Stop. And…

I like to consider myself a small town girl trying to make her way in a big city.

As many city dwellers will tell you – it is very easy to get lost in the shuffle of the city. Millions of people, millions of problems and it seems everyone is going somewhere. I find that one of the ways to truly survive and thrive in a city teeming with eager over achievers is quite simply summed up in the classic saying:

“Stop and smell the roses”.

Think about it. The first word is most poignant: Stop.

Take a time out. As children we despise time-outs as they are seen as a punishment. However, as an adult I think we don’t have enough of them. Simply stop what you are doing. Even if it is for 5 minutes every day, or for your lunch break, or in those few quiet moments before you go to bed or before you get going in the morning. Just stop and reflect. Reflect on who you are, what your day is about, what you’ve accomplished and what your hopes are. Think about where you have come and where you want to go. Ask yourself if you have taken the steps to get there.

The second statement is quite reflective: Smell the roses.

When you take a time out, appreciate your surroundings. Whether it be soaking up a few minutes of sun (with the appropriate SPF of course), or taking a walk in the park, feeling the grass, listening to the sounds of nature around you, or literally taking the time to smell the flowers. Allow your senses to soak in the sights, smells, and things that you find enjoyable.

Living in New York, I can see that it becomes hard for people to remain centered. Each day you are bombarded by the noises as the hustle and bustle of the city as each day begins. There’s construction on every corner, people passing by, cars honking, buses, taxis and bicyclists at every turn. Not to mention the smells. It seems like it is sensory overload from the time you wake up until you are exhausted and fall asleep. So how do these people stay centered?

It is simple. They take the time to stop and smell the roses.

There are museums, patios, coffee shops and most importantly, Central Park. Spent time by yourself in the park or sitting on a patio for happy hour with a good friend and a nice wine. One thing I’ve noticed is that people in the city actually use the green space – and if there isn’t any, they will make some. The highline is the city’s own urban green space walkway on the mid-to-lower west side which is usually brimming with locals and tourists alike. Trees that line residential streets are cared for, decorated, and tended. Local parks are maintained by a slew of volunteers. Ducks that take residency in the apartment building ponds are tended to and protected around the clock by doormen.

I am utterly amazed at how many people in the city use and appreciate the green space. Though it may be nice to go to a park in my hometown and sit in the peace and quiet with little-to-no company, it is also just as rewarding to sit in a park and watch the people use every inch of the space they can. Reading on a bench, napping under the cherry trees in Brooklyn, bringing your dog to the local dog park, sitting on a pier enjoying lunch and the view, or walking through the park–it seems that these are a necessity for people in the city.

I’ve heard many people say that the city can and will change you. I tend to disagree. Who I am led me here and I will take as many time-outs as I need to ensure that I don’t get lost in the vastness I’m immersed in.

I will always make time in my day to stop and smell the roses.

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