One year ago today I was aboard a flight to New York to celebrate my 40th birthday and the 80th birthday of my amazing cousin Hazel Dukes.
Obviously my dreams aren’t wild enough because never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the life-changing trip I was embarking on. We laughed, we ate, we shopped, we saw Porgy and Bess, we dined on the corner and on high-class cuisine, we toured all parts of the area, lounged at Hazel’s Harlem high-rise, were treated like royalty at our hotel and enjoyed every moment of it.
On that trip I came away with a sense that part of me belongs in Harlem. (No wonder the “fake” Harlem shake is so popular. There’s just something about that place!!!) I loved, loved, loved Harlem, and sharing that experience with my cousin Hazel, my sister and cousins Rikki and Nishia! Walking the streets, shopping with vendors, visiting the Apollo, dining at the famous Sylvia’s, hearing music blasting, seeing beautiful people of all shades each representing different stories made me come alive. I felt a sense of pride and purpose on my journey there.
I also came away from that New York trip with some irreplaceable notions:
- I’m blessed.
- I want to live in a way that allows me to always have more than enough of my life, love, resources and wisdom to share with others.
- I want to live to be vibrant, feisty, bold, sassy and impactful like my cousin Hazel.
- New York hotdogs are best eaten on the street in the cold. And a stain of mustard on my clothing is a badge of honor.
- Cheese and fresh honeycomb taste great together especially when delivered via room service from a fancy-smancy hotel.
- There is an amazing world outside of my world.
- Everyone deserves happy memories. Memories are the best way to be where you want to be when you can’t be where you want to be and that’s a blessing.
- Family is a blessing that’s to be treasured.
So as I reflect, enjoy these snapshots of my 40th birthday in the Big Apple.