A day in the park

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For more photos go to: A day in the park

In New York, it is easy to get caught up in the fast and competitive pace, even if you’d prefer to move more slowly. It’s not like I work on Wall Street. I’m an editor, and if anything is slow-paced in this techno world it’s publishing. But the pace in the city–fueled by horns, traffic, fast walking and screaming subway cars, not to mention deals and opportunities–infiltrates my leaning-heavily-toward-Type-A system. I can only think of a few times when I’ve ever truly ‘winged it.’ Living in NYC, I always plan out the best/fastest route from point A to point B and bring along some work in the form of manuscripts to read on the train/bus/line. Even before I moved here six years ago, I had trouble winging it. Since the age of 15, I have worked and/or studied full time, which meant I had responsibilities, bosses, deadlines, places to be at least five days a week and sometimes seven. Constant hard work is part of who I am.

And then last month my company re-organized to cut costs. My full-time position was trimmed to part-time. This was described by my superiors as a ‘silver lining’, since I obviously wanted to spend more time with my recently born son. (At least I had a job, despite the tremendous cut in pay.) But planning for and asking for fewer hours, less pay and less responsibility (hence less advancement opportunities) is one thing, being forced into that situation with no warning is quite another. I won’t dwell on the stresses of high rent and low pay now, or the anger that simmers in my competitive heart when I think about being relegated to the Mommy Track–those are totally different tales–but I will say that my two days a week have become a lesson in slowing down. Of course, I have to look for other jobs and drum up freelance work during some of that time, but, for the most part, I’ve been winging it, something I haven’t done wholeheartedly since the two-month cross-country trip I took with my husband J right after college.

On my days off, CW and I aim for somewhere fun and then, on the way, we run into adventures and odd people. We’ve discovered a daytime world of parades, funny dogs, free cocoa and lots of nannies. We’ve napped in the park, hobnobbed with NYU students, shopped at Whole Foods during the morning lull, and watched half-naked people dressed as yellow M&Ms run across the street. I haven’t quite settled into this new frame of reference (who am I if I am not the hardest and best worker?) but I have been enjoying the chance to explore a slower way of life.

Last week, when the weather was too warm for December, CW and I spent the afternoon on the grass in the Sheep Meadow playing with leaves, rolling around and screaming at people that walked by. (Well, I let him do all the screaming.) It was one of the silliest, happiest times in my recent memory. I loved every minute.

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