Tuesday, November 9, 2021

It's Been Awhile - Countdown to NYC - The Joy of Anticipation


When I received this email from Mama Mia, a classic New York City Italian Restaurant within walking distance of our hotel and the theater district, I felt an intense mix of emotions!

The last time I took out a suitcase to pack was in February of 2020 for the Hyannis Marathon Weekend. My suitcases would be rolled in and out of the closet at least several times a year. We did destination  race weekends and traveled to Cape Cod and Bermuda for vacations. 

There was quite a bit of dust around the wheels from its lack of use. I'm the type of person who starts packing about two weeks in advance checking things off of our to pack list. Our blue carry on suitcase that we will use for our overnight trip to New York is just standing in our bedroom. 

I'm almost at a loss for how to proceed because it's been so long since we've gone on an overnight trip. After we were fully vaxed, we began to make plans and anticipate with great joy events and travel. And then came the Delta Variant and a new set of guidelines. Do I allow myself to fully experience the anticipation of a road trip, experiencing the joy of the city that never sleeps and a Broadway show? Can I allow myself to think about the luxury of not having to cook or clean for 48 hours, being with wonderful, loving friends and savoring the sights, sounds and smells of New York right before the holidays?

I've made a conscious decision to say YES to experiencing the joy of anticipation.

The New York City Marathon was held yesterday. My friends posted photos of the Expo and taking in the sights of New York before race day. Times Square's energy was electric through cyberspace. Several of my friends posted that they burst their bubble with the New York City Marathon weekend. Many of my friends have already traveled, gone to the theater and movies and dined out. I may be a little late to the party but I am emerging from the pandemic in my own way and in my own time teasing out what risks we want to take.

Writing this, I realize that I have not been away from my house for any length of time since February of 2020. It continues to feel surreal. Travel used to be an integral part of our lives. We settled into a life without travel or running events. We focused on being present, navigating the uncharted course of circumstances way beyond our control and doing the best we could to experience life to the full despite the pandemic.

Boston Marathon Weekend was our first introduction back into a world beyond our family. My soul felt nourished by the adventure of meeting new people and cheering on friends on Marathon Monday. The world has changed and shifted but our resilience and strength shines through.

Broadway's lights were dimmed for many months. Starting lines were quiet. Hotels and airports were vacant. Many many businesses pivoted or sadly closed. Restaurants moved to take out windows. Loved ones were separated by oceans as international travel was halted.

Today international travel to the United States resumed, and the front page of the Boston Globe showed moving photos of loved ones being reunited. I can only imagine the joy they felt in anticipation of reunions. International travelers are being welcomed back to the theater. The Broadway League announced today that pandemic guidelines are being extended through February 28th.

On April 22nd, Sean Allan Krill was a guest on Voices of Hope Boston's podcast, The Cardinal Cafe. He spoke with hosts Greg Chastain and Ed Siegel about the anticipation of the re-opening of Broadway in the Fall. They were setting up vaccine sites to help get the theaters open again. They talked about what it was like during the first few weeks of the pandemic and how it looked like a post-apocalyptic movie. Sean went on to say, "It's not like that now. There are more people coming to New York just to visit. I'm not sure if that's good or bad but I do believe we are on the right track. Thank God for the vaccines and that  we're working towards getting to the point where we can all sit in a big room together and enjoy something." 

Ed chimed in, 'We just have to get past the Spring break surge." 

"Exactly, exactly," Sean said.

"Well you just better be ready Sean because when things open up you're gonna have, I bet we're gonna have at least 50-75 of our members (referencing Voices of Hope Boston) who are gonna be on the bus, on the train and the first show we are going to see is Jagged Little Pill," Ed replied.

"Wow I can't wait," Sean said with such warmth and love in his voice. "You're gonna let me know.  You're gonna let me know, right? They probably won't have a line for awhile and nobody will be able to come back but I can certainly come out."

Sean went on to say, "It sounds crazy to even talk about it. I know it's not impossible but at this point a year in it does feel like, Wow, is that ever really going to happen? But let's plan that. It sounds really nice."

It's time to unzip the suitcase and begin putting in items we are going to need for our first adventure since the pandemic began. I printed out driving directions. Ruth Anne, Tom and I plotted out where we want to go during our first trip back to New York with walking directions to get there. I went shopping in my closet to find clothes to wear to the theater. 

It's been awhile since I've packed a suitcase and planned a trip with my family. But here we are. Seven months after Greg and Ed talked about a group of Voices of Hope members (of which I am an honorary member) heading to New York to see Jagged Little Pill, I am counting down to our NYC return. I am savoring every moment of the joy of anticipation. I know it's going to be better than I could have ever imagined in my wildest dreams.

From my heart to yours

In health and wellness,


Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma

Visit the News and Events tab to listen to my inspiring and uplifting interviews

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