my birthday celebration

I was sweating.

I was wearing wool socks because I thought the top of Freedom Tower was going to be outdoors, like the Top of the Rock and all of those other take-your-breath-away views on the tops of NYC’s most iconic buildings.

Turns out it was encased in floor-to-ceiling windows and the heat was on.

As I stood there wiping the sweat from my brow, I overheard my daughters saying what I was thinking:

We are just a speck.

So many stories down there in those crowded streets and millions of apartments!

Love, pain, wealth, poverty, dramas, adventures, plans, dreams.

The shared human experience, all in one view.

Makes you realize how lucky you are, just to breathe.

It was my first time at the top of NYC’s tallest building. I had it on my very long ‘must-do-before-I-ever-move-out-of-the-city’ list.


The occasion was my birthday and I was actually supposed to be in Jerusalem, a city I love and worked in so long ago.

I had postponed that trip and admit that I woke up wishing I was there instead…or really anywhere but New York.

But I walked into a fully decorated kitchen (a birthday surprise from my kids) and tickets to the Museum of the City of New York from my friend.

So up to Harlem we went, taking the NYC subway with tourists’ eyes, walking through Central Park, and exploring the museum’s exhibit of very old NYC photos.

Faces of love and pain, rich and poor. Scenes of dramas and adventures, plans and dreams.

Turns out that same shared human experience spans through time as well.

It makes you feel small and huge at the same time. Like a grateful speck that’s lucky enough to just be.


From Central Park, I trekked down to Battery Park (that’s essentially north to south along the island that is Manhattan) and met my family at the Freedom Tower, sweaty in my wool socks.

What I didn’t anticipate is what I wanted to share with you this week.

The “explorer” in me woke up kinda mad at myself for postponing my trip.

But what did I get?


A different kind of adventure, a local one, and a renewed appreciation for my city (that, trust me, can make you crazy). I also got time with my kids, friends, and family.

That’s my message for today’s email.

Your way to play doesn’t have to be complicated or cost money.

You just have to know your play languages.

Meaning: what are you doing when you lose track of time?

When are you at your happiest??

And then you have to prioritize yourself enough to go and do it.

I recommend the top of the Freedom Tower if you haven’t yet been, especially if you’re a New Yorker.

Just remember to leave your wool socks at home.

With fierce love, Alison