As an introvert, I often forget how much I need to re-fuel my tank with experience. My first go-to is to want to stay home. I often find myself content with the safety of a routine.
That instinct, though, has been very tested this year. I’m sure 2020 put a lot of stress on a lot of people in a lot of ways. For me, it really brought to light the significance of those random moments that you can’t plan for, that exist only when things don’t follow routine.
Here’s what I mean.
This weekend, my fiancé and I went into the city. Our goal was simple: have brunch. But we left early and walked around. No aim, no purpose. The sun was out and it was warm and we’d not been in Boston in months.
We found our way to the waterfront. As we approached an open area of the harbor, we came upon a two-piece band playing a pop-up show. People crowded on a grassy clearing, enjoying the sun and listening to the music. We sat with them and swayed and sang along. We watching people seem to stop to pay attention to two people playing some well-known songs.
I looked out on the water and felt the sun on my face and felt human for the first time in a long time.
Finding that band and that park and those people at that time was needed. I needed to be reminded that there are other things out there. It’s easy to forget the significance of these small moments when you find yourself locked into a home for a year.
And that’s not all. I got to see couples walking hand-in-hand. I saw people happy, sad, struggling, and thriving. I saw a young woman lay her head on her friend’s shoulder and close her eyes as the subway train barreled through dark tunnels. I looked up at impossibly tall buildings and watched airplanes reflected in their mirror-like windows. I smelled cigarettes and weed. We packed into a bakery and watched people line up for something homemade and delicious. I drank and tasted wonderful food. We meandered through stacks of ancient books. You could feel their age on the covers. You could smell their moldering pages.
I don’t mean to be over poetic, but it has been so long since I have stood among the cacophony of life that I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed being a part of a larger community.
It’s something that I love about Boston and about the city. There are always people moving among you. They are on trains, buses, walking on sidewalks, and driving down streets. They all have goals and wants and needs. You can feel them like you feel your own heartbeat. They are there and they matter.
Walking along streets with the sun on my face and the sounds of Boston around me, I fell in love with where I live again. It energized me. A battery so close to dead, now filled again.