My suitcase is successfully packed for New York with a couple days’ worth of clothes and room to shop for the rest. The same is true of my agenda – a couple plans with room to do anything the rest. (I’m currently sitting in the Chicago Airport creating my new Tinder profile in preparation.) I also took the same approach when it came to my mental preparedness to visit NYC again by addressing old NYC memories to create room for new ones.

Making Peace with NYC

In preparing for New York trips before, excitement blinded any possibility of a less-than-stellar time. All that could be anticipated was skipping around Central Park and happily strolling along 5th Avenue in the sunshine. But now I knew a gloomier side of the city after my last visit, and it was causing uneasy memories and feelings to flare up. Anyone who followed a year or so ago, witnessed the heartache felt after a picture perfect New York City date. I felt blindsided. How could things go so unexpectedly wrong?

Note: At one low point, I was wandering The Met’s Egyptian Exhibit thinking, “What did Egyptians do when they were heartbroken?” Maybe build a pyramid.. or totally not consider this post-hookup scenario heartache-worthy.

On Monday morning, as I leaned close to the bathroom mirror, I split my attention equally between my mascara wand and Eckhart Tolle’s soothing narration of The Power of Now. (Okay, it’s never too early for personal Enlightenment audio books.) Something that Eckhart said caught my attention, and I set my mascara down to jot a quick note:

“Victim identity: Thinking that the past is more important than the present.”

Um, hello. That was me. By placing such significance on my last trip, I allowed myself to proudly sport the Victim Card, which could grant VIP access to any Pity Party in town. Right now the only thing I was a victim of was my own thoughts. This is a new trip, and it’s time to live in the present. As I packed and prepped, I didn’t think about the past – and I didn’t set expectations either. I just enjoyed the excitement that accompanies an upcoming adventure.

Expect the Unexpected

Well, it proved to be a good thing I didn’t expect much.

Yesterday while I was on a call at work, I received a text from my friend who I had planned to stay with in the city. There was a last-minute change of plans. She had to go to LA for work. There went my lodging plans.

Normally, this would cause a body overheating/mental shutdown/“I shouldn’t go”-type reaction. Instead, I calmly typed back, “No worries! Thanks for heads up” followed by texts to a few friends. Within in an hour alternate plans had been made: One night in Brooklyn with a friend, two nights sharing a room with my friend’s boyfriend and a night of Airbnb. Done.

On my last trip, I spent the first night in Brooklyn too. That night I was not exactly expecting that dinner upon arrival would be followed by an all-night underground rave where I danced to deep house in the face of neon lights and a shallow layer of water on a warehouse floor. As we emerged back into the street at 6 a.m., the sight of the sun rising over the New York City skyline welcomed us to a new day.

Sometimes things go unexpectedly right.