When I was about eight years old, I went to New York City. I’ll pause to let you take that in. NEW YORK.
We rode the ferry from New Jersey, passed the Statue of Liberty. We went to the top of the Empire State Building. We walked down Broadway, through Times Square. We took pictures with the lions in front of the NY Public Library. We drove past The Dakota and my dad took a moment of silence. I learned that there was a McDonald’s with a piano player (or maybe my grandfather lied?). I wore a white, flowered romper and hot pink Keds. This was everything I ever wanted. I loved it. The lights, the sights, the excitement. I went home and declared, “I’m going to live in a loft in Manhattan and be a Broadway star!”
So young. So naive.
My parents, ever the supportive and indulgent type, told me, and I quote, “Well, you’d better learn to wait tables.”
Instead of taking acting, voice, or dance classes, I literally practiced waiting tables. I would go into the living room with a notebook, take my parents order, pile a make-shift tray with various nick-knacks from my bedroom and return to the living room, serving filet of unicorn nightlight and mashed musical unicorn and unicorn jewelry box cordon bleu. (I collected unicorn things.) I was VERY good. I was ready to be a Broadway star.
Now it is twenty-four years later and not only am I not a Broadway star, I still have never been a waitress. Just another of my unrealized dreams. To be fair, I would have been a terrible real waitress. I guess you could say that I’m not good with…people.
As for the Broadway dream, my parents wouldn’t sign me up for any dance classes because they said I’d just quit. Which is fair. I did quit almost everything I tried. There was that time I was a Brownie for less than a year, that time I played basketball for two days, that time I went out for cross-country and ran home (there is a theme there as well – I am not here for sports). I did take voice lessons though, but eventually quit those because: 1. I was not great (I’d even go so far to say I was not good) and 2. when I learned to project the sound of my own voice scared me and I freaked out. What WAS that? Who makes noises that loud? I come from a family where our main volume of communication is barely above a whisper. I was not cut out for a life on the stage, shouting and strutting across floorboards. So while I spend a lot of time blaming my parents for my current misfortunes, I realize that, as the old saying goes, they knew best.
I still have big dreams, but over the years they have shifted out of the spotlight and into the wings. I want to be HEARD, but not seen. I want to WRITE, but not perform. I want to COOK, but not serve.
(Just kidding on the last one. I want to do neither of those things, they are both the worst.)
I guess the point is that I’m sick of having unrealized dreams because I didn’t know what my dreams WERE. But now I do and now I’m going to make them happen…?
I’m so bad at ending things. Go goals!
Except let’s switch the kite out for a hot air balloon and let’s not go do that let’s talk about how it’s already been done.
It’s true. I flew in a hot air balloon, and I did not jump out at the last minute out of fear that we would plummet 1,000 feet to the earth below, or, like my beloved Dorothy, to chase my dog. Most of this is probably due to the fact that we had to get up at 5:30 am in order to partake of this ride because it was too windy the night before and the sunset flight was cancelled. My faculties were not functioning at full capacity. After we heard it was cancelled, Carey and Megan said, “You’re the guest! You are leaving! Do you want to skip it or get up!” This decision was left up to me. It was entirely my fault. But get up we did, and fly we did, and drink two very full glasses of champagne at 8:30 am after we landed I did. I definitely did.
The flight itself was fine. My favorite thing about flying, in general, is looking down at the world below and it was nice to do that in the quiet, gentle breeze of just post-sunrise. But I’ll be totally honest, and this is a constant struggle for me and my life and something I am continually working on: I expected more. I feel like my life is just a series of events from which I expected more.
When I was a kid I went to sailing camp. If you’ve met me I have probably told you this because I LOVED it. I was going to initially say that it’s not as WASPy as it sounds, but…yeah, it was pretty WASPy. It was church camp, just to take it that extra step. I mean, it’s not like I spent my summers on a huge boat somewhere off of the coast of New England. It was a week long camp for which I accepted a scholarship to attend and we sailed in little two person Sunfish boats that we had to pack up every morning and evening and drive to a lake thirty miles outside of camp. I ate bagged lunches every day. I mean, come on. (No, but seriously, it was AWESOME and I LOVED it and I want to go sailing again, like, tomorrow.)
The thing that happens when you go sailing, if you catch the wind right, is you literally sail. (Obviously). You FLY. The boat tilts and, particularly in these small ones, if you’re going fast enough, half of the boat dips into the water. Everyone on board (all two of you, or three if you are able) snuggle together on one side of the boat to try to get more weight and to keep from tipping completely. Sometimes the boat is completely vertical, if you have a good day. The wind whips the sail, your hair, you. You speed past the motorized boat sent out with you to tow anyone who can’t quite get it. And it’s amazing and thrilling and the best feeling in the entire world. (A rare instance in which I did NOT think “I expected more.”) This is kind of how I thought it would be to fly in a hot air balloon. I realize now that this is crazy and should that have happened it would have been absolutely terrifying and nobody would have any control over anything and we absolutely, 100%, would have died. But what a way to go!
Just kidding. I never want to die. I’m gonna live forever.
The pilot, on the drive to the launch site, gave us the history of hot air ballooning and if it had not been an ungodly hour of day I could tell you some things, but the only thing I really remember is that it is a French thing and so when we landed he popped the cork of the champagne with a SWORD. That is now my favorite thing in the world. I need to buy a sword for every champagne celebration.
That’s the story of my hot air balloon ride.
I was going to post pictures but I can’t figure out so just check my Instagram (to the right —>).