I’ve been in New Orleans for about 48 hours now and it has been a wonderful ride. Going on Bourbon street, throwing up from a Hand Grenade, experiencing first class dining, getting stuck in the rain, eating Beignets and drinking Cafe Au Lait’s, going on Ghost tours and scaring my best friend shitless with my photos. I’m so blessed. And this city is just what I needed to feel alive again.
My most favorite part of the trip so far was today when we went on a Swamp tour and saw different parts of the Bayou. As our very gorgeous captain explained to us that alligators are harmless towards people and no, they don’t like marshmallows because there’s a special chemical in them… They like them because they’re fucking delicious! (DUH!) I caught myself smiling and feeling such peace within me. This is my life. My one big beautiful life and I was – am – so very happy to be me. Everything will be alright. Everything will be okay. I may not have my dream career yet or as happy in my job as I need to be. I may not be financially free just yet. However, those things will come to pass and in the meantime, all is well.
You see, working at a company in New York City for more than 55+ hours a week- scratch that – working anywhere that isn’t close to your hearts’ desires for long periods of time (even short) will have you questioning certain things: what am I doing? What’s really important? It’ll leave you starving to find some meaning in your day-to-day. And if not meaning, at least some type of release and expression. Everyone needs fun and laughter but sometimes we get so caught up working our various 9-5’s, we forget what life may truly mean. What does our existence mean without human connection? Without love, meaningful work, friendship, art? Without relaxation to take some time out just to look up from our computer screens, Blackberrys, and iPhones and out of the window and onto this earth! Our surroundings. What are we noticing beyond Instagram likes and Facebook comments? Beyond work emails and demands for completed tasks?
New Orleans saved me. It reassured and reminded me that there’s a huge world out there that demands to be experienced. A huge world where other people’s problems are far bigger than your own. A world where it’s completely okay – celebrated even – to walk around, listen to jazz music, walk around with a huge ass beer (no, literally a huge ass beer. There’s a place called Huge Ass Beers), go to a cafe and simply do… absolutely nothing! Nothing but living and enjoying the day! Even though that doesn’t mean these people don’t have problems, or that your problems are any less, it does put things into perspective. It puts our various cultures within the USA, into perspective. Which lifestyle do you really want? And why are you so afraid to get whichever one you desire? Or even if you don’t want one over the other – balance can be achieved. But are you actively making sure there is a balance in the first place?
Specifically down south where the culture is different and the speed a lot slower. Our tour guide was nice enough to take us to the part of the Bayou where people live. Every person who was out of their house was kind enough to say hello. Two men even gave some of us beer, Gatorade, and water from their own house because we were sailing by. “Louisiana has some of the nicest people in the world”, our tour guide said.
I passed by these houses that were so far from the center city of Louisiana and couldn’t help but think to myself how interesting this world is. Back at home in New York I’m consumed with miniscule things (not any less valuable but for arguments sake please hear me out), things that these people probably don’t even need nor want. There are people everywhere who seek these huge goals and dreams in life: a big house, a successful job at a reputable company, a family, a plane ticket to anywhere at anytime (definitely me) and fancy expensive material objects. Then there are people whose one goal is to just have a nice cozy house with people they love. That’s it. News flash: not everyone aims to “be somebody” in this world before they die. Not everyone wants to “leave a mark”. Some people simply just want to live and live well. They don’t need to be known by everyone before they die, they just want to matter to those who matter to them. And for many, that in and of itself is an admirable life accomplishment.
These houses on the Bayou made me think of how people make do with so little and it makes them happy. They don’t need big fancy houses or cars. They have the state they love, a small house on the swamp where they can fish, and a good ole’ beer every once and a while. Life is easy in its own unique way. Life is good.
There’s this woman I met here who is married and works and lives in New Orleans. She works at her family run tour guide shop near the French Quarter. And even though I don’t know her personally and could be wrong, she seemed so happy in her city, with her husband, working a nine to five at a small cozy shop near Bourbon Street.
Taking these days away from the city, from my job, and the stressors it brings, was a wonderful reminder that everything will be okay. What I have now is more than enough. It’s quite a lot. There are people with a hell of a lot less who don’t need or want the finer things in life. What they have are the finer things in life. My tour guide told us, “look guys. All I care about is my website and coming to do this job every day for fun. And what I really love is just fishing on my spare time. That’s all I need to be happy.”
And with that – Louisiana humbled me, put its Southern arm around me, pat my back and said “you’ll be alright kid. Now, here’s a beer”