I turn 30 in December. Each day of November I am sharing a lesson I learned in my 20s. Today’s Lesson: I Am An English Cottage in Manhattan.
My in-laws have my kids this morning, so I am writing from a bustling coffee shop. But I am not just anywhere in this coffee shop. I am tucked away in a tiny corner. Cramped but cozy. Slightly isolated but happily enjoying the energy passing in front of me as conversations happen and people filter through. It is my favorite kind of thing. Some of you don’t know me very well. Here is an insight into me. How I work and live.
When I was in elementary school I used to want to be a rancher. Then I wanted to be Amish. Really. I even learned to quilt. Go ahead, you can laugh. But something about the tradition and rustic quality was attractive to me. It was romantic in a sort of way.
Then in high school & college I wanted to be in the busiest places possible. I loved living in my dorm. Hundreds of girls chatting, swapping clothes and having impromptu dance parties. Anything could happen at any moment. I would travel and sit in London and watch a flow of people pushing and edging their way though the crowds. I loved it. I felt so at home amidst the surging chaos.
In my twenties I found the balance of the two. I love charm and history. Things that are deeply meaningful and personal. A refuge of familiar and significant. A withdrawn place like a cottage.
I also love busy. Faces flowing whose stories I will never know, but ever ponder. Activities pounding the streets I walk through. An aggressive energy that pushes and advances. I like it. In fact, I am the person riding the subway who isn’t smiling or talking to the person next to me. And that doesn’t bother me.
I come out 50/50 on the introvert & extrovert tests. I am right on the line. The balance of it confused me for a while, but I am a bit more self aware now.
Internally I love the cozy and warm spaces. Deep friendships which are represented by the photos on the mantel. I enjoy my wild looking garden and the ivy that tucks me in and hides me away. I myself am an English cottage.
But I don’t want to be built in the country. I want to be built on a lot in downtown. Crammed in with cars, small shops and towering apartments. A charming pause in the middle of fury. That is where I like to be.