“Please be a traveler,not a tourist.
Try new things,
meet new people,
and look beyond
what’s right in front of you.
Those are the keys to understanding
this amazing world we live in.”
-Andrew Zimmern

I’m officially home from a month working and living in New York City with a flash card full of pictures, a head full of memories, and a severe plague from living in a hotel full of piped air for a month.

When I got there I was a little nervous.  I used to do new things all the time.  I used to be really adept at navigating new cities and never shied from experiencing something new on my own.  Since meeting Hubby, however, the solo missions have slowed to a trickle, but if I was going to see anything but LaGuardia Airport I needed to reclaim that adventurous spirit.

My first day was a little rough.  I almost boarded a bus in the wrong direction, and I got off at the wrong stop.  I ended up in a Duane Reade in Jackson Heights.  I hadn’t yet had the chance to get a MetroCard, and I had spent all my coins on the bus that had just left me on the curb on the  verge of tears.  Under the guise of grabbing a bottle of water, I let out a sob, pulled myself together, and chastised myself for being ridiculous.  This was not my first time in NYC, let alone on a bus, and I had not just spent my last $2.25 ever.  I was not trapped.  I was not lost.  I was not in trouble.  I was letting myself panic.

I remember my first trip to NYC.  I fell directly into the Big City Panic, forgetting I had navigated cities before.  NYC is really no different.  It may be a little bigger, but because of that it may actually be a little better prepared for the chaos.  It is well mapped, well canvassed with mass transit that runs 24-hours a day, and crowded enough that you can always find someone to ask if you really have to.  I have never been “lost” for more than five minutes in NYC, which is nothing compared to the amount of time I have spent completely turned around in Philadelphia, where I’ve lived for over ten years.  It’s really not as complicated as it seems.  It’s big, yes.  It’s complex, definitely, but neither of those things has to equal complicated.

By my next trip anywhere I had figured out the websites, the apps, the maps, and my own directional calibration to the way the city is laid out.  I bused and trained through Astoria, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, and by the time Hubby drove in to visit I knew not only how to get where he wanted to go by car but where to find free parking.  That’s right, free parking in Manhattan, friends.

And there you have it, the lesson of the day.  Oh please, you saw it coming.  How often do we do this, friends?  In love, in life, in anything?  Since this is a blog about poly, pagan householding I’ll funnel it there, but this can apply to any new venture in life.  How many times have I heard, “I’d love to do this, but I don’t even know where to start”?    I know I’ve done it.  Hell, I know I did it with polyamory, with most of our big hobbies, even with my writing.

They keys are not to panic and to break it down into pieces that make sense.  We didn’t start this open marriage with a dozen serious partners.  We started with one, and believe me, that one brought out enough issues and points in our marriage that needed work.  That one lead to enough discussions and changes in how we did things and interacted with each other and those around us, how we dealt with conflict and negativity.  That one seemed like our Big City Panic enough to make us run for the hills, but we didn’t.  We learned the maps.  We stuck together, used our heads and our hearts, and we found that it did make sense if we looked at it calmly.

We have tried to take this approach to the big changes that life has thrown at us: my illness, moving, changes in our family.  Sometimes we realize somewhere along the line that we’ve fallen into the Panic. Ok, so sometimes he realizes it for me.  It’s then that we have to reel ourselves in and remind ourselves that it’s really not that complicated.

As Hubby likes to remind me:

“Step 1: Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

“Step 2: It’s all small stuff.”

Aloha.

Go now, uncomplicate.

Advertisements