Stop and Smell the Roses


My first game at Fenway

It’s been a busy week in Boston for me. I saw my first Red Sox game at Fenway. I watched a mass of runners tackle the Boston Marathon during record heat. I was in town for seven straight days. Of course now I’m back in Minneapolis for the better part of a week. But such is my life. I have not settled into anything that resembles a routine but I think that I’m slowly getting there.

There are a lot of things to get used to here. I cooked for the first time this week. Grocery shopping is its own new adventure. I walked to the store. WALKED. And as I can no longer stuff a large cart full of groceries that I don’t need, I must make sure that I can carry only what I need back to the apartment. Then I did laundry. I had to lug a big bag of my unmentionables to the local laundry mat. I also had to sit and wait for the wash and dry cycles to complete – a whole 90 minutes. I can’t really complain because for the first time I sat down with a good book and dedicated my full attention to reading. These events are so minor but they really forced me take a good look at the routine I used to have.

On Thursday I took a walk. I bought a book of walks to do in Boston and started with the first one listed – The Boston Commons and Downtown. To be fair I also added in the Public Gardens. It was a beautiful morning. This is what I had been waiting for. I had been waiting for the time where I could just go out and explore. I got a Dunkin Donuts coffee and plugged in to my iPod. When I arrived at the Commons, the place was crawling with people: parents walking with their kids, schools on field trips and just adults who may or may not have been playing hooky that day. The sun was bright and warm. The air was cool and the light wind made it feel crisp; like spring should feel.

Tulips at the Boston Public Garden

A song came on my iPod and I actually played it over a few times. By the way – you will eventually get tired of my quoting songs. But in my defense, it’s not my fault that songs played at a certain moment bring me clarity in how I see the world around me.

There’s got to be more to life.

That line morphed the song from just background music to a message just for me.

It’s just the money, it’ll change one day

As you’re stuck in traffic on the highway

And now you’ve said it for the thousandth time…

I was listening to this song as I sat under the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, watching the kids play, admiring the beauty of the flowering trees and just basking in the sun.

We can’t stand knowing we’re dying

Tick Tock Timing

We feel the kill

And my God, we’d love to know why we’re dead inside

Cause we just can’t get our fill

There’s got to be more to life – right? Most of the time, I can’t breathe. I’m stressing about my job or my apartment or some new social drama unfolding. But today I could breathe. I inhaled and exhaled with ease. These are the times that I am most at peace with myself – when I’m outside. When I allow myself the opportunity to appreciate what is around me. I don’t need a lot, like most people I know I have more than I really need. But rarely do I actually take the time to reflect on that. We are all so busy trying to get to our end goal: that job, that promotion, that big house or big car, perfect friends and family or the tech gadget of the moment. We don’t read. Our cars are filled to the gills with things we don’t need. We don’t walk anymore – we are always running. We forget that life is about the journey and not how many items we can check off our “to-do” list or how quickly we can accomplish a task. It’s no wonder that we feel empty sometimes. We keep trying to fill a void with stuff, when all we need to do is get back to basics.

George Washington standing watch
The Swan Boats
The Boston Massacre Monument
The Central Burying Ground
Watchers of The Frog Pond
The Granary Burying Ground
King’s Chapel
The Old State House

I didn’t feel empty on Thursday’s walk. I was surrounded by the fundamentals: nature and history. I’m lucky that Boston has plenty of both.  So I think that along with that song, there must be something to the saying, stop and smell the roses. Except in my case it was tulips because it’s just too early in the season for roses.

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