I’m the only one outside. I’m either brave or crazy. The white sludge submerges my now freezing toes. I can’t help but giggle. I was on a mission. A caffeine mission.
I look up to see the outline of a man. His black eskimo-type outfit stands out against the white backdrop. He doesn’t look up at me, solitary in his pursuit of warmth.
It doesn’t bother me. I extend my two hands out to catch the falling flakes and spin around. Taking refuge under the cover of a shop, I stop only to kick the snow off my shoes.
I realise how painfully unprepared I am. My black ankle boots have worn down from 12 months of travels. They’re got stories of their own.
I tread carefully, not to miss the snow-covered gap where the road meets the elevated pavement. I know I’m close to my café because I recognise LOVE painted on the side of a tree that’s out the front – only just making it out the red letters underneath the thin layer of snow.
The familiar scent of coffee wafts onto the street, welcoming me in. I walk in and strategically place my Hershel backpack down next to the heater. The glass is starting to fog up, adding to the cosiness. I order a large coffee and sit, watching the lifeless world on the white side of the window.
A few New Yorkers come in and out – half of them have a cheeky smile on their faces, and the other seem frustrated. ‘I had to catch the bus today. I was 30 minutes late for work,’ the 20-something barista replies. His bright yellow cartoon T-shirt contradictory to his mood.
I continue to observe the mixed dynamics, opening those double glass doors. It got me thinking about our inner child.
It’s okay to let your inner child out
We don’t actively decide to work ourselves into the ground or chase trivialities, but it sneaks up on us. Life can quickly turn serious. But there’s a lot we can learn from the children we used to be. That little person is still inside of you. We just need to listen to what ‘young we’ has to say.
As time goes on, we tend to collect more baggage. Our ‘backpacks’ become heavier and we forget the simple things. Some moments we can’t let go of. They’ll linger in the chambers of our mind. The firsts. The heartbreaks. The change. They continue to influence our thoughts.
When we really think about it, it’s what (and who’s) inside us that never ages. Those memories, our spirit, and our unique personalities. The child we once were stays with us.
And while it’s important we continue to evolve into the person we want to be, it’s okay to have fun along the way. Hang out with a kid for a day if you need reminding. They’re extremely observant.
And if that fails, move to New York. There’s this extended childhood here. The constant stimulation turns us into wide-eyed youngsters. The city never ceases to leave you in wide-eyed awe. It’s what makes it so hard to leave. Everything else pales in comparison.
There’s no age constraints here. Walk into any café or bar and you’ll find people in their 30’s working behind there. Because that person isn’t just a bar tender, but an artist too. An actor, a singer, a writer, or a dancer. They can dissociate their identity to what they do for work. It’s why people say you can be or do anything in New York.
Travelling has helped me strip back these layers. The world is now my playground.