Stop and Smell the Roses



Every day after work at 5:00, I take the bus home. The M66 bus. It arrives sometime between 5:04 and 5:07 every day. It takes the exact same route from West End, through Central Park, and over to 1st Ave every day. I sit in one of three seats, you guessed it, every day.

Meanwhile, one of my sorority sisters also travels from the west side to the east side every day after work too. Except for she doesn't take the bus that I take; she walks. And I've always told her she's a crazy lunatic for doing so. Because who seriously voluntarily chooses to walk two miles home every day in the dead of winter when there's a perfectly quick and reliable method of transportation in the form of a bus? You know, that bus with turning wheels and a seat for your butt? Certainly I would never raise my hand as tribute in any scenario that takes twice as long and actually requires some sort of effort on my part.

That is until yesterday...

I got on the M66 at 5:04 at West End and sat in my preferred seat, just like any other day. I went along my usual way, scoffing at the insanely loud and obnoxious teenagers behind me that were causing my Spotify playlist to muffle into a mushy mess in my ears. Apparently they didn't know Pharrell was on and that I was trying to have a dance party in my head to "Happy". Kids these days… But after I gave my best side eye and carried on my merry way, the bus halted at the red light at Central Park West. For those of you who don't know the grid of Manhattan streets, that's the avenue that runs along the west side of Central Park. Central Park West. New Yorkers may be a tad bit snooty (okay a lot snooty) but we certainly don't screw around when it comes to logic.

Anyway, for some reason or another I happened to pull my eyes away from re-checking Twitter/Instagram/Facebook for the seventeenth time on my iPhone and all I could see in front of me was a postcard of winter wonderland amazement. Never in my four years of living in Manhattan had I ever seen the park look so beautiful. It was seriously something out of a National Geographic magazine the way the snow clung so magically to the branches and stacked itself so perfectly into mountains atop the light poles. My face became twins with that "hearts for eyes" emoji faster than I could even blink.

And then I got my ass off the bus and walked myself home. Through eight inches of snow. Over many patches of ice. In the dead of winter. For two miles. In 25 degree weather.

And guess what. It was amazing.

Now I'm not saying I'm going to boycott the bus and take the trek every day from here on out, but I am saying that it felt absolutely awesome to free myself from the mundane robotic routine I've so easily grown accustomed to. I wasn't lying when I said I was really, really, REALLY going to try to follow through with those New Year's goals of mine. And yesterday I practiced the fourth one on the list and "stopped to smell the roses" aka "stopped to take in the beauty of Central Park after a snowstorm and captured it all with a hell of a ton of pictures".

Because every now and then we have to peel back the regimented layers of habit we pile on top of ourselves and get back to the spontaneity and wonder that's out there waiting for us. If only we could all just get off the bus more often...

I dare you to break your own robotic routine. Step out of your everyday. Do something just a tad bit out of your norm. Even if it's something as small as taking a different route home, you might find yourself just as amazed as I was.