DEFINITION Happy Place:
Adj. Where one feels a release, positive energy and clarity that every day life deprives one of feeling.
Returning home, I sit here with a knot in my stomach during a four hour lay over in JFK International airport , returning from Miami, and in between NYC and Rochester, NY. It's in experiencing those great highs, that the great lows are inevitably bound to follow behind. Next week I have a court date for yes, ANOTHER speeding ticket, have a series of shows lined up which I must prepare for, have very little money left in my pocket, and tomorrow I will be returning back to my dreaded routine of serving/ bartending. This my friends, what I'm experiencing, is the airport blues.
Throughout my fortunate upbringing, I frequently traveled, as I was able to reap the benefits of my mother's part time profession as a travel agent. Traveling is something that has been instilled in my sister and I, and something which we both greatly value. I owe a lot of my perspective, cultural awareness, and historical education to my past adventures with my family.
Two weeks to a month out of my summer break, my mother would plan a family trip annually. Each year, we'd explore somewhere new, and would document our travels through photography. I mainly enjoyed going on these trips because I'd get to see a fuller side of my mother. I noticed that she was always more at ease, carefree, adventurous, funnier than usual.
That final day of our trip, sitting in the airport, and upon returning back home, her personality would slightly shift again. Reflecting back as an adult, I think it's safe to say that the feelings I am feeling now as I sit here typing in the airport, are similar to those feelings that she was experiencing all of those moments in the past. It has nothing to do with having a terrible life, or not appreciating the everyday blessings or the people that make you blessed in those everyday surroundings; it has to do with WHAT makes you feel 100% fulfilled as a human being. For my mother, vacationing would bring her to HER "Happy Place" and would nourish her with the fulfillment she desired. Leaving would mean returning back to all the things that you temporarily were able to escape, hence the airport blues.
My trip to Miami was planned accordingly to my only sister Jennifer's 40th birthday celebration. A new milestone for her, it was a special weekend which she had planned for many months. Our first day together was alone, which we spent the day at the beach, rode bikes, and enjoyed a sushi dinner. Later that evening, I hustled my way into a brief gig at a new piano bar at the Ritz Carlton off of Lincoln rd, which about ten of my sister's friends came out to show support and meet me. I had auditioned for the owner, who invited me to come down later to perform a short set. I walked in confidently, and left feeling the same as I knew I put on a good performance, and felt that I fit in well with the entertainment that had been a previous established part of the venue. Performing in Miami made me grateful for my musical roots back in New York. The market out there is VERY different, and it made me genuinely appreciate my musical peers in Rochester for their talent and guidance more than anything.
In the days following, we were joined by a group of friends which have brought my sister love, memories, laughter and comfort throughout her adult life. Like me, they flew in from New York and were gathered for the occasion. It was an eclectic group of individuals, as each bared a different story, character, and background. Six of us crammed in my sisters one bedroom apartment, and made the best out of one another's company as we drank, danced, and laughed full heartedly at ourselves, and at one another. In the moment that our eyes teared, and bellies ached, I felt that fulfillment, as I was now linked to five new individuals through the power of humor and laughter. This moment, and my time spent with these individuals made me think about the value of laughter. Anyone who's relationship I've ever valued in life has possessed the ability to make me laugh until I cramped in my side. We were all grouped together for the sake of one special person, whom we were just a mere reflection of. Suddenly we weren't so different after all. Suddenly I had an epiphany. My "Happy Place" derives from the personal connections I make with those individuals who's character inspire, and who make me feel in touch with my core self. Sometimes it's musically that these connection are made, most of the time it's on a much more personal level. It is laughter, that HONEST laughter; the type that makes your face hurt, your nose scrunch, and exposes your mouth, that solidifies a relationship to me. Laughter to me, is the root of it all.
Our week proceeded as the festivities continued. Together as a group we enjoyed the sunny weather, rented deco bikes and rode all over South Beach, fine dined, shopped, had a pool party, and ended our celebration by spending our last full day on a yacht in the company of six additional friends of my sister's. For many of us, it was exactly the type of getaway that each of us needed and desired. For my sister, it was the highly anticipated celebration that came and went. For me, it was the "Happy Place" that I'm disappointed to leave, but am ever so grateful to have experienced.