly wondering what I want to be when I grow up and it's just as scary and appealing as it was when I was 17.