Beating to your own drum

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I can’t remember ever being “normal.”

While there technically is no such thing as this, I can at least say that I never fit in with the crowd. Historically it has always been much easier to identify with people on a one-on-one basis; groups weren’t the best setting for me.

I’ve always spent a lot of time reading, writing, and normally do everything solo. I graduated high school a semester early and skipped all of our senior activities. I went to a college where I didn’t know anyone. I quit secure jobs to follow my dreams and freelance independently. From growing up as a only child loner to city hopping while my peers are getting married and buying homes, my actions seem to always go against the grain.

I get a lot of questions about this all. It used to give me great anxiety- having to explain my introversion on top of my off the cuff decision-making. Sometimes it was on a whim, influenced by a relationship, or to seek a fantasy; yet lately I realized that my experiences, cities, jobs and relationships have made me more prepared for what I do want.

In the past, yes, I made several major choices based on intuition, spiritual experiences and pure emotion. I am starting to feel more comfortable with my colorful story of the past decade, recognizing themes and realizing which cycles I need to break.

Although I never think I’ll stop doing things alone, following seemingly crazy dreams, being creative or constantly curious, I’m open to whatever tomorrow brings as long as there’s a notebook and coffee.

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Holly Golightly

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Holly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?

Paul: The mean reds, you mean like the blues?

Holly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long, you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

Paul: Sure.

Holly: Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name!

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of my favorite movies, but not just because of Audrey Hepburn’s glamour, handsome George Peppard, the dream of Tiffany diamonds, or the rainy, romantic ending.

Yes, all of those components add to the beautiful story of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but I also identify in a different way; with the lost and lonely Holly Golightly. A dreamer, a chaser, a runner. She is classic and confident, yet anxious and insecure. She takes care of herself and denies needing anyone… yet she desperately is hoping for love.

Above all, Holly is afraid of being let down.

As I navigate this thing called life, I am constantly wondering what will make me happy. I searched the streets of New York for that perfect person, perfect career, perfect apartment. I didn’t find it; perhaps it was in front of me and I never knew it? Was I looking for the wrong thing?

Why was I so anxious?

Whenever I am feeling scared, lost or confused, I always go to the water or take a long walk with coffee in hand. On one particular Spring morning I walked down Madison Avenue after an unsuccessful job interview, gazing into the windows of Chanel, Barney’s and Christian Louboutin. Would these things solve my problems? No.

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One year ago today on Fifth Avenue

As I looked in the windows filled with diamonds and red-bottomed shoes, I wondered if these things truly made people happy. What was I looking for? Stability, love, success? Of course; we all would like these things.

As I grow older I have realized to take one day at a time, and to fight my own mean reds I have been focusing on the beauty around me; whether it is admiring pretty things in the window, a walk through the park or people watching at a cafe. Everything will fall into place- just have faith, do your best and keep living beautifully.

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Chanel and Dunkin Donuts on Madison Avenue