The Journey Begins: My 50th Birthday In NYC

I decided long ago that I would not be sitting at home on my 50th birthday.  I had to do something different, and something huge.  While I had already been mulling over the idea of a round the world trip, I made it my goal to be on the road, on my adventure before my birthday on November 23, 2010.  Unfortunately certain realities forced a crimp in those plans, namely the possession date on my condo (November 30th).   Ah but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t still ‘get outta Dodge’ before ‘B’ Day.  So when my good friend Lindsay suggested a visit to her place in NYC, I jumped at the idea.  I actually spent my last birthday with her in Manhattan too (okay, and the one before that), so I couldn’t think of a better person to share it with.  It also turns out that my niece, her husband and son would also be in New York at the same time. 

But this was a New York visit unlike any other.  Normally as soon as I arrive in Manhattan, I hit the streets and don’t stop until it’s time to leave.  I do it all – SHOP, visit museums, sample new restaurants, drink in cool bars and lounges, dance the night away in clubs, take in a Broadway show, or a comedy club – but this time was more low key.   My friend Lindsay was off the entire time (normally she’d be working so we would be trying to cram in as much as we could on weekends and evenings).  Instead of rushing around we spent a lot of time in the apartment – relaxing, visiting with each other, listening to music, eating and drinking.  When we did go out, it was usually with my niece Karen and her husband and son. We wandered the streets (always my favourite pastime in NYC), ate some good food, and I helped Karen with her shopping.  Because I wasn’t in the middle of my own shopping frenzy, it gave me more time to reflect on my ‘consumerism’. 

I have pared down my life, getting rid of most everything and putting the rest in storage.  But even though I know that I can only take so much with me, I still found myself feeling anxious when surrounded by nice things.  I realize that this RTW odyssey is going to teach my how to curb my consumption of stuff!  When I was sorting through some of my things to put in storage, I actually found some clothes I had bought months earlier, and had never worn – definitely the sign of a problem shopper. 

I have to admit though, I wasn’t completely successful.  When I felt my palms sweat in Macy’s I bought a pair of underwear, because I can take those with me.  I also found a travel shop that has the soap sheets I like so much, but have been unable to find in Toronto.  So that is definitely a positive purchase, since I had been looking for those for some time.  Of course I’m also on something of a restricted budget (something I have NEVER been very good with), and while I wasn’t what you would call a tightwad, I did come back with some cash (and didn’t have to visit an ATM once!)… and only had to claim about $150 at Canada Customs! 

So I feel like I have learned something about myself already, and this is only the first leg of what is sure to be a long journey of discovery… stay tuned.

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