Matt reminded me today that because of the moments we have shared and all the fun we have had there, Atlantic City truly is one of "our" places. And I would have to agree with that statement.
I can recall many wonderful moments when we had the chance to book a room for the night when Matt had shows at either that particular casino or a neighboring one. And like the many times before, we'd enjoy some drinks and laughter with our friends, a few hilarious moments at the tables or pool, or the best conversations/random bits of hilarity back in the room. And just like every AC trip ends, Matt has partied the hardest and I'm driving us home while he sleeps in the passenger seat.
On the way home today, it got me thinking about how lucky I am to live in a state where one minute I could be at home, the next head out to the beach, take a train into the city one day and head down to the casino another time. And if I truly wanted to see horses, I could drive 5 minutes down the road.
New Jersey is home to me and I am fiercely protective of those who choose to share with me how much they think it smells, or that they pay to go on the beach, or that there's so much traffic, or that it's a wasteland. (Frankly, if all you can say is that it smells, then obviously you haven't been beyond the Turnpike around Newark Airport.)
While driving today, with my iTunes playlist blaring some Beach House and the sun out in all its glory, I took in my surroundings. On the way to the Parkway from Atlantic City, there was nothing but miles of glimmering water breaking against the rocks, sandy shores, and blue skies. And I felt calm, knowing that all I needed was with me right at that moment. The calming waters, my love blissfully asleep in the passenger seat, and the road ahead of me. I felt at home.
I've heard many interpretations, but in my opinion home is more than just a person or a place where you're understood.
Home is a place that is filled with a healthy balance of normalcy and crazy, a place to be with your thoughts.
Home is Matt, my friends and family.
Home is my notebook or a piano.
Home is a fire in the backyard, coupled with a glass of wine and chirping birds.
Home is one of Matt's shows, where I can dance and let loose.
Home is a New Girl marathon and take-out sushi on a night by myself.
Home is talking to an old friend and catching up.
Home is being sad and feeling lost every once in a while.
Home is the excitement of being on a train to NYC and being dwarfed by all the skyscrapers.
Home is the excitement of knowing that I'm heading home to Matt.
Home is being surrounded by children.
Home is the first jump into a swimming pool to commemorate summer.
Home is riding a bicycle downhill, letting the wind whip my hair around.
Home is New Jersey, where I can be sitting at a diner at 2:00 am with friends laughing my ass off about the most random things...or watching the sunrise with Matt on the beach in Spring Lake.
Home....is my life.
And it's priceless.
~ Jenny Rockstar
When I heard of the tragedy in Boston, I couldn't help but have a brief flashback to my freshman year of college and hearing about the Twin Towers. Two completely different moments of American vulnerability, but still sad.
I thought of people I knew running in the marathon and how scared they must be.
I thought of my family members who could have potentially been in Boston today.
I thought of my friends who live there.
I thought of the families/friends/fans who witnessed the event and what was going through their mind amid the chaos.
And the mere thought that people still don't know how to live with one another without malice and hate...that's what upsets me the most. At work, I held back tears and pushed through the remainder of the day. On my way home, Matt & I discussed the potential new war that would be created if this were started by another country. (Frankly, I'm sick of war...when does it end?) And the minute that I walked through my front door, I couldn't wait to hug Matt and sit down to a delicious dinner with him so we could share our day.
Most of the time, we forget to appreciate those simple moments. Yes, I could dwell on what happened and just live in that sadness, but I don't want to. I will keep those in Boston in my thoughts and hope that those who have the chance to recover from this can. (And for those who gave their lives...I offer condolences to their families and hope they find peace.)
Instead of dwelling, I went for a bike ride with Matt on our brand-new beach cruisers. (Matt's bike is mint green and blue, while mine is this sunny yellow. Very fitting for our bright personalities.) And in our brief 15-minute ride around the park just to test out our cool purchases, I couldn't help but genuinely smile, let my hair down and live in that moment with child-like wonder. Every little stress melting away as I rode carefree on the sidewalk, squealing with laughter at each dip and rise. There was even a moment where Matt & I rode side-by-side, beginning to understand which streets would be better for casual biking. A small moment, yes...yet meaningful in a way that was needed today.
Tonight, most of us will be glued to our television sets to find out any updates we can. But with it, don't forget that it shouldn't be moments of tragedy that make you understand the importance of living life for the simple things. It should help you appreciate those simple moments even more, live those simple moments a little more, do anything to make time for those simple moments. You never know what's going to happen.
Instead of focusing on our political leaders or dedicating time to sharing opinions on things that frankly just don't matter, spend time on people and things that will matter. (Because let's face it, we won't all completely agree on everything and it's dumb to think we will. Besides, our differences are what make us great! And no matter who is in office or leading the state or country, we'll be screwed anyway. No need to reiterate the obvious.)
There's enough hatred in the world...I'm ready to start taking away its power as much as I can with love, positivity and hope.
Who's with me?