The Happiness Project and Finding My Bliss in New York

31 May

frolicking in Prospect Park via dailynews.com

They say familiarity breeds contempt and I’m a Gemini so I certainly know that’s true. I have a tendency to ruminate and regret about the past- what I didn’t do and where I didn’t go. I also tend to wander off into the future for distant shores and exotic destinations that seem to always hover just above my mind’s eye. This constant battle between the past and the future  leaves very little time for savoring the present- the here and the now. And being grateful for it. Although I love New York City I often find myself worn down by the hustle, and needing respite.

Lately, I’ve been reading the  bestselling book, “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, where she commits herself to finding happiness in her everyday life, rather than through “Eat, Pray, Love” travels or dramatic life changes. I found myself wondering how I could apply some of her simple wisdom to my own wanderlust, and found that there are so many places that I still haven’t seen in the New York City area and so many exciting things that I haven’t done, that it was worth making myself happier here more often, rather than saving all of our money for a short thrill.

So, with all that said, one thing that I’ve decided to do is really think about what I enjoy doing when I’m traveling, and then see if there’s a way to bring that energy into my life on a weekly basis. Here’s my list:

1. Farmer’s Markets: They’ve already started and there are more than I can count. Yet many weekends find me passed out in my bed in a fetal position from the workweek. Starting now, I will be starting my Saturdays in Grand Army Plaza picking up fruits, veggies, and flowers for the week.

2. Flea Markets: One of the things that I covet about the European lifestyle is access to cute and kitschy flea markets. I still remember walking down Portobello Road in London looking at the various antiques for sale. But why not do the same at the West 25th Street Market or any of the other countless fleas going on in the city.

3. Parks: I love lounging in them and people watching. Prospect Park is literally down the street from me. And there’s always Central Park. But for a change, what about the Cloisters all the way up in Inwood (the northern tip of Manhattan)? It’s a museum of medieval art in the midst of a park and shamefully, I’ve never been.

4.  Museums: Between Free Fridays at the Met with cocktails, First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Musuem of Art (very family friendly and one is coming up this Saturday, actually) and the Long Island City Art Tour I’ve never been on I can get my fill right here in the N-Y.

5. Food: Restaurants can be pricey, but my cousin’s fiancee has got me thinking about following the food truck culture that has invaded Manhattan. Quite an upgrade from the usual pretzels and hot dogs, these food trucks offer everything from falafel to Belgian articles. Read this great article about “How to Eat at 10 Carts for $10″. I can’t wait!

6. Oh, and even though I’ve been to the Statue of Liberty more times than I can count,  I still have never been to the top of the Empire State Building.

Of course, there’s so much more. I still haven’t been to the opera or a ballet. I haven’t been to a Broadway show in several years, nor have I hit up a trendy club. But this list isn’t about that – it’s about appreciating where I am right now and what I currently enjoy doing for not a lot of money.

Readers, what is your list? Are there places in your area you still haven’t seen? Are there things that you haven’t done in a while because you’ve gotten lost between work, grocery shopping, and TV watching? It doesn’t matter where you’re from, small town or big city, I’d love to hear about them.

Bon Voyaj,

 

Dalia

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2 Responses to “The Happiness Project and Finding My Bliss in New York”

  1. dijjaay July 27, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    Dalia, your sister gave me your blog address and thanks to her I have been enjoying your posts. I liked this one especially because I read Gretchen Rubin’s book not so long ago.

    I used to buy a Travel Card and then hop on a bus and take it to the terminus. It was my way to re-acquaint myself with London having been away from the city for many years. Just as I was contemplating resurrecting this idea recently, a friend said she wanted to go to every end of every tube line and document the journey as well as write about it too, so we have paired up and take it in turns to choose an ‘end.’

    It is a fantastic way of getting to know one’s own city and could be done just as easily as a as a solo project. If you did it in NY we could swap posts on our various ‘ends.’ Now there’s an idea! Maggie Dodson

    • voyajer79 January 3, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

      Thank you, I haven’t been able to focus as much on “traveling” per se in my writing but I would definitely be interested in documenting stops around the city with you if you’re still into it.

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