Curved Road Ahead
There’s always something magical to waking up in New York City, something which makes me want to take my computer down to the nearest Starbucks (or the other one, a block away) and get writing.
It’s cold outside, so I’ll stay in my hotel room.
Yet the aura permeates. I barely slept all night. As if I need to move at that much more feverish a pace when I’m here. Here, we can do it all.
Work, work, work, work.
I lived here once, once upon a time. I lived the dream, as they say.
And then I came back, one year ago exactly, a kid from Los Angeles looking for a job. And somehow I ended up in Dallas of all places, that backwater of Judaism and life and civilization and culture.
Except it’s not.
I found in some small hick town in the south the most cultured of places, the most temperate of attitudes, the most mild of approaches, a place where Judaism soars, the grass grows green and the people smile. I fell in love with an entirely new way of life.
The funny thing is how we come to believe that the reality we know is the reality as it is wholly, reality as it should be, reality as best it can be.
I remember vividly, when I lived here, thinking how could I ever live anywhere else. New York was where I had come to, it was where I would die. This was the center. This was ground zero. This was the core.
This was where I had to be.
But I’m not. And things have worked out pretty damn well, to boot.
And now I come back to New York, back to sit through interviews of young rabbinical students about to be released into the world. Only this time I sit on the opposite side of the table, eager to welcome a new colleague into the wonderful family I’ve found down in the Republic.
It’s funny, the twists and turns that life takes. You never really know where things will end up. They rarely end up where you think they will.
That is, after all, what Kevin Arnold taught us in the series finale of The Wonder Years.
Some things work out. Others don’t. Life takes twist and turns.
And the trick is to find yourself sitting on the opposite side of the table from where you once were, or finding yourself at another table entirely, or maybe even no table, and realizing, celebrating and enjoying the blessing implicit within that new vantage point.
A year ago I had no clue that my mom would now be dead. Heck, I didn’t even know that she was sick. But I also had no clue of the new heights that life would bring me to all the while.
And I certainly had no clue that life would bring me right back here to New York, one year later to the day, so I could sit early in a New York morning and write, and feel oh so New York for getting straight to work on this cold winter day.